Hell in the Pacific - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Hell in the Pacific Reviews

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August 18, 2016
good WWII movie post WWII
August 8, 2016
This film, of all the ones I have ever seen (much less reviewed), has the distinction of being one of the most perfect examples of a pure cinematic experience. The story is remarkably compelling. Told nearly exclusively in a visual language, it is fascinating to see these two great actors, Mifune and Marvin, relate to each other as human beings, while being completely unable to understand each other verbally. This film should be a must-see for any cinemaphile. Brilliantly directed in two very different ways: first of all, visually and then from a stand point of the acting. The challenges of making this film had to be enormous... filming on the water, dealing with the language barrier, and all the while never letting the core themes of the film suffer. This film is a great achievement. Bravo!
December 1, 2015
It has a really good minimalist feel, almost like a silent film. Toshiro and Marvin are really solid, but there's barely any plot besides the usual back and forth. Once they get off the island it gets more interesting, but ends in a limp whimper.
½ August 30, 2015
Quite good, though it's pretty ridiculous that it's set during the war; I assumed at first it was a story of one of those Japanese soldiers who stayed on their island well after the war was over, because neither actor is remotely young-looking enough to pass as an active-duty fighter. But, nope, I guess they just joined late in life and were too incompetent to get promoted to a position away from the action. Anyway, uh...yeah, also the ending sucks. But otherwise it's pretty good!
½ August 29, 2015
Hell In The Pacific is a fascinating World War II drama starring two great actors, Lee Marvin (Point Blank) and Toshiro Mifune (Rashomon, Seven Samurai, numerous other great films). I had never even heard of this film until a friend loaned it to me, but I'm glad that I watched it, because what I got was an engaging and gripping drama that deserves far more appreciation than what it has received since its release nearly 50 years ago.

During the late stages of the war, two soldiers find themselves stranded on an island in the Pacific, albeit two soldiers fighting for opposite sides. One is a Japanese solider who has been on the island for quite some time, and the other is an American soldier who finds himself marooned on the island after a plane crash.

At first the two hunt one another, trying to outwit each other to capture the other or steal supplies. After much fighting, squabbling, and whatnot, the two discover that in order to get off the island, they have no choice but to work together to build a raft.

The story is fairly simple to follow, but despite its simplicity, it has a great deal to say about the nature of war, finding common ground even if opposed to one another, and misunderstandings. It's an intriguing mix of themes that becomes especially potent during the last 15 or so minutes of the film during the harrowing finale. But even before that point, it was interesting to see how two enemies are forced to work together and see that perhaps they are not so different, and not such bad people as their sides have made them out to be.

The acting is excellent. Then again, considering the actors that were cast in this film, they'd better damn well do a good job. While my exposure to Lee Marvin has been limited, he was excellent as well in Point Blank, and here, he gives another great performance as the American soldier. Toshiro Mifune, whom I have enjoyed in many great Japanese films doesn't disappoint, either. While it's not his best film or performance, it is no less a fantastic performance. Their performances combined were believable, compelling, and also filled with interesting chemistry, especially as neither actor could speak the other's language, making the film feel more believable in depicting the two enemies not understanding or agreeing with one another at first.

As a war drama, it is quite engaging, especially how it is not one-sided in its depictions of both sides. It's not here to be pro-America, not is it meant to be sympathetic towards the Japanese. Its main purpose is to show the nature of war and the misunderstandings that can come with it, and how something can bring even enemies together to work together for a common goal. There's even an actual bond between the two which was a rather interesting dynamic. However, the film does suffer from some issues, like the "My Log!" scene which ended up being hilarious. Sometimes its tone and messages can become a tad muddled. But, thankfully, this rarely ever happens.

Hell In The Pacific is a fantastic, underrated war drama. On top of this, it remains a very relevant and topical film worthy of discussion. It's an engaging, well-acted, and thought-provoking film from beginning to end. If you ever come across it, it is something to watch.
July 17, 2015
The joy of seeing two magnetic actors at the height of their powers square off for an hour and a half pretty much tells you all you need to know about this one. It's beautifully shot, and the decision not to subtitle Mifune is masterful, but in the end, it's all about these two men. My only complaint is that the ending is a little trite and feels like a let down to me. (I have seen the longer alternate ending.)
April 27, 2015
Great chemistry between Marvin and Mifune but the ending was quite abrupt in IMO
½ April 5, 2015
Ponderous and pretentious.
March 30, 2015
I've seen a lot of people complain about the ending, but when you consider the context of what happened just before the ending I think they ended it in a meaningful way. It was very symbolic. I don't want to spoil anything. Just watch it and judge for yourself.
½ December 12, 2014
Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune are fantastic in this movie, but even they seem confused by the ending. It's as if no one knew how to end it so they just blew up.
June 8, 2014
The ending is pretty awful, but there is an alternate ending that can be found on YouTube that is way better. In fact, I will just pretend that is how it ends. Regardless, it's a great survivalist film with practically no dialogue yet rich in character.
November 3, 2013
Very interesting movie! Terrific acting (cast of two)
October 6, 2013
Judging from "Hell in the Pacific" and the only other work of his I've seen, the searing masterpiece "Deliverance", John Boorman seems to make movies that play off the traditional ideals of masculinity -- territory, loyalty, etc. -- and see how men act and react to perilous situations that strip them of humanity and down to their most vulnerable. "Pacific" is pretty bare bones when it comes to plot or dialogue (or a satisfying ending) so the lion's share its success is in Boorman's naturalistic direction and the equally strong performances by Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune as two marooned officers hailing from either side of the Japanese-American divide. The disclosed setting is one that can and does shift from peaceful to high stakes of life or death. It's no "Deliverance", but "Hell in the Pacific", a movie of imagery and feeling, is also quite often a work of patience and mystical ferocity.
July 28, 2013
Great just make sure you see the real ending aka the Alternative Ending
February 3, 2013
A engaging survival film set in the Pacific Theater of WW2. A great story and great performances by Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune make this a classic!
January 12, 2013
An offbeat war movie which is really a character study-quite excellent
August 10, 2012
two of the worlds greatest actors directed by boorman. both men had to re-live their war experience making this film. the men speak different languages, so it's interesting to watch how they communicate. even though they are enemies, they must learn to work together in order to survive. but can they let go of the enemy hate? nope. i loved this film but the ending was not so good, otherwise i would give it a full 5 stars. the film is a great study in the psychology of war.
July 15, 2012
Very interesting movie, with a great moral message. Builds slowly, if anything to show the gap that has to be bridged between the two characters. Ultimately they discover that peace and co-operation are more constructive than war and strife - surely a code to live by.

Solid direction by John Boorman, to go with the excellent plot.

Good performances by Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune, in one of the smallest casts ever (though there have been movies with a cast of one).
½ June 24, 2012
John Boorman's Hell in the Pacific is the story about two solders, one American (Lee Marvin) and one Japanese (Toshiro Mifune) who is trapped on an god forsaken island in the middle of the pacific ocean. Neither of them can understand each others languages, and after a lot fights, they decides to put away their differences and starting to work together in order to make a boat out of three and escape the island, but will they succeed or are they to different?

Hell in the Pacific is an excellent anti-war film, which a great cast only consisting of two people, great actors. It's such a great film because we always understand what they are saying, but they don't understand each other, and we as an audience are frustrated by that which only makes it more thrilling.Thumbs up.
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