The Tomatometer rating – based on the published opinions of hundreds of film and television critics – is a trusted measurement of movie and TV programming quality for millions of moviegoers. It represents the percentage of professional critic reviews that are positive for a given film or television show.
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The Tomatometer is 60% or higher.
The Tomatometer is 59% or lower.
Movies and TV shows are Certified Fresh with a steady Tomatometer of 75% or higher after a set amount of reviews (80 for wide-release movies, 40 for limited-release movies, 20 for TV shows), including 5 reviews from Top Critics.
Percentage of users who rate a movie or TV show positively.
Directed without the expected flair or imagination by Hong Kong master John Woo, Windtalkers airs just about every cliche in the war movie compendium across its indulgent two-hour-and-fifteen-minute length.
The only time Windtalkers doesn't go by the book is when Woo feels compelled to remind in-the-know moviegoers that he's John Woo: birds artfully flapping their wings, grass swaying, blood spurting, Joe staring soulfully into his personal abyss.
I wish Windtalkers had had more faith in the dramatic potential of this true story. This would have been better than the fiction it has concocted, and there still could have been room for the war scenes.
By my count, there are four separate films unspooling here. Individually, given half a chance, any one of them might have been good; but collectively, squeezed together and underdeveloped, they don't really add up.
We can only view Windtalkers with the same shaken detachment that characterizes Mr. Cage's Joe Enders, wishing that the codetalkers' real story, a little known and fascinating chunk of American history, had been given its true dramatic import.
With a weak script that makes one think that the screenwriters never read the great war books of James Jones and Norman Mailer, the characters don't have near the dimensionality required to help the movie soar above the usual bloody Hollywood balderdash.