Windtalkers - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Windtalkers Reviews

Top Critic
Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
September 19, 2008
The energy and conviction of the action sequences don't quite compensate for Windtalkers' emotional cliches and historical heedlessness.
Top Critic
Robert Koehler
Variety
September 19, 2008
A powerful premise turned into a stubbornly flat, derivative war movie.
Top Critic

Time Out
January 26, 2006
The screenwriters struggle to integrate the coded transmissions with the action, and the flamboyant set piece battles feel like so much empty rhetoric.
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Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 6, 2002
The history is fascinating; the action is dazzling. They just don't work in concert.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
July 20, 2002
It's the best new battle film since Black Hawk Down.
| Original Score: 3.5/4
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
June 19, 2002
A relentless, bombastic and ultimately empty World War II action flick.
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
June 16, 2002
I kept wishing I was watching a documentary about the wartime Navajos and what they accomplished instead of all this specious Hollywood hoo-ha.
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Paul Tatara
CNN.com
June 15, 2002
No amount of burning, blasting, stabbing, and shooting can hide a weak script.
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Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
June 14, 2002
The screenplay sabotages the movie's strengths at almost every juncture. All the characters are stereotypes, and their interaction is numbingly predictable.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
June 14, 2002
Windtalkers' remains almost obstinately flat.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
June 14, 2002
Feels slightly off-key, out of focus.
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
June 14, 2002
Although too simplistic, overly melodramatic and psychologically underdeveloped to be a great movie, Windtalkers is a perfectly good one.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Melanie McFarland
Seattle Times
June 14, 2002
This is one of the most intensely personal war films you will ever see.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
June 14, 2002
Despite some feints in a soulful direction, the picture has none of the interior quality of a multifaceted war film like Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
June 14, 2002
Windtalkers is shapelessly gratifying, the kind of movie that invites you to pick apart its faults even as you have to admit that somehow it hit you where you live.
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
June 14, 2002
[Woo] doesn't reinvent the war film with Windtalkers. But he does capitalize on the post-Private Ryan trend toward showing combat at its most brutal and personal.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
John Anderson
Newsday
June 14, 2002
You might need a decoder of your own to figure out what went awry with Windtalkers.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
June 14, 2002
The script is riddled with so many cliches, you count on the battle scenes to wake you from your stupor.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
June 14, 2002
Woo makes Windtalkers his own by combining the style and concerns of his earlier work with retro-sounding music and other war-movie conventions.
| Original Score: A-
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Susan Stark
Detroit News
June 14, 2002
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.
| Original Score: 1/4
Top Critic
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
June 14, 2002
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Steven Rosen
Denver Post
June 14, 2002
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Leighton Walter Kille
Boston Globe
June 14, 2002
Woo wanted the film to be realistic, and it is. The violence is unrelenting, the uniforms are dirty and mismatched, the weapons are shiny from use, the soldiers are exhausted, sick, sad.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
June 14, 2002
Throwing in everything except someone pulling the pin from a grenade with his teeth, Windtalkers seems to have ransacked every old World War II movie for overly familiar material.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
June 14, 2002
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
June 14, 2002
With its dogged Hollywood naturalism and the inexorable passage of its characters toward sainthood, Windtalkers is nothing but a sticky-sweet soap.
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
June 14, 2002
An old-fashioned war movie that mires in mediocrity.
| Original Score: 3/5
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
June 14, 2002
The Navajo code talkers have waited a long time to have their story told. Too bad it appears here merely as a gimmick in an action picture.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
June 14, 2002
A depressing example of how even the most promising subjects -- in this case, World War II Navajo code talkers -- can get turned into sentimental mush by Hollywood.
| Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
June 14, 2002
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.
| Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Mike Clark
USA Today
June 14, 2002
Windtalkers is capably made and certainly impresses by carrying its length, but it doesn't expand 60 years of World War II screen literature by very much.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Bruce Newman
San Jose Mercury News
June 13, 2002
Despite the movie's overly simplistic view of the bigotry the Navajos faced in the military ... Windtalkers speaks of a love between men who have come to a place willing to die together.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
June 13, 2002
Windtalkers fascinates in its difference from other war films, and overkills in its similarity to other combat movies.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
June 13, 2002
It's like the first 25 minutes of Saving Private Ryan stretched over two hours. I liked it a lot, but the weak and the skittish are hereby warned.
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
June 13, 2002
For anyone in the mood for an unusual kind of war movie, Windtalkers is talking your language.
| Original Score: B+
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
June 11, 2002
At once chintzy and grandiose, awash in battlefield sentimentality and platoon clichés.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
June 11, 2002
This film proves that more is needed than visceral displays of battle carnage, digitally amplified gunfire and explosions, and a camera that won't keep still.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
June 10, 2002
The code talkers deserved better than a hollow tribute.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
Top Critic
David Hunter
Hollywood Reporter
June 7, 2002
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.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
June 6, 2002
Windtalkers blows this way and that, but there's no mistaking the filmmaker in the tall grass, true to himself.
Full Review | Original Score: B-