When I saw that Mel Gibson was in this film I thought it would be a good one to watch. But, unfortunately I was wrong. This is a very early Mel Gibson film and at the time that it was made he was not even listed as a leading actor, but the film makers have taken advantage of his later fame by now ‘upgrading’ his position in the advertising credits. The film is set in 1945 during the Second World War in the islands of the South Pacific. An aircraft has crashed on one of the islands and an elite fighting force of the Australian Army has been sent in to rescue any survivors. Captain Paul Kelly (played by Mel Gibson) leads the group of five men from Attack Force Z. Only Kelly knows the identity of the important person on the aircraft that they either have to rescue or kill. I could tell you who it is, but then I would just have to kill you! There is a lot of killing in the film, but it is not a ‘blood and guts’ film and most of the killing is ‘clean’. There is also no bad language at all. The island is occupied by the Japanese army and inhabited by the Chinese. During the film there are a lot of Japanese and Chinese conversations, but none of these are sub-titled. I know it is normally obvious what the conversation is probably about, but I do think it would have been better with a translation, as some of these conversations were quite lengthy. The acting in the film is pretty good and the story line plays on the intrigue of the orient and the indecision of the Chinese as to whether they should support the Australians or the Japanese. Apart from this interest the rest of the story is fairly bland and mostly predictable. The soundtrack of the film is awful. Rather than scene-setting or background music, it is very distracting and at times very silly. The choice of music was not at all well made. Although I did manage to watch to the end of the film I was glad that it was no longer th
an 84 minutes. I shall not watch this film again and I am afraid I cannot recommend it to anybody else, not even for the most ardent of Mel Gibson fans.
Stars John Phillip Law, Mel Gibson, Sam Neill, Chris Haywood, and John Waters (III).