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Windtalkers
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Windtalkers Review

Directed By: John Woo.
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Christian Slater, Noah Emmerich, Emily Mortimer, Frances O'Connor.

Synopsis: John Woo's Windtalkers centers on the relationships between the Marines and the Navajo code talkers that were assigned to protect during World War II. The code talkers transmitted messages using an unbreakable code based on their native language. The climax takes place during the battle of Saipan when the Marines fighting off the Japanese must safeguard the code at all costs.

Step one to pissing off all John Woo disciples. Say the following: John Woo is an over-rated director whose Hollywood films show only plagiarism of his earlier, more creative period.

Step 2 to pissing off a John Woo fan should be showing them his latest film, Windtalkers, but you know what? The die hard fans will stand by their man and say how great the action is within this film. Sadly they will overlook the bloated, overweight and cliched chunk of celluloid that this film is. They will ignore the fact that there is almost nothing new or unique in this film that, in a genre as old as the war it portrays, could have been made 40 years ago except for the bloodshed that occurs.

I used to be a huge fan of Woo's and have watched both The Killer and A Better Tomorrow many times. However with his transfer into the Hollywood realm he has been content to cast some big names like John Travolta and Nicholas Cage while ripping off his own unique shots from his earlier films. Personally, I found Face/Off only mildly interesting...Broken Arrow was ok and Hard target is an easily dismissed film...but now this Windtalkers flick. Man, someone should have told Woo he had one of the most cliched scripts I have ever seen committed to screen.

For example, early on they establish two Navajo Codetalkers, Charles Whitehorse and Ben (Adam Beach). Well, we know from the trailer and set-up that Ben is the hero...so the other Navajo Whitehorse is essentially a Star Trek red shirt, fodder for the guns and prepped for a dramatic death.

Then there is Noah Emmerich playing Corporal Charles 'Chick' Rogers, the token racist man who will change his racist ways only when saved by one of these guys. Like John Waters said in The Simpsons (and I'm paraphrasing), "now if only every gay guy could save your life Homer, you wouldn't be prejudiced anymore."

Nicholas Cage as Sergeant Joe Enders and Adam Beach as Private Ben Yahzee both have some horrible dialogue to spew so they should get credit for doing it without a sense of bile in their throats.

There were moments where I wanted to like what was going on. There were moments I wanted to at least admire the visuals and action, because it is pretty broad and epic in moments. However, at an hour into the film and I have yet to really make any connections with any of the characters and the deaths that follow leave me just sitting there wide-eyed in amazement at the bad script, I know that John Woo has made a pretty weak film.

The Navajo codetalkers are the only unique and truly unexplored territory in this film which is disturbing as that is what the film is named for. However, what I find very disturbing is the fact that John Woo, an asian himself obviously, delegates the enemy, the Japanese to nothing more than cardboard cutout characters who shout a lot and fall over every time Nicholas Cage even waves a gun in their direction. One moment is so horrible, Cage, firing a pistol at five Japanese as they attack, they all collapse instantly. Faster than he could have pulled the trigger five times and with more accuracy than Lee Harvey Oswald.

I give some praise though. When the action is flying, you are watching, totally compelled, but that really doesn't seem to be the point of the film, just like visuals to link the so-called character scenes together. Christian Slater...I have always liked this guy, even though he seems to have a few glitches I want him to turn into a great actor and have seen almost every flick he has made. I also liked Adam Beach...not at first as he seemed to play a perennially grinning Navajo but by the end of the film he has faced hell and back and it shows.

But Nicholas Cage, the one character who does get fully developed as a man who has seen his entire platoon decimated and then is thrust into the guardian angel role over Ben...he has returned to his realm of overacting with huge eyes and stunned looks.

My recommendation...check out The Bourne Identity first and if you are a John Woo fan, hell you won't listen anyway, go and enjoy, but for me, this was a 2 star film.

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Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul



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