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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Windtalkers DVD

Not what I'd hoped... 

Directed by John Woo.
Released in 2002.

With the title Windtalkers you'd think it would be centered on the Windtalkers, those Navajo codetalkers in the Pacific Theater of World War II. I'd purposely ignored this movie until I had the time to watch it since I was interested in the topic and have a passing interest in the Navajo culture, having visited the Four Corners area several times and having read a bit about them.

Anyway, I was hoping for a movie that focused on the Windtalkers themselves - why they fought for a society that had conquered them and now scorned them, what their motivations were, how their culture dealt with the separation from the Navajo lands, the death and destruction of the war (briefly touched on) and so on. That would have been much more interesting and important.

Instead, we get a movie that should be called Messed Up In the Head Windtalker Babysitter - a movie about the white guy who minds the Navajo Windtalkers. A movie full of cliche characters and soliloquies that just does not work. For that matter, neither do most of the action scenes. The first rule of a war movie is to make you love the character and then put him in all sorts of dangerous situations so you can worry if he's going to die. It's simple - the viewer is emotionally invested in the story. It never happened for me in this one, despite the massive amounts of explosions. War stories are not about the amount of explosions - the great ones are about exploring characters (and by extension, you and me) during a time of extreme duress.

I was glad to see Christian Slater get some work, though.

This one will not be staying in my collection - it is just not good enough.

I rate this movie 2 stars out of 5.

This movie can be found on Amazon.com here: Windtalkers

Reviewed on July 25, 2007.

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