The year is 1944, Japanese Intelligence have cracked every American code used in the war. As a last resort they decide to try out the Navajo language, spoken only by the Navajo tribe. Sergeant Joe Enders (Nicolas Cage) is given the difficult task to protect one of these Navajo codetalkers and to make sure that he doesn’t fall into enemy hands.
After a few action hits like Mission Impossible, Face/Off and Broken Arrow, director John Woo decided to pay respect to those who never got respect; the Navajo Codetalkers. In the last 5 years we were overwhelmed with war flicks. Movies like Saving Private Ryan, The Thin Red Line, We Were Soldiers and many others showed us another kind of war, no happy heroics, no unlimited ammo and god mode. A more realistic approach, no fixed camera’s and that oh so famous documentary feeling Steven Spielberg created for us.
While all of the above movies are special in its own kind, Windtalkers fails to enter this hall of fame. To see a marine doing a frontal flip, while shooting a japanese soldier is not really a blessing for a movie trying to be taken seriously, especially after 5 years of ultra-realistic onscreen warfare. The movie is full of these little things, little ‘John-Woo’ action winks and that’s a shame ’cause it could have been much more.
Speaking of much more, while Adam Beach is showing off his acting skills, Nicolas Cage fails to put any emotions in his character. Most of the time he looks uninterested, possibly already knowing that the movie is only an average one. Amidst the other actors, we have the completely miscasted Peter Stormare (Armageddon, Fargo) and Christian Slater who doesn’t know how to stop smiling.
Sound and Vision:
Clearly one of the better things about this release is the image quality and especially the sound. While the movie has some ringing in the opening scenes, things get better eventually. Overall the picture is very clear and sharp. No artifacts or dirt are present on the print which is a good sign that MGM is doing a good effort in putting out quality releases. Now on to the sound. Just like in any other war movie, the 5.1 track makes you feel like you are in the middle of the action with bullets and screams flying all over the surround speakers and explosions pumping through the subwoofer. Marvelous!
No director’s comment, but instead we get actor’s comments by Nicolas Cage and Christian Slater. Alot of silence in these comments, they don’t have that much to say. Also a special featurette about boot camp and a promo with the director & actors talking about the movie. A very nice extra feature are the set diaries. John Woo explains alot about filming and doing the effects. Very nice.
– Actor’s Bootcamp featurette
– On set diaries
– Windtalkers Bravo Special
An average war movie. It’s entertaining but not to be taken seriously. If you were thinking of picking this one up in the local shop, i would suggest a rental first. And if you are looking for something serious about world war 2, skip this one…