Ambush Bay (1966)

Hugh O'Brian in Ambush Bay (1966)

More Marines on a Mission

Having only been in the marines for 6 months, rookie Pfc. James Grenier (James Mitchum) finds himself on his first mission when a radio operator is taken sick at the last minute and he is drafted in. His lack of experience annoys some of the other men as they fear his clumsiness could slow them down or get them killed as they secretly enter the Philippines. Their mission is to liaise with an agent in a tea house who has important information but can't transmit as their radio is broken. But it is a dangerous mission with some of the men dying along the way as they encounter the enemy.

If I had a pound for every war movie which features marines on a mission, well I might not be a millionaire but I would be a heck of a lot richer than I am now. That you see is the problem which "Ambush Bay" has as whilst it comes up with a storyline and builds some mystery in to it as we are unaware of the mission for a while it is just another movie about marines on a mission during WWII. And whilst director Ron Winston delivers the movie in a solid manner it is only ever ordinary with very little in the sense of being spectacular.

So as I said for a while we don't know the actual mission all we know is that we have marines sneaking in to the Philippines via boat. We watch as they sneak through the jungle, come across the enemy and slowly their numbers dwindle as the enemy pick them off. But whilst there is the mystery nothing which happens takes you by surprise from the encounters with the enemy to the tension between the men and Grenier who's wet behind the ears nature and attitude annoys them.

Now it has to be said the location shots are terrific, in fact the back drops too many of the scenes are too good for the movie. But that is it as whilst we get a pounding soundtrack there is very little in the shape of real atmosphere as we watch the men sneak through the jungle and the action is not that spectacular either. In fact at times you are wowed more by the lush vegetation than the shooting of guns and the drone of a tank rumbling across the road.

And finally there are the performances with James Mitchum probably intentionally coming across as weak due to his character being a rookie but he isn't the most charismatic of actors and sadly with the movie using Mitchum to proved a narration it often feels a little monotonous from him. Aside from that we have Hugh O'Brian and Mickey Rooney who basically deliver solid performances of military men but nothing you won't have seen in half a dozen other war movies.

What this all boils down to is that if you just fancy watching a war movie "Ambush Bay" might entertain. But it is so derivative that it can feel a little dull.