When in July 1944 the Japanese Army lead one final, suicidal attack on the American Marines there were almost no survivors with almost 4000 Japanese lives lost along side 2000 American. One survivor was Captain Oba Sakae (Yutaka Takenouchi) who after playing dead retreated deep in to the jungle where he with less than 50 surviving soldiers and a couple of hundred civilians start their own Guerrilla action rather than commit Bushido. Oba and his men's raids and attacks on the American military base become a thorn in the side of Commander Colonel Pollard (Daniel Baldwin) who wants to throw everything at him to kill him. But when Pollard fails and is replaced by Colonel Wessinger (Treat Williams) he requests former resident of Japan, Captain Lewis (Sean McGowan) to try and negotiate with Oba.
Having watched a few 21st century war movies I have to say my expectations are often quite low even if I do see some recognizable names within the cast list. As such I have to say that "Battle of the Pacific" surprised me as all in all this felt superior to many of the recently made war movie I have watched even though it has many of the same flaws. For example there is a scene where a soldier dies on a hospital bed and we get the soppiest music going, yes it is trying to be a sensitive scene but it is a styling which is in conflict with the storyline. And sadly for those who don't appreciate the storyline, which is based on actual events, it is the flaws, the CGI created look which will stick out more than anything else.
But the storyline which sees Captain Oba leading his mix of soldiers and civilians in a guerrilla movement is a fascinating one because it attempts to tell the story from all angles. On one hand we have Oba and his men trying to train the civilians to fight and leading them in to the trees and up the rock faces to survive and with their being many young innocents involved you can sense the difficulties and dramas of close encounters. But then you have the American side which starts with Colonel Pollard wanting to blow any surviving Japanese soldiers especially Oba who earns the nickname of the Fox to kingdom come. But we then get a more gentle approach when Colonel Wessinger takes over and both sides paint a fascinating picture if war and the conflict soldiers must have faced when you have different leadership styles.
What this all boils down to is that "Battle of the Pacific" is actually much better than I expected and a lot better than many contemporary movies which are made about WWII. Yes it still has many of the flaws which these movies suffer from yet the attempt to tell two sides of a situation ends up working well to make it surprisingly engaging.