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Windtalkers /

Rated: R

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Adam Beach, Christian Slater, Noah Emmerich, Emily Mortimer 

Directed by: John Woo 

Produced by: John Woo, Terence Chang, Tracie Graham, Alison Rosenzweig 

Written by: Joe Batteer, John Rice 

Distributor: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer


Movie Image

Movie Image

Movie Image

     Windtalkers has a beautiful concept, and I will admit that the Navajo wind talkers are some of the most miraculous people to ever live; but there is hardly any wind talking in the film. It ends up being a shoot-em-up violent massacre of blood without a personality or meaning of its own. Despite some visually stunning special effects, a great performance by Nicholas Cage, and some beautiful direction and cinematography; there is no hard, cold material to the picture. It accomplishes quite a bit, but rarely has the expected amount of substance that it says it has.

     The story is about the Navajo code talkers who developed a code that was never broken during WWII. They decided to help the Americans fight during the battle against Japan on an island right off of the Japanese backcountry. The story specifically follows two partners, one a veteran warrior, and the other a frightened, rookie Navajo. The first is Joe Enders (Nicholas Cage), who stops at nothing to save his country, and becomes the highest ranked soldier in the American militia as the war progresses. His partner is Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach), a Navajo code talker who is going to war for the first time. Joe dislikes Ben at first, but then starts to warm up to him when he boosts the courage level of the virgin soldier. Both Cage and Beach put on great performances, which help the film; they deserve better material.

     The direction, by John Woo, is simply inspiring. The beautifully looking special effects, tremendous aerial shots, and fabulously moving battle sequences allow me to name him one of the best directors in today’s movie business. The sound editing department also did wonderfully, and should win an Academy Award for their masterful work. Everything is dead on in Windtalkers, except for the absolutely wretched screenplay, which drags the film down in everyway possible. Most everything is beautiful to watch, but if you listen to the dialogue alone (though there isn’t much of it), you will find the film to be nothing short of a disaster. I want to brutally beat John Rice and Joe Batteer, they destroyed some material that could’ve been worthy of a “Best Picture” award if it had been written properly.

     There was one scene that I liked in particular, and that was when it showed the Navajo training to become code talkers. The teacher would say something like “Fire” and the students would be respond by saying “Big light,” code words for the actual tern; in the Navajo language. They developed a whole vocabulary full of this code, and learned to talk through their flute-like instruments; which is really quite amazing. As discussed before, this was one of the few scenes that utilized “wind talking”, I’m not even sure that the entire movie deserves to be called Windtalkers, because it is so misleading; there is hardly anything of what the title commends. The interesting Navajo code was a treat to watch, and I have no idea why they didn’t use it more often in the flick.

     Windtalkers is a good battle picture, but not a good movie. The acting, direction, and production work; but the screenplay is the most hideous mess I’ve seen in a long time. If you look at a film in terms of its visuals and don’t place a lot of thought into the dialogue, you’ll probably enjoy it; but otherwise you won’t. My best recommendation is to rent it, like I did, because it just isn’t enough to spend the full $8.50 on to see on the big screen.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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