A few days before the U.S. had planned to attack the Philippines, three U.S. soldiers, Lieutenant Craig (Jimmie Rodgers – from televisions The Jimmie Rodgers Show), Burnett (About Schmidt, As Good As It Gets) and Jersey (John Hackett – Hoffa, The Two Jakes) land there and scout out the Japanese forces. Lieutenant Craig is an officer who is not one hundred percent sure about the war, Burnett is a radio operator and Jersey is a capable soldier. Soon after their arrival the Japanese army learns of their presence and destroys their radio. This jeopardizes all the troops in the Philippine region in danger. The three Americans team up with a group of Filipino freedom fighters led by Paco (Conrad Maga – only film) and his female companion, Maria (Annabelle Huggins – only film) in order to try and complete their mission.
Despite some weak dialogue this film is an important one in that we get to see a performance by a very young Jack Nicholson and it demonstrates the type of sacrifices that the Filipino people made during World War II. The inexperience of young (at the time) director Monte Hellman (The Greatest) sometimes shows in the picture. Some parts seem stilted and rambling, but in an odd way it makes the film seem more realistic. If you didn't know better, you would believe that it is a documentary. Everything moves in a quick pace with much darkness and dread, even in the ending, in the film. If you are expecting an epic war film you will be disappointed as it is more a low-budget small story type picture. This is the first time this film has been available on DVD.
-Fox Flix: trailers for Decision Before Dawn, Destination Gobi, Immortal Sargeant, and You're in the Navy Now