#26 Windtalkers

#26 Windtalkers

Year: 2002
Director: John Woo
MPAA Rating:
Epic Co-stars: Bobby Cox, Carl Hungus, Lucius Malfoy, Hard Harry
Running Time: 134 minutes
Cage Time: 
Cage Kills: 73
Cage Flip-outs: 2
Shauna's Review: 
This is one of my previously-seen Cage treats. I couldn't remember if it was a genuinely moving and thrilling war movie or a classic Cage camp-fest. I wasn't left in suspense for too long. Native American soldiers kiss their families goodbye and head off to poorly acted code-talking classes. Nic Cage appears in a scrappy skirmish somewhere in Japan. After getting hit with a grenade, Nic Cage suffers ear damage. He broods over a partially shaved eyebrow in a marine hospital until he is permitted back into the fight. He's assigned with Christian Slater to protect one of the Navajo code-talkers. He's bummed to miss out on "killing Japs" although I would think that anyone in his position would get to kill plenty of people. Plus, he's Nic Cage. Goes without saying.

Nicolas Cage's character hurts his ear.
At any rate, Cage is told to "protect the code at all costs... we can't let the code get into enemy hands, etc." (So he's supposed to keep the guy alive if possible, but kill him if he might get captured). If you've ever seen a movie before, you can probably predict where this is going. The Navajo (Adam Beach, also seen on SVU) is eager to become friends with Cage, who is predictably sullen and cranky, what with the having-to-kill-this-guy-someday-maybe thing and the having-flashbacks-to-war-whenever-there's-a-fan-nearby thing. I'm writing this only 35 minutes into the damn thing, and I can already tell you, he's going to warm up to the guy whether he wants to or not, so he should just stop being a dick.

The music is completely ridiculous for this movie. James Horner is a fine composer, but the mood is all wrong. The action is all Saving Private Ryan, but the soundtrack is sheer Indiana Jones. All melodramatic, sweeping strings and insouciant trumpets. There should be a man in a fedora kicking ass or a couple of furry little Ewoks shrieking as they fall out of trees. It definitely seems like WWII was a significant enough event to merit a more serious soundtrack. Probably.

Nicolas Cage's character likes shouting.
On the one hand, this movie is very silly, which is kinda odd for a war movie, especially one that is clearly trying to be moving and significant. The fake blood is super red, and the purportedly gory injuries are uber-fake (including one guy who gets a hand cut off). We spent most of the movie going, "What the hell? Why would they do that? What is this?" On the other hand, Nic Cage's character is nut balls war-crazy and he has a few fine freakouts. This is a fine example of Cage's no-smile policy.

Movie quotability:
  • "You're a mess, Joe. You're not fooling anybody." "No, HE's a mess."
  • "I Nava-know how to use a cup."-Skyler
  • "She walks right up to me and asks me if I'm hungry, 'cause she's having a weenie roast... Now I'm in Saipan with this giant Zippo on my back and I'm burning human beings."
  • "I'm here to kill Japs, not Marines."
  • "How's that for ignorant fool, huh?"
  • "You done good on that hill today Yahtzee."
  • "What a magical pile of Navajo horseshit."

Plot Holes:
  • Like anybody would have the last name Van Holt.
  • War. What is it good for?
  • Cage can easily get on the opposite side of the enemy line when they are infiltrating the Japanese.
  • Nic Cage gets shot in the heart but takes minutes to die. (Spoiler)

!Tapped out at first blood.!


James Ayers said...

I like your use of the word "insouciant". Consider yourself promoted to head reviewer! Congratulations. You worked hard for this, revel in it appropriately.

Steve M said...

I remember watching this back when it first came out and I really enjoyed it because it was not only a modern WW2 movie, but also told the story of the Navajo code talkers which isn't something I had seen before. Fast forward about 10 years and this time around I was watching with a critical eye and was really disappointed, though it is far from the worst movie out there. The main cause of disappointment was the utter lack of real substantial development of the Navajo and spent way too much time focusing on Cage. The rest of the movie was a set of standard WW2 movie clich├ęs mixed up a little bit and glued back together with some really pink fake blood.

Some of the other detractors for me were the failed toss of the satchel charge that had enough time on the fuse to allow Cage plenty of time for a second toss moments before it went off. Had our hero made his first toss the enemy would have had enough time to pen a note and tie it on with a ribbon before tossing it back. The GySGT (Peter Stormare) had an accent that sounded French to me so it was hard to take him seriously in that role, though the rest of his acting was good. Then right at the end of the movie a bunch of good guys are getting shelled to pieces, but not a one of them thought to bring along a radio so they have to wait for Enders and Yahzee to come to the rescue. Actually, now that I think about it pretty much every use of the code talkers felt contrived and almost like we were pausing the main storyline about Cage so we could give the Navajo a few seconds of screen time so that it could be called "Windtalkers" instead of "Cage Goes to War".

KaBluie said...

#59 Windtalkers (2006) Showtime Extreme. First Time View. I really enjoyed this!

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