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Too Late the Hero

War. It's a dying business.
Too Late the Hero
A WWII film set on a Pacific island. Japanese and allied forces occupy different parts of the island. When a group of British soldiers are sent on a mission behind enemy lines, things don't go exactly to plan. This film differs in that some of the 'heroes' are very reluctant, but they come good when they are pursued by the Japanese who are determined to prevent them returning to base.


***WW2 jungle warfare*** In 1942 the Brits have a base at the southern tip of a Jap-held island in the Philippines; a unit is sent on a mission with an American Lieutenant (Cliff Robertson) to take down the radio at the northern end of the isle. Michael Caine plays a troublesome private while Denholm Elliott is on hand as the leader of the patrol. In tone and story, “Too Late the Hero” (1970) is similar to “Ambush Bay” (1966); other comparable flicks include “The Bridge on the River Kwai" (1957) and “Beach Red” (1967). Of course “Kwai” is superior, but “Too Late” ain’t no slouch. I had a bad attitude during the first half because of some unrealistic scenes. I’m no veteran of jungle warfare, but I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t be blithely singing songs or loudly talking while traversing jungle trails in enemy territory, especially when it has already been established that Japs could be anywhere. Also, if you’re going to take a nap, wouldn’t it be hidden in the forest undergrowth rather than in a wide open meadow near a trail? Also, am I the only one to find the Jap loudspeaker unit a little unlikely? If you can get past these kinds of eye-rolling flaws, “Too Late the Hero” becomes a gripping and suspenseful Pacific War movie with quality characterizations about a small group of reluctant heroes sweating it out in the jungle and fighting amongst themselves. Even the Jap commander is interesting and unpredictable. The ending is memorable, even iconic; and you don’t know who survives until the final moments. The film runs 2 hours, 13 minutes and was shot in Malay, Aklan, Philippines. GRADE: B

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