I need to start off by saying that Taka Yamaguchi is a fabulous and underused actor. It is a shame he was cast in this and that he will be associated with this film for all time. He was completely wasted as this character. Watch his performance in "Sophie and the Rising Sun" and you will see what I mean.
As for the movie itself, while the events pretty much keep to the facts, the production is sorely lacking, as is the acting. The location where they actually filmed this was poorly chosen. Ni'ihau is an arid island that is almost in continuous drought because it lies in the rain shadow of neighboring Kauai. There are no lush plantations, rain forests or thickets of tropical plants as depicted here. The fact that the production designers didn't even attempt to make this look authentic put me off immediately. It does not feel Hawaiian -- more like a South Pacific location or even New Zealand. (I lived on Maui for 30 years so I do have at least a little knowledge first hand of all of the islands. I was also very good friends with the late Mary Gay Robinson who was related to the owners of Ni'ihau and who owned Lanai at one point. She is turning over in her grave at the thought of this film.)
The acting is sub-par, but then who ever wrote this script obviously knew very little about Ni'ihau culture or even Ni'ihau itself and didn't give the actors much to work with. Perhaps the fault doesn't lie with the actors but the script. It's a shame. Throwing in a handful of common Hawaiian words here and there doesn't make a film Hawaiian. In the hands of an actual Hawaiian production crew, a writer that knew how to write authentic and interesting scenes, and a location that even remotely resembled Ni'ihau at least a little bit, then that would then give this film a fighting chance -- instead it is pathetic.
This story deserves to be reworked and told by someone who will respect the islands and the culture of Ni'ihau, use Hawaiian actors instead of South Pacific islanders and put more effort into an actual script. How this ever got produced and released is a mystery to me. There actually were a few Japanese living on Ni'ihau at the time and the Japanese actors cast in this production were the most believable out of the whole bunch.
The only reason I wanted to see this movie was because of Taka Yamaguchi. If you are not a fan of his, please don't waste your time of money. Even if this was free on Amazon Prime (it should be because it certainly isn't worth renting) it is basically a waste of time other than Taka.
Shame on the production crew for releasing this poorly put together film.
Action / Drama / History
Action / Drama / History
When a Japanese pilot crash-lands on the tiny remote Hawaiian island of Ni'ihau, he is met with courtesy and traditional Hawaiian hospitality from the locals - until they discover he was part of the recent attack on Pearl Harbor.
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
August 13, 2019 at 07:21 AM