Running Time: 128 Mins
What To Expect: A movie that isn’t as bad as they say, but too long and cheap looking
Director Mario Van Peebles has stuck his head back out of TV-land, where most of his forty directorial efforts have taken place, to try his hand at a WW2 epic. People are going to laugh at this movie. They’ll think, the director is Mario Van Peebles, a one time superstar of VHS bargain rentals? Then they’ll see Nicolas Cage in the artwork and probably abandon the movie there and then. If they look hard enough they’ll also note that Tom Sizemore is in the movie. These are names that will sully any serious movie’s prospects. This movie is already being torn up by anyone who has seen it and to be fair, it’s not a good movie. However, I was expecting worse.
I wonder if many know the story of the USS Indianapolis, a cruiser in the United States navy that was designated the job of transporting crucial components for the Hiroshima bomb to the Pacific theatre. Flying the parts wasn’t a good idea, and giving the ship a large escort would make the Japanese suspicious. So she had to charge ahead alone, but after completing her main mission she was struck by Imperial Japanese sub I-58. Only 317 of her 1,196 seamen survived. That’s basically the plot of the movie, with Nicolas Cage playing Captain McVay, Tom Sizemore filling in as an aged Chief of the Boat and appearances from some Z-listers like Cody Walker.
The worst thing about this movie is that it’s too long, running for over 2 hours, it exposes its weaknesses in an attempt to fill out its ‘epic’ value. Like crappy cliches, I mean someone should’ve taken a sword to this script and cut out the damned romantic subplot – a love triangle?! We don’t need to see that. It should be clear to the biggest idiot that cheap movies like this need to throw weight overboard and not overtax the viewer, especially with bullshit melodrama. Another major problem is the CGI, which the movie relies heavily upon. It’s bad, man. People are going to point and laugh at the planes, and the one real plane they had, they crashed for real and had to stop using.
But you know, this movie had my attention up until the first hour mark or so. For example Nicolas Cage is playing it straight here, he met real survivors and heard their stories, and it’s always nice to see serious Cage once in a while. Peebles also directs a reasonably cool looking interior scene now and again and I kind of enjoyed seeing the action from inside the Japanese subs and from their crewmen’s perspectives, we don’t often see that in movies. After the boat sinks though…
The skids are hit for the remaining hour, it’s boring. Peebles doesn’t know how to direct a survival movie, which this morphs into. He has tried to deal with too many characters, wedding rings, forced too much awful CGI on us and basically sends the whole thing into mediocre oblivion. I’m going to be generous and give this movie a six.