Windtalkers (2002) John Woo
Production Budget: $115 million
Gross: $76 million
Windtalkers is about Army Sgt. Enders (Nic Cage) who is put on a new mission to babysit a Navajo code talker. The Japanese are unable to break the Navajo language because it is not a written language. Enders has to protect the code though and not the actual person. I wonder if Enders will be put to the test? Hmmmmmm.
A more apt title is Generic War Movie but I guess it doesn’t have the same pizzaz as Windtalkers. Just picture all the war movie cliches and you have Windtalkers. Let’s start with the platoon. We have the grizzled badass sergeant, the foreign comic relief, the wide eyed new recruit, Private Dead Meat, the white racist cracker, and because we can’t have a comic relief black guy in a WWII movie we get 1 more Dead Meat character. The “character development” is as predictable as it gets: grizzled badass learns to relax and love his Windtalker, new recruit learns the horrors of war, Private Dead Meat gets blown up, racist cracker learns Native Americans are just like anyone else, and Dead Meat/Christian Slater gets his head cut off. Oh, and foreign comic relief stays foreigny and even less funny.
Let’s talk about the acting now. It has Nic Cage so it obviously sucks. We get the token Nic Cage acting where he drones one minute like he’s drank a quart of NyQuil and the next minute the classic manic screaming we are used to. Christian Slater is not appearing in this movie so don’t expect anything from him. The worst acting surprisingly does not come from Nic though. The actor who plays Yahzee (the Windtalker) is terrible. His emotional range is two faces: grinning like a stoned idiot, and his angry face which resembles that of a pouting child.
The writing is uninspired and boring. Sgt. Enders story is a carbon copy of Tom Hanks’ character in Saving Private Ryan. Except instead of a shaking hand, Enders has an inner ear problem. Yeah. The movie is just an endless wait for the conflict we all see coming. Will Enders follow orders and kill Yahzee or does he love him too much to pull the trigger? Corky Romano has more tension than this movie. The bro mance between Yahzee and Enders is so forced it strains the limits of believability. Enders is the most unlikable and unsociable dipshit yet Yazee follows him around droning on and on and on about his life and grinning like a stoned idiot. Really though, Yahzee is so relentlessly annoying though that even the most patient man would be telling him to shut the fuck up after two days of his droning.
But you might be saying “Well, the story sucks. But its John Woo. The action has to be good.” Well, I found the action to be surprisingly incompetent. There are scenes where people will get shot and no squibs will go off. There are battle scenes where mortars are supposed to be going off, yet I can see the explosive devices clearly dug into the ground. This is worse than seeing a boom mike. And there is something outdated of having stuntment flying around on springboards when they get hit by a mortar. If its one thing CGI can do well, is add the gore war movies were missing in the past. Oh, and the ultimate in hilarity is Christian Slater’s severed head.
The action scenes just piss me off. Apparently cover, concealment, and tactics have no place in war. Its all about who has the biggest hairiest balls who kills the most. Nic Cage strolls down the battlefield out in the open casually mowing down Japanese. Its almost comical watching him stand out in the open and having wave after wave of soldiers run right in front of his machine gun. Rambo didn’t kill this many people in all of his movies. It would be comical if not for the fact its embarrassing watching John Woo drop to these levels. You made Hard Boiled for crying out loud!
On the whole this movie is boring. You can predict the whole movie from the first 10 minutes and you spend the rest of the running time showing all your predictions were right. I would almost give it a pass as that if not for the fact the action is so bad its flat out embarrassing. Not even so bad its funny. Its just bad.