Combustible Celluloid Review - Battle for Saipan (2022), Brandon Slagle, Brandon Slagle, Casper Van Dien, Jeff Fahey, Louis Mandylor, Eoin O'Brien, Jennifer Wenger, Devanny Pinn, Randall J. Bacon, Luana Cavalcante, Stien Davis, Hiroki Koyama, John Garrett Mahlmeister, Natalia Nikolaeva, Josh Riley, Niko Rusakov, Maya Van Dien, Nobu T Watanabe, Alexander Winters, Flavia Zaguini
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With: Casper Van Dien, Jeff Fahey, Louis Mandylor, Eoin O'Brien, Jennifer Wenger, Devanny Pinn, Randall J. Bacon, Luana Cavalcante, Stien Davis, Hiroki Koyama, John Garrett Mahlmeister, Natalia Nikolaeva, Josh Riley, Niko Rusakov, Maya Van Dien, Nobu T Watanabe, Alexander Winters, Flavia Zaguini
Written by: Brandon Slagle
Directed by: Brandon Slagle
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, bloody images and some language
Running Time: 94
Date: 11/25/2022
IMDB

Battle for Saipan (2022)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Hospital Bored

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This true WWII story is certainly worthy of a good movie, but the one we actually get, hampered by a low budget, baffling choices, and general going-through-the-motions filmmaking, is not it.

It's 1944, during WWII, and Major William Porter (Louis Mandylor) is stationed on the island of Saipan. He and his men are ambushed by Japanese troops, and Porter manages to get to a nearby U.S. Army hospital. Run by a hard-drinking General Jake Carroll (Jeff Fahey), the hospital is understaffed and undersupplied, and even a surgeon like Vic (Casper Van Dien) has been awake and on call for several days.

Porter warns that Japanese forces are likely to stage an all-or-nothing attack, and the only thing standing in the way are wounded soldiers, and doctors like Vic with no combat experience. Can the U.S. forces survive?

Battle for Saipan opens with some narration, "So will it be with the resurrection of the dead," etc., from the Book of Corinthians. Then, just in case, a character says it again onscreen just past the halfway point. Finally, it's repeated again, over the closing credits, so no one misses it.

The movie's first ten minutes contain three examples of cliched war-movie dialogue (including "watch your six," used twice), and the major character introductions are all too numbingly familiar. Only Jeff Fahey's enormous clump of floofy, gray chest hair, plumping out of his half-unbuttoned uniform, commands any attention.

The battle scenes are equally dull, taking place in what is supposed to be a hospital, but at times looks like an abandoned warehouse or a back alley somewhere. The spaces never seem to fit, and characters don't seem to fit within the spaces. (In one scene, characters merely stand there while armed invaders pour into the room.)

In another sequence, the female nurses are ordered to run around the facility to "find anything we can use." We see them frantically doing this, and then... nothing. The things they found are never used.

We also get the usual dialogue about "back home," accompanied by sappy music, and the usual weepy bedside scene. It's a shame, because this story has the makings of a much better movie, and one that better honors its heroes. Battle for Saipan is merely missing in action.

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