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An American man returns to a corrupt, Japanese-occupied Shanghai four months before Pearl Harbor and discovers his friend has been killed. While he unravels the mysteries of the death, he falls in love and discovers a much larger secret.Written by
When the Imperial Japanese Navy carrier Kaga is first mentioned (while Soames is on the phone with Astor), he looks at a photograph of the ship. The photo is a real one and shows the Kaga after it had been refitted in 1933-35. It shows the Kaga's distinctive down-turned funnel (built to minimise the funnel's smoke) set amidships on the side facing the camera. But the caption accompanying the photo says that it's a surveillance photograph taken in 1939, which is not true. It's an official Japanese photo taken in 1936 and forms part of both the Yamato and Kashiwa Museums collections. See more »
Part of the plot of the film revolves around the Type 91 torpedo, and the fact that it was given to the Imperial Japanese Navy by the Germans. Although the Type 91 was a real and highly effective aerial torpedo in use by the IJN during World War II - it was used with devastating effect at Pearl Harbour - it was not a German design. It was developed by the Japanese themselves back in 1931, and went through various modifications and improvements until its use in World War II, including the addition of wooden stabilising fins for use in the shallow waters of Pearl Harbour. It also doesn't make much sense for the Japanese to only get the weapon two months before launching their attack, because that would have given no time for further development and modification for Japanese torpedo bombers, or for training pilots in its use.
Historically, there actually was a real exchange of aerial torpedo technology between Germany and Japan, but it was in the opposite direction and only in 1942. The Germans had no good aerial torpedoes of their own, having previously bought ones from Italy. The Japanese sent some examples of the Type 91 to Germany via submarine, where the German version entered service designated as 'Lufttorpedo LT 850'. See more »
Conner and I had joined the Navy like our fathers and grandfathers before us. Our lives were set. Birth, school, Yale, war. The great American tradition.
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This movie captures that period of 30's Shanghai quite well. Well I wouldn't be the best person to judge considering I know little about that time, but from what I had seen in this film, it was very intriguing.
This espionage/war film gets your attention. The plot is not too complicated, has a nice pace, good performances and an international cast. John Cusack is decent in this role, Gong Li is gorgeous as ever and her English seems to have improved. She captures the screen with her grace and beauty, but also a believable performance. Chow Yun Fat is equally as good. Ken Watanabe - a good performance though he really needs to work more on making his accent understandable as I still have a little trouble with him, but nevertheless makes a good icy character.
The last act creates the suspense very well, though I'll have to admit, though I found the ending dramatic and decent, it might have been more interesting if they actually filmed what happened instead of doing the voice-over, but hey I guess budget constraints and time can get in the way, so I'm alright with it I suppose.
This is a visual feast. It is good to see many actors of different nationalities blend in for what is a cross country story. Japan/China/Germany. Franka Potente has a role here too, which I enjoyed as well.
The only problem with the film, though it wasn't it's fault, was that the version I watched did not have English subtitles when they were talking in Chinese. At first, I thought that this was part of the movie, as you weren't meant to understand it, but there are important scenes near the end where I had no clue what they were saying. It didn't mean I didn't get the rest of the plot or what was happening, but that could have given me a bit more to work with and more juice as well. Oh well, it's not their fault.
This is an enjoyable movie, and it captures that sense of mystery, mistrust, betrayal and fear that you experience during an espionage/war film. Though this isn't essentially a war film in that it's main focus is about blowing up people etc, it is about the struggle of invasion and the effects of it. Recommended.
I hope it gets a wider release in the US and here in Australia because it is a good film.
19 of 22 people found this review helpful.
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