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In the World War Two Pacific, veteran US marine Nicolas Cage reluctantly teams up with a rookie Navajo radio operator (Adam Beach).

Inspired by true events – the US military correctly figured that the Japanese would be unable to understand orders transmitted in the Navajo language – director John Woo’s spectacular film is always more of a high energy game of soldiers than a mature drama.

The savage hand-to-hand combat scenes are non-stop. Woo’s forte as a director is action fantasy rather than gritty realism, so he’s hardly the obvious choice for a movie based on fact.

Still, this is a celluloid war comic to savour, especially in the sequence in which Cage and Beach steal a Japanese radio in the middle of a battle.

Christian Slater and Mark Ruffalo are also in uniform.