Solid B War Film with Plenty of Action
Terrance N. Fowler | West Allis, WI USA | 12/14/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Walls of Hell (Intramuros) is a solid B war film produced in the Philippines. Based on an actual incident, the story revolves around U.S. and Filipino efforts to defeat 10,000 Japanese marines who defied orders and took over an ancient walled fortress in Manila for a fight to the death. 20,000 civilians are trapped inside. The film centers on a small group of guerrillas fighting around and under the 25-foor thick walls of the fortress. Led by Lt. Sorenson (Jock Mahoney), they attempt to rescue 1,000 civilians being held in a Japanese detainment camp who will be massacred if the fortress falls. Mahoney makes the most of his role and Fernando Poe Jr. co-stars as a bitter guerrilla fighter. The film is well directed by Gerardo de Leon and Eddie Romero (who also produced) and is reminiscent of Sam Fuller's early films. Overall production values are good and the movie makes good use of actual locations. If you cringe when you see Eddie Romero's name in the credits, this well executed and entertaining movie will surprise you."
Familiar Formulae Blunt Historical Action.
rsoonsa | Lake Isabella, California | 06/07/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In early 1945, 10000 Japanese Marines, fearing execution if they surrendered, took refuge within Manila's Intramuros ("walled city"), a fortress erected by the Spanish in the late 16th century, with 20 foot thickness all about, and during an eight day siege and artillery bombardment by American Army and Philippine freedom fighters, all 10000 of the Japanese Naval troops perished, along with 90000 others, civilians in the main whose home was the narrow passaged fort. This film, generally marketed in the U.S. as THE WALLS OF HELL, features sturdy Jock Mahoney as an American lieutenant in charge of a task force composed primarily of Philippine soldiers ensconced within the outskirts of Intramuros, who do battle continuously with the besieged, the incessant action interspersed with extraneous sub-plots and weakened by less than fine direction, production values and camerawork.
Steven Hellerstedt | 01/04/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"We're about to start the endgame in the Pacific in World War II. Douglas MacArthur has returned (he said he would) and the Japanese are seriously evacuating the Philippines. Save for a few thousand renegade Japanese marines in the walled city of Intramuros, who choose instead to stand and fight.
THE WALLS OF HELL is director Eddie Romero's story of a small group of Filipino guerillas and American quasi-military types who are a part of the Allied forces formed to liberate the city; and, because they're small, mobile, and it helps the plot, infiltrate deep into the bowels of the besieged city to evacuate a concentration of Intramuros citizens, prisoners of occupying Japanese, before they're killed by their desperate captors.
In many ways THE WALLS OF HELL is a really bad movie. Eddie Romero did a few Philippines-based WWII flicks in the early sixties before going on to make some of the schlockiest drive-in horror movies ever- if he's remembered at all nowadays, it's for such bad movie classics as `Brides of Blood,' `Beast of Blood,' and `Beast of the Yellow Night.' THE WALLS OF HELL (aka `Intramuros') isn't any better than those anti-classics. It's horribly paced, lethargically directed, and stars Jock Mahoney in his first feature film after hanging up the Tarzan loin cloth for the last time. Mahoney plays Sorenson, one of those reserved, hard driving types who wins the absolute loyalty of his troops. We know this not because of anything he does in the movie, but because one of the oldtimers tells it to a newcomer and it helps the plot to have someone like that leading the troops. Romero shares writing credits on this film, too, and I suppose you could charitably observe he's no worse a screenwriter than he is a director. Heck, there's NO interaction or character development in this flick. Kind of opposing the American Mahoney - I think, hard to tell - is the young Filipino Nardo (Fernando Poe, Jr.,) who crawls out of an Intramuros sewer to enlist the aid of Mahoney and gang in saving the threatened citizens. A relatively reliable internet source says, and I quote, `Up until his death, no actor was able to dethrone him (Poe) as King of Philippine Movies.' THE WALLS OF HELL was one of Poe's earliest movies, and it must have been made during his baron days. Eddie Romero was not the director you want if you're ambition is to rise in the ranks of Philippine movie royalty.
This is my second Eddie Romero film, the first was another WWII movie, `The Raiders of Leyte Gulf.' The other one was weak, too. Still, if you're a fan of WWII movies, the ones based on facts, you'll probably appreciate the fact that Romero does have some meat mixed with the gristle. For one thing, this low budget movie looks good. Romero has a burning gate, bush, or hedge in practically every shot, and really pours on the smoke. Heck, even the explosions are impressively realistic. I don't know if this was filmed in Intramuros, but I suspect so. The cameras are out in the field, anyway. And Romero skillfully blends in documentary footage with his own. Unfortunately, Romero doesn't make that last, full force raid into the city anything special. It's just more of the same old same old - the good guys running from cover to cover, shooting at the bad guys every now and then. But, it is shot on location, tells a seldom told tale, and expresses some of the tensions and frustrations that existed between the Filipinos and Americans during the war. THE WALLS OF HELL might be a bad movie about the war in the Philippines, but there aren't any good ones to compare it to. Certainly none told from the Philippine point of view. If it isn't a good movie, it's an interesting enough curiosity.