In the brutal World War II Battle of Saipan, Sergeant Joe Enders (Academy AwardÂ(r) winner*Nicolas Cage) guardsand ultimately befriendsBen Yahzee (Adam Beach), a young Navajo trained in the one wartime code never broken by... more » the enemy, the Navajo Code. But if Yahzee should fall into Japanese hands, how far will Enders go to save the military's most powerful secret? John Woodirects this "exciting" (Premiere),« less
Bullets flying, bodies flying. yes, it's a John Woo film
W. K. Miller | NC, USA | 06/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Windtalkers is the story of two American soldiers (one played by Christian Slater, the other played by Nic Cage) who are assigned to protect two Navajo soldiers who work as windtalkers, transmitting messages past Japanese codebreakers using their code based on Navajo language.Yes, there's a lot of violence. Yes, it's grim. The bodyguards, Cage and Slater, are instructed to kill the windtalkers rather than let them fall into enemy hands. This is a big war movie, not quite on the scale of Saving Private Ryan, but somewhere between something that grand and magnificent and, say, Behind Enemy Lines. Cage and Slater do a good job with their parts, which aren't very fully fleshed out characters. Woo's direction used to be so over-the-top and artsy... the fight scenes used to be like cartoons, with bad guy and good guy blazing away at each other with two pistols... the most violent scenes were often preceded by or accompanying flocks of birds taking to flight, and bullet-riddled bodies always seem to pirouet in slow motion before they fall down dead. Woo has left a lot of the old personal director's style out of this one, actually. There ARE a lot of bullets, and a lot of the fighting scenes are very unrealistic (true to old Woo there), and there is one scene very reminiscent of old John Woo, where a butterfly floats gracefully above a river then suddenly a bloody body falls into that river, destroying the gorgeous image, juxtaposing a graceful natural image with a gory violent one, etc.ANYWAY, mostly this is a shoot 'em up war movie, and the old John Woo style is MOSTLY absent. The story has that one feature going for it, the protection of the Navajo codetalkers, but otherwise it's a very standard war movie, in terms of plot. Still, this movie comes off surprisingly well.If you're a fan of the American John Woo movies, like Broken Arrow, or Mission Impossible II or Face/Off, or you liked some movies recently like Black Hawk Down or Behind Enemy Lines, you ought to take a look at Windtalkers. It's not the best war movie of the last few years (I'd vote for Saving Private Ryan for that), or the best action movie, but it is entertaining and memorable..."
Who was the movie more focused on?
M. J. Marin | Oakland, CA USA | 06/27/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"As a nephew of a Navajo Code Talker, I would like to express my thoughts on WINDTALKERS.
First of all, if the focus of a Navajo Code Talker movie is supposed to focus on the Navajo Code Talkers and their involvement in WWII, why is the movie centered around Nicolas Cage's character while Adam Beach and Roger Willie play supporting roles?
Second, since a lot of folks are not informed about this part of WWII history, wouldn't it have been a much better movie if they showed the origin of the Code Talkers before they faced the horrors of war in the Pacific Theatre?
My uncle stood proud among the surviving Code Talkers as they were recently honored for their service in the Pacific. (note: at the beginning of the movie, he is the elder in the hat that talks to Yahzzie before he gets on the bus. He also served as technical consultant.) I'm sure after seeing the movie and having survived WWII, I doubt he enjoyed seeing the Code Talkers' back-burner depiction in the film.
Nice "action" movie, though."
Never rises above war movie formula in spite of good acting
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 08/11/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Starring Nicolas Cage and Christian Slater, this is a WW2 film about two marines assigned to protect two Navajo marines who use their native language as a code. Adam Beach and Roger Willie, who are actually two Canadian Indians, play the roles of the Navajos. It seems like an interesting twist on a formula war film. And it certainly is. But the film never does rise above the formula in spite of excellent acting. John Woo, who's known for special effects, directs it. This makes for great battle scenes that are easy to follow. It spite of all the gunfire and hand grenade explosions, we always know where the central characters are. The real story, however, is about the hard choices that Nicholas Cage has to make. He's a fine actor and he does it well. But isn't this film supposed to be about the Navajos? Why then, did the film focus on the white actors? The plot seemed implausible also. Two Navajos were assigned to one small unit in the Solomon Islands. As the Japanese are dug in there, they wouldn't have needed to speak in code to call airpower to the big guns. It was obvious from the start that this was a Hollywood version of what could have been a really fine film. There were so many inauthentic touches throughout that I found myself somewhat amused. The film did move quickly, however, and it did hold my interest. But so what? If the story seems wrong, the finest acting can't save it. Therefore, in spite of Nicholas Cage being one of my favorite actors, I can't recommend this film."
WWII: John Woo-Style
G. Andersson | New York, USA | 04/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sure, it's overly melodramatic, and at times historically inaccurate, but if you've ever wanted to see John Woo try his hand at making an epic war film, this film is probably what you would have imagined. Woo reteams with Nicolas Cage and Christian Slater to bring you the story of Navajo American Indians who became code talkers for the United States during the battles in the Pacific. If this DVD is what I think it is, then it is Sony re-releasing a single-disc edition of the Director's Cut that was found on the 3-disc set released by MGM in 2003. Unlike many other "new cuts" released by studios, which incorporate only a few minutes of new footage, the Windtalkers Director's Cut includes 20 more minutes of footage, including scenes that beef up the relationship between Nicolas Cage and Frances O'Connor's characters. This is a much-needed addition, as their relationship in the theatrical version felt underdeveloped. Overall, I think Windtalkers is a triumph for John Woo. While it surely won't be regarded as his best work, there is definitely an audience for this action-packed war story of courage and honor."
Linda Linguvic | 10/23/2002
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the biggest waste of film I have ever watched. The acting is horrible. The action is boring, repetitive, senseless. The plot and dialogue are thin. The characters are one dimensional. The movie is predictable. Go outside, take a walk, play with your kids, ... Any activity is a better use of your time."