Only the Brave


Drama / War

Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 50%
IMDb Rating 5.3 10 869

Plot summary

October 07, 2022 at 10:52 PM


Lane Nishikawa

Top cast

Yuji Okumoto as Sgt. Yukio 'Yuk' Nakajo
Tamlyn Tomita as Mary Takata
Pat Morita as Seigo Takata
Mark Dacascos as Sgt. Steve 'Zaki' Senzaki
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
921.68 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 40 min
P/S ...
1.85 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 40 min
P/S ...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by BradBate 7 / 10

A worthy, craftsman-like tribute to the Japanese-American heroes of WWII.

Historians at the Army Center for Military History in Washington struggled for words to describe what happened. It was October 30, 1944. Members of the segregated Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team, "cold, wet, weary and battle-scarred," rescued 211 Texas National Guardsmen who were surrounded by German forces in the foggy, wooded Vosges Mountains near Bruyeres, France. The First Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment had been cut off from food, ammunition, communications and hope for a week. The 442nd, comprised of Nisei (a person born in America of parents who emigrated from Japan) from Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States was ordered in when two other battalions of the 141st had been repelled repeatedly by the enemy. After three days of devastating battle, nearly half the Japanese-American troops were dead or wounded and the "Lost Battalion" was still trapped.

"Then, something happened in the 442nd," according to the military historians. "By ones and twos, almost spontaneously and without orders, the men got to their feet and, with a kind of universal anger, moved toward the enemy position. Bitter hand-to-hand combat ensued as the Americans fought from one fortified position to the next. Finally, the enemy broke in disorder." It is this story that is at the heart of "Only the Brave," Writer/Director Lane Nishikawa's very personal film of uncommon courage, misguided prejudice and family love now playing at the Hawaii International Film Festival. It is Nishikawa's final film in a trilogy ("Sound of a Voice," 2003; "Forgotten Valor," 2001) dealing with the experience of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War. The multi-talented auteur, who has performed in a number of films but is best known as a stage actor and director, had four uncles and other extended family members who served in the 442nd or the earlier 100th Infantry Battalion (formed as the Hawaiian Provisional Battalion).

Instead of taking the wide-angle battle scene approach of a Wolfgang Peterson ("Troy"), Ridley Scott ("Kingdom of Heaven"), Oliver Stone ("Alexander') or even Steven Spielberg ("Saving Private Ryan"), Nishikawa has narrowed his focus to the points of view of his own small "band of brothers." Included in that number are Sergeant Jimmy Takata, played with grace and wisdom by the director, Glenn "Tak" Takase (Jason Scott Lee), Richard "Doc" Naganuma (Ken Narasaki), Steve "Zaki" Senzaki (Mark Dacascos), Yukio "Yuk" Nakajo (Yugi Okumoto) and Richard "Hilo" Imamura (Garett Sato). These are men who cannot see beyond their own 30mm eyes, the trees, darkness and fog that surround them, and the flares of machine guns and bursts of grenades that pound relentlessly. "Up close and personal" sounds a little trite, but that's what we get. Nishikawa shows us war just the way a soldier sees war.

He also shows us, through flashbacks, the personal side of the war on the home front. "Doc" Naganuma's wife and baby awaiting his return in an internment camp where 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry (70,000 of whom were native-born United States citizens) sat out the war in conditions not much better than POWs. Mary Takata's (Tamlyn Tomita) struggle to reach her shell-shock husband after the peace. The mothers and fathers, wives and children whose one consolation was that their soldier-loved ones were among friends. (The dialogue is realistically grounded in the Pidgin English common to Hawaii-born people, and the banter between the soldiers sounds like something you would hear among a group of guys having a beer after work in a Wahiawa, Hawaii tavern.) The film is not without its flaws, some of them a function of the production's limited budget. It is in desperate need of a stronger score, powerfully executed with a more dynamic sound design. I saw a digital projection that needed sophisticated color correction; that can come when film prints are ultimately struck. I wish Nishikawa could re-shoot some of his early battle scenes. They are stiff and dated in their appearance as opposed to his footage later in the film when he had a stronger sense of self-confidence in getting the camera off its tripod and moving with it in a more documentary style. Watching your own dailies can be a major growing experience.

But it is a powerful and sensitive piece of work that should be seen by far more than just the California school kids who use the director's earlier films as part of their history curriculum.

Those of us who live in Hawaii understand the context of this film. Our neighbors include survivors of the 100th/442 RCB, their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. In Hawaii, where the war began for America, these men are revered. School kids can tell you of their exploits. Senator Daniel K. Inouye is recognized as much for his Congressional Medal of Honor as for his 46 years in the Congress. Sergeant Inouye was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions in the "Lost Battalion" campaign, lost ten pounds and gained a battlefield commission. Later, back in Italy, his heroism earned him one of 20 Medals of Honor conferred on 100/442 soldiers.

There should be no more respected a group of senior citizens in America than the veterans of the "Purple Heart Battalion." In eight major campaigns, they were also awarded seven Presidential Unit Citations and 18,143 individual decorations (no, that is not a typographical error; 18,143 individual medals), including 52 Distinguished Service Crosses. In that number, of course, were 9,486 Purple Hearts, for that was the total of the injuries they suffered in combat.

This is not the first film focused on the 100th/442 RCB. Van Johnson starred in 1951's "Go For Broke," a filmed titled after the motto of the battalion. In it he played Lt. Mike Grayson, who trained a Nisei platoon. The black and white film was heavily focused on Grayson, who loses his prejudices when he sees how the Japanese Americans fight in combat.

Reviewed by jvdesuit1 7 / 10

An excellent movie stressing an event little known by the public

I've read the negative reviews and the conclusion I draw from them is that their authors obviously refuse to look at the real purpose of the script.

The easy way to look at this movie is to see the courage and determination of those guys to save the Texas battalion from complete destruction. But is it really the point the script writer and the director wanted to stress out?

My answer is no. From my perspective as a French citizen this movie deals from the first image to the last about tolerance, respect of the one who is different from you . The USA after the shock of Pearl Harbor took measures totally inexcusable against citizens born in the country and treated like prisoners of war. In the Army those who nevertheless volunteered to join the allied forces, were like their fellow black compatriots , subject to racist behavior of the white soldiers.

The problem is that the bullet which kills you doesn't care if you're white, black or your skin yellow. The result is for all the same. Loss of life, grief of your companions on the battlefield and in the families and friends far away. For both groups fear is the same. For both groups you try to connect with some unreachable element which you call god with different names and which reassures you and gives you courage.

That's what this movie is all about. Perhaps some of the flashbacks could have been suppressed, but all in all the script is well constructed and the acting very convincing and many times very moving.

Reviewed by narasaki9 10 / 10


This is a terrific film and tribute to an unbelievable group of soldiers and just one of their amazing accomplishments. With all the renewed interest in World War II as this generation of men begin to pass from the scene, I can't believe there haven't been more films about the little- known exploits of this all-Japanese American 442nd RCT. As of this writing, this film has mainly been on the film festival circuit - I can't believe this was a low-budget, independent film - a period piece, and a war picture, to boot. A great cast, including such Asian American luminaries like Jason Scott Lee, Mark Dacascos, Tamlyn Tomita, Pat Morita (maybe his last performance), and others, along with a scrupulous attention to detail - weapons, uniforms, etc. - make this a stand-out film. The script's basic theme - that each of these men were more than just soldiers, they each had families, loved ones, reasons to live - magnify the tragedy of each death, so this film not only honors and glorifies these men's accomplishments, it also serves as a meditation on the true cost of war. Hope this sparks many, many more films about these guys!

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1 Comment

sheelarfung profile
sheelarfung October 07, 2022 at 09:49 pm

Please get the 1080p of this. Thank you!