Kokoda: 39th Battalion

2006

Action / Drama / War

7
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 71%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 55%
IMDb Rating 6.2 10 2602

Synopsis


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by llareggub 8 / 10

Competition improves the genre

Kokoda is not perfect. Nor is Beneath Hill 60. What they share is being 21st century Australian war movies. With a miniscule budget, both crafted a realistic but reverent portrait of accidental heroes on strange Queensland sets, Tamborine and Townsville respectively. Malick did an overblown Hollywood $50million extravaganza in Mossman a couple of years beforehand, proving all war is pointless. Sorry, Terrence, but you are dead wrong. Civilisation is worth protecting. I had no idea this was Alister Grierson's first outing. It seems so much more accomplished. There is a script waiting for you- Peter Ryan's "Fear Drive My Feet".

Reviewed by dheaver1 8 / 10

Not quite right historically??

I'm a bit confused..... The alternative title to the movie, released as a steel-book is 38th Battalion, Kokoda The 38 the battalion, according to Wikipedia, never served in PNG, in fact, only served on the Australian mainland!This may be a mistake, by the makers of the steel-book edition, but you would think they'd have got it correct, in order to stay historically correct. I found it to be quite a good movie, however some of the night time scenes were hard to view. This is, of course, a problem with any movie, and lack of funds probably added to this problem. All in all, not too bad, but with this being such a part of Australia's history, you would hope someone else re-makes it, sometime.

Reviewed by gordonl56 8 / 10

The Lost Patrol, Australian style

KOKODA 2006

This Australian war film is about a small group of Australian soldiers during the Kokoda Track campaign of 1942. The men, part of the Australian 39th Battalion are sent deep into the mountains of New Guinea to try and stop the Japanese from reaching Port Moresby. The Japanese had landed a large force on the far side of the island, and are crossing over the Owen Stanley Range to take Port Moresby.

Most of the Australian Army was fighting in North Africa, or had been lost in the fight for Singapore and the Dutch East Indies. The 39th was one of the few units available. It consisted mostly of untrained militia and soldiers considered unfit for combat.

The film starts with a section of men assigned to a forward post on the Kokoda Track. Their job is to warn the main body of the troops if the Japanese show. The Japanese do show, and quickly flank the group. The survivors hot foot it into the jungle to escape. The half dozen men left now need to attempt to reach their own lines.

The men quickly run out of food and fresh water. Most have malaria and are suffering from dysentery. They move on the best they can trying to avoid Japanese patrols. One by one the group is reduced from clashes with the opposing forces. One man is wounded and wanders off into the jungle to die. Another is shot up and left in an old native hut.

Several days later, two of the men, starving and exhausted, manage to hook up with some Regular Australian Army units. The Regulars have just reached the area, and are having their own problems with the Japanese. Fighting in the open North African desert, is not the same as the dense humid jungle.

The militiamen soon find themselves back in the fight as the Japanese launch a big attack. The attack fails, but the undermanned Aussies still need to fall back. Another of the men is killed, but the man left at the native hut has been brought in by several natives.

The slow retreat continues almost to Port Moresby. The Japanese though have shot their bolt. They are now at the long end of a supply line. They are recalled back to the other side of the mountains. The long battle now continues back over the mountains in pursuit of the Japanese. The 39th though, what is left of them, are withdrawn.

The cast is made up of, Ben Barrack, Simon Stone, Ewen Leslie, Christopher Baker, Travis McMahon, and Jack Finsterer, Luke Ford and Steve Le Marquand.

First time feature film director, Alister Grierson, deserves full marks here. This is one nasty, brutal, war film.

The cinematography by Jules O'Loughlin is simply fantastic, showing the viewer just how claustrophobic jungle warfare was. The Japanese are seldom shown except as shadows through the dense undergrowth. Most of the time they are right on top of the Aussies before they are seen. O'Loughlin was nominated for best cinematography by various Australian cinema award venues.

All in all, this is a very good war film.

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