Bede and I just watched this war film and I was kind of surprised how this film was overlooked, never mind the critics, but by the Pinoys themselves.
The story was about how a group of US Army soldiers led by Benjamin Bratt and James Franco, together with a group of Filipino guerillas led by Cesar Montano, rescued 511 American POWs from a Japanese camp in Cabanatuan.
I guess I’m surprised the film was overlooked, not because it was an elaborate award-winning production, but how the Filipinos seem to easily forget our own country’s history. I mean looking at the guerillas I was so proud of them, thinking that any one of the Filipino fighters could have been my lolo, or your lolo. Cesar Montano also did a GREAT job, holding his own in scenes with the American actors. Shempre pogi at pinoy na pinoy ang beauty. 🙂
I’m really glad that this movie was made, even if the critics hated it, and it probably bombed in the box office. But as a Filipino, with a lot of war veteran lolos, I got a glimpse of what their life could have been like, fighting the Japanese in their tsinelas or even barefoot, alongside (maybe even in the frontline of?) the American soldiers. The Filipino veterans truly truly deserve to be rewarded for what they have done to save our small country.
You know at the end of the film, there was the usual what-happened-after text on screen. And it said that during the raid, 2 American soldiers lost their lives, and 21, that’s twenty-one, Filipino guerillas died.
Lolo Juaning Tejada – my grand uncle, Bataan death march survivor
Lolo Celin Tejada – my grandfather, who according to my mom, acted as an interpreter for a Captain Puckett stationed in Iloilo
Lolo Cesar Singson – my grand uncle who just celebrated his 88th(?) birthday, used to tell my father stories about fighting the Japanese, firing a rifle with his eyes closed 🙂