Entertainment: +4
Acceptability: -3

In war, taking the advantage from the enemy sometimes requires a high level of creativity. Such a need existed in the Pacific theater during World War II as the Japanese repeatedly broke the communication code of the U.S. armed forces. This resulted in the Americans having an agonizingly slow and brutal march across the Pacific islands toward Japan. A spark of ingenuity brought several hundred Navaho tribesmen into the fray with their unique language which was introduced as an indecipherable new code. This move stymied the Japanese for the duration of the war. Battle-hardened Sergeant Joe Enders (Nicholas Cage) is assigned to protect code-talker Ben Yahzee (Adam Beach), the Marines newest secret weapon, while Yahzees friend and counterpart, Private Charlie Whitehorse (Roger Willie), is protected by Sergeant Peter Ox Anderson (Christian Slater). As the Navahos bravery gains them respect from even the most prejudiced white soldiers, the defining moment comes in the horrific battle of Saipan when their capture is likely. Enders is forced to decide that if he cant protect his fellow marine, can he kill him to protect the code?

Sandwiched between the movies beginning and ending of beautiful misty scenes from Monument Valley, Arizona, stirred with haunting strains from an Indian flute, is yet another contemporary war movie which seems mostly interested in shouting at us that "war is hell." And it hammers the point with such overwhelming ferocity that an otherwise good story, which this code-talker tale is, surrenders. Short moments of character interaction flimsily supported by boiler-plate dialogue pale next to long stretches of soldiers being mowed down, burned up, blown apart, and decapitated. Private Yahzee gains the respect and friendship of Sergeant Enders while Private Whitehorse becomes friends with his guardian Sergeant Anderson and even plays a flute and harmonica duet with him. Whitehorse saves the life of the most racist of their comrades while Yahzee bravely accompanies Enders into a Japanese stronghold to commandeer their radio after theirs is destroyed. Enders receives a battlefield decoration for his bravery, while Yahzee is passed over by the awarding officer who refers to him with a slight moment of condescending thanks to the Indian. WINDTALKERS is a wonderful and true story but, as a whole, is cursed with too many curses, graphic explosions and war violence, and lame dialogue.

Preview Reviewer: Ed Crumley
Distributor: MGM Pictures, 2500 Broadway St., Santa Monica, CA 90404

Crude Language: Many (39) times - Mild 18, moderate 21
Obscene Language: Many (37) times - F-word 10, s-word 25, other 2
Profanity: Few (9) times - Regular (GD 7, JC, J)
Violence: Many times - Moderate and Severe (Many soldiers shot, blown up, or wounded at close range, battlefield wounds gushing blood, head chopped off, men shot in head, throat cut with knife, men on fire)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Men smoking, learning to smoke
Other: Enders sends his own battlefield decoration for bravery to dead soldiers widow; Yahzee includes wife and son in ceremony of remembrance for Enders; Navahos pray to gods for help in battle, Native American smoke rituals used for healing
Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Mature teens and adults

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