Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Obsessed with authenticity, the movie simply isn't 'Hollywood' enough. What could have been a valuable history lesson for everyone is just more fodder for military buffs.
The action is brilliant, the combat sharp and rattling, and the film follows the historical record more closely than most Hollywood films.
Dahl's approach may be somewhat pedestrian, but he tells his story clearly and with few unnecessary detours.
San Francisco Chronicle:
The story line is telegraphed from word one and the meticulous unfolding plot plods ahead inexorably without the slightest bit of suspense.
Ebert & Roeper:
Director John Dahl has fashioned a worthy tribute to the soldiers who carried out this seemingly impossible raid.
Although the story of The Great Raid may have never been told on film, it's like every other POW movie, in this case made about 45 years too late.
Los Angeles Times:
Divided three ways among the rangers, the prisoners and the resistance fighters in Manila, the movie feels unfocused, schematic and overpopulated.
A WWII movie so parched, so Reader's Digest expository, so utterly expressionless, it confuses taciturn Greatest Generation nobility with paralysis.
It has dreams of sugarplum Oscars dancing in its head, and never stops mistaking spectacle for the truly spectacular.
Represents another step in the depersonalization of John Dahl.
Dahl gets it half-right, and completely wrong. In studio fashion, he adds a composite character and a love story, which the story really doesn't require. In indie tradition, he refuses to cast any stars -- which the picture desperately needs.
New York Times:
A tedious World War II epic that slogs across the screen like a forced march in quicksand.
Unfortunately, although John Dahl's film may have the length one normally expects from a war film with an ambitious trajectory, it lacks focus and the pacing is uneven.
Globe and Mail:
The picture's broad outline may be fact, but everything inside gets painted in a deep shade of bogus.
Feels less like a rousing action adventure than a military-sponsored lesson in invincible patriotic payback.
Just about any golden age Hollywood hack could have made a zestier drama about one of the greatest rescue missions in U.S. military history.
This overlong march will bore all but the most nobly patriotic of auds.
Acting like a big-screen epic but coming across more like a cable TV extravaganza.
While one might have wished for a better movie, and a few smarter decisions regarding the screenplay, generally it's a riveting, even inspirational account of an American feat of arms about which few know but about which many more should.