Only the Brave (DVD Review)5 Nov, 2009 By: John Latchem
Rated ‘R’ for some war violence and disturbing images.
Stars Lane Nishikawa, Jason Scott Lee, Mark Dacascos, Jeff Fahey, Tamilyn Tomita, Pat Morita.
Most people associate the Japanese-American experience of World War II with internment camps. But thousands of these loyal citizens volunteered for military service.
The 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team was a segregated unit consisting entirely of Japanese-American soldiers who fought in Europe. During the course of the war, they became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history.
Only the Brave pays tribute to these soldiers with a fictionalized account of a real battle that took place in France in October 1944. The 442nd took heavy casualties to rescue a battalion of troops from Texas that became trapped by German forces.
The film devotes a good deal of footage to some brutal combat scenes but also uses flashbacks to tell the stories of some of the soldiers, revealing the faces of a group of men willing to die for a country they loved despite the institutionalized prejudice that prevailed at the time.
The 2006 film was written and directed by Lane Nishikawa, who also stars as Jimmy Takata, one of the leaders of the 442nd. The late Pat Morita has a touching cameo as Jimmy’s father.
Jeff Fahey, most recently seen on “Lost,” plays the leader of the lost battalion, one of many soldiers who quickly comes to realize that one’s patriotism is not determined by the color of their skin, but by the tenor of their heart.