the hidden soldier
Director: billie august (the house of the spirits, pelle the conqueror )
starring: Emile Hirsch, Liu Yifei, Fangcong Li, Kevin Yan
REVIEWER: lyall carter
Following a retaliatory air strike on Tokyo after Japanese forces bomb Pearl Harbor, an Air Force commander makes an emergency landing in China, where he is given shelter by a local widow.
The Hidden Soldier has had a couple of different title names depending on what territory its released in and has taken a while to get to our shores. But its worth the wait as The Hidden Soldier is a solid if not formulaic WWII epic.
Following a bombing raid on Tokyo a young American pilot, Jack, crash lands in China’s Zhejiang province. There he is saved by a young local widow named Ying, who risks her life to hide the injured American pilot in her house and nurse him back to health. Despite not being able to communicate verbally, they fell for each other as the Japanese armed forces close in.
Narratively The Hidden Soldier is a reasonably formulaic, but solid WWII film yet its the execution and the uniqueness of the story that begs for it to be watched.
Based on the real events of the Doolittle bombing party of Tokyo in retaliation for Pearl Harbour, The Hidden Soldier gives us a previously unknown story of the airforce bombing teams who's planes were downed as they sought to escape the Japanese. Its a truly intriguing story and a part of history that has quite clearly been forgotten.
The film is at its best in the interpersonal relationships on the ground than it is up in the air, where the films CGI budget is quite obviously spread very thin. But dodgy CGI aside its a great little movie.
In the West Emilie Hirsch is billed as the lead and he is solid, but not really that present in the first half of the film due to being 1. hid away from the Japanese squadron hunting him 2. being really badly injured.
Yifei Liu, the young Chinese widow who takes Jack in to hide and care for him, is more of the lead protagonist in this film. Which is intriguing to observe since she will be in the lead role of Disney's 2020 live action remake of Mulan. She delivers a wonderful, captivating performance filled to the brim with an earnest, courage. You can quite clearly see why the Disney execs chose her for the role of Mulan.
Aside from some dodgy CGI, The Hidden Soldier is a solid WWII epic covering a long lost moment in history.