Attack Force Z (1981)

  • Year: 1981
  • Released: 01 Jun 1982
  • Country: Australia, Taiwan
  • Adwords: N/A
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: English, Japanese, Mandarin
  • MPA Rating: Not Rated
  • Genre: Action, Drama, History
  • Runtime: 84 min
  • Writer: Roger Marshall
  • Director: Tim Burstall
  • Cast: John Phillip Law, Mel Gibson, Sam Neill
  • Keywords: mission, submarine, world war ii, airplane crash, commando, pacific theater,
33% – Critics
33% – Audience

Attack Force Z Photos

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Englishsubtitle Attack.Force.Z.1981.720p.BluRay.H264.AAC-RARBG
Spanishsubtitle Attack.Force.Z.1981.720p.BluRay.H264.AAC-RARBG

Attack Force Z Movie Reviews


Continuing my plan to watch every Mel Gibson movie in order I come to Attack Force Z from 1981.

Plot In A Paragraph: A group of commandos go on a secret mission to check for survivors of a plane crash.

By the numbers, cliché ridden, dull, flat and instantly forgettable. There are some good individual performances, but the film, though produced with efficiency and what looks like a decent budget, is tough to say great things about this movie.

It probably wasn’t helped by my DVD having a poor transfer. I’d go so far as to say if Mel Gibson and Sam Neil weren’t in this movie it probably would have even had a DVD released.

Low budget “commandos” flick

ATTACK FORCE Z is the only Aussie war movie I’ve seen yet besides RETURN FROM THE RIVER KWAI. It’s fast-paced, fun, cheesy and plenty entertaining.

Jon Phillip Law (DEATH RIDES A HORSE) stars as an Allied commando who leads 4 international commandos to rescue a Japanese defector from a Japanese-infested island in the Pacific.

The movie features a lot of familiar plot elements, and strongly resembles the earlier American features AMBUSH BAY and BEACHHEAD. Only here, the movie is based on fact; a similar mission involving the “Z” Special Forces team was actually undertaken in the Pacific. The cast features a lot of young actors who were unknown at the time, including Mel Gibson (WE WERE SOLDIERS) as the team leader and Sam Neill as the radio operator.

The movie is obviously pretty low budget, as the action scenes involve few extras and are mostly skirmishes between the 5 commandos and Japanese patrols. There’s some great martial arts action as a Chinese commando judo-chops dozens of Japanese soldiers to their deaths. The final battle scene, in which a handful of Chinese resistance fighters hold off at least a few dozen Japanese soldiers with shotguns is corny, as the Japanese always charge right into oncoming fire and never attempt a flanking movement. One resistance fighter stands in the alley blasting away with a shotgun, only dying once he’s taken 6+ direct hits and grenade fragments. The Japanese soldiers look and act like idiots and use American machineguns, and the Aussies have M3 machine-pistols with silencers that never run out of ammo and never miss — but what the heck, it’s pretty entertaining and logic-free entertainment.

The musical score is great patriotic stuff by Eric Jupp, and the cinematography is pretty stunning. The Taiwanese crew does a great job with the little budget they had.

The version shown on TNT and TBS once in a very great while is of good quality. Unfortunately, there were some scenes in Japanese and others in Chinese which lacked subtitles. The closed captions weren’t much help either as they read, “Speaking in Oriental Language”. I haven’t seen the NTSC video yet because it’s far too expensive for my taste.

All in all, this really isn’t the best war film out there. The action scenes bring the worst excesses to WINDTALKERS to mind as they’re excellently photographed by defy all logic known to man. Still, the pace is fast, the characters good and the scenery is stunning. I give this a 6/10.

War…What is it good for?

I presume that this movie was meant to be a tribute for the Australasian special forces operating in WW2. Now, I’ve no doubt that they were totally professional and highly trained individuals, I just don’t think this movie did them too many favours. They made so many tactical errors and decisions based on emotion that I’m quite sure in real life, thy wouldn’t have made. Individuals leaving their unit as they’d fallen for a girl! Sorry, but it just wouldn’t have happened with so much at stake. On the positive side, this had a great cast and terrific authentic locations. The action sequences were well done and the torture scenes particularly harrowing. But at the end of the movie, I just sat there thinking, what were they really fighting for and was it all necessary? So many lives taken without a second thought and for what? Not a classic, but thought provoking which in my book, is never bad.