Lane Nishikawa writes, directs and stars in this feature-length dramatization of the Asian American (but primarily Japanese American) 442nd Infantry who fought in North Africa, Italy and France during World War II despite the internment of Japanese Americans. Co-stars include notable Asian American actors such as Jason Scott Lee, Tamlyn Tomita, Mark Dacascos and the late Pat Morita. Content-wise, the film provides a rich account of the experiences and accomplishments of Asian American soldiers as well as their lives pre- and post-war. However, the slow pacing of the film (opening with an extended voiceover monologue) and the tendency toward the melodramatic put a polished finish on a gritty topic and a moment in history. Brief moments of candor such as the soldiers shooting the breeze at night in their sleeping quarters make us yearn for more of a nuanced perspective into the lives of these men rather than a historical celebration that seems more appropriate for classrooms than personal viewing. DVD extras include behind-the-scenes footage and the film’s trailer.
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!