Review: Only the Brave

August 22, 2010

Directed by Lane Nishikawa

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.

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Sylvie Kim

contributing editor & blogger

Sylvie Kim is a contributing editor at Hyphen. She previously served as Hyphen's blog coeditor with erin Khue Ninh, film editor, and blog columnist.

She writes about gender, race, class and privilege in pop culture and media (fun fun fun!) at and at SF Weekly's The Exhibitionist blog. Her work has also appeared on Racialicious and Salon.