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The Raiders of Leyte Gulf1963

  • 3.2
This rugged location-shot war actioner dramatizes events leading up to one of the key Pacific battles between Allied and Japanese forces. U.S. Army intelligence officer Major Wilson (played by Jennings Sturgeon, an expat painter, actor and former U.S. military officer who died the year after making this film) is captured by Nippon forces and handed over Captain Akira (Efren Reyes) on Philippines island Leyte during the Japanese occupation. He's tortured (via techniques including some in controversial recent use during the "war on terror") but refuses to spill what he knows. Nonetheless, rescuing him is a high priority, one that American Lt. Grimm (Michael Parsons) attempts to fulfill in guerilla missions alongside local rebels (one of whom is portrayed by Eddie Mesa, a popular local rock star then known as the "Elvis Presley of the Philippines," later starring in movies like LETSGO HIPPIE and OPERATION: DISCOTHEQUE). Meanwhile, General MacArthur gears up to make good on his "I shall return" promise to Filipinos: the battle (or rather several battles) of Leyte Gulf that occurred in late October 1944 comprised the largest naval engagement of WWII (perhaps even of all time). It was an important turning point toward Japan's eventual defeat. Working here in the middle of a long career, director Eddie Romero went on to make some of the country's most beloved exploitation exports, including MAD DOCTOR OF BLOOD ISLAND and BLACK MAMA, WHITE MAMA. - Dennis Harvey

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