3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Mexican Historical Epic.,
This review is from: The Battle [DVD] (DVD)
Originally released as `Cinco de Mayo, La Battala', this is a bold attempt to tell the story of a part of Mexico's struggle for independence. After Mexico's President Juarez suspended interest payments on loans received from Europe, the European powers decided a little gun boat diplomacy was the order of the day. So an alliance between Britain, Spain and the second French Empire took off and demanded their cash. Once the parlous state of Mexico was revealed Britain and Spain got an agreement and left. The French though had other ideas and decided to join up with the conservative forces and take the country back.
Then after the scene setting most of the film is all about the Battle of Puebla where the Republic made a spirited defence and took on the modern French and gave them a good kicking on the 5th May - hence the title. The story is told through the lives of some of the players firstly Mexico's gifted General Ignacio Zaragosa (Kuno Becker - `CSI Miami') and one of his soldiers Juan and his love interest Citali. This is a no holds barred action fest. The period detail is really good but some of the battle scenes do employ the handycam shake approach - which adds to the immediacy. There is plenty of blood and the action looks and feels very authentic. There is a cast of thousands too which is great for battles no CGI armies. It is very well directed, the actors all do a great job and the story is a rip roarin ride that will have you crying `Viva Mehico!' before the end credits roll.
The down side is for history fans - this film portrays the Battle of Puebla as some sort of decisive victory where colonial France got a royal thrashing and ran away. This was actually the first in a long line of battles that lasted till 1867 some six years later. It is unashamedly patriotic and overstates the entire Mexican cause in a deliberately misleading way. However, I really enjoyed the whole two hours - it is in Spanish, French and a couple of lines in English. The sub titles are good too, if you want a history lesson then don't go near this; if you want a costume based action fest then this will tick your boxes.