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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
16
4.1 out of 5 stars
Return from the River Kwai [DVD] (1989)
Format: DVD|Change
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on 3 March 2017
It was a toss up between three stars or four stars. I'm feeling generous, so it is four stars. The David Lean epic Bridge over the River Kwai might be pure tosh, and Return from the River Kwai supposedly based on a true story, but David Lean's epic is much more entertaining. Besides, I have to wonder how much this film really is based on true events. Did a United States POW airman really manage to steal a Japanese plane? Was there really a POW revolt on board a Japanese Hellship? It is strange how such outstanding achievements haven't made the history books ... or at least I've not come across them. I thought that this film was more mid 1970s than 1980s. Somehow it did not seem to me to belong in the era of such titans as Alien, Terminator, Die Hard, and the more modern Japanese POW / Internee films like Paradise Road and The Railway Man are much better.
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on 23 November 2017
good as new and came on time
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 November 2008
When it played originally in the UK, Return From the River Kwai carried a legal disclaimer that the film was in no way related to or a sequel to The Bridge On the River Kwai, to which the only response is "No s***, Sherlock." Where Lean had Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins and Sessue Hayakawa, Andrew V. McLaglen has to make do with Edward Fox, Christopher Penn, Denholm Elliott and George Takei, which should tip you off what to expect. It has a good enough true story to tell - no bridge building this time, but the eventful journey of Allied P.O.W.s being sent to Japan as forced labor as the war neared its end - but while bridges and ships are blown up, planes crash and there are hundreds of extras, it all has a perfunctory feel to it and a lack of vision. Sargon Tamimi and Paul Mayersberg's script tends to be surprisingly repetitive too. It's the kind of film where a character says "We're coming into Phnom Penh," followed by a shot of a train passing a sign reading `Phnom Penh, followed by another character saying "We can't stay long in Phnom Penh," just in case anyone missed the fact that they're in Phnom Pen...

While Fawxx reigns in his self-parodic tendencies for once without ever being particularly good, Elliot is especially disastrously miscast as a commando leading local guerrilla forces. Blinking wildly every time he fires a gun, it's like someone hired the local vicar to play Rambo in the village fete. The Japanese characters naturally come off worse. Tatsuta Nakadai's alcoholic commander fares well enough in his few Japanese scenes but his inability to speak English results in him awkwardly delivering many of his lines in clumsy phonetic Ing-leesh, though he's easily outdone by Takei's abysmal pantomime villain performance as his sadistic second in command that's straight out of a bad WW2 propaganda film (as is Lalo Schifrin's heavy-handed score). While it all plays rather better on the small screen than it did on the big one, it's one of those films you really don't need to see. Shot with one eye firmly on the late 80s video market boom and never released in the US in any form, it's no surprise that this DVD ended up being given away free with a UK newspaper.
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on 28 October 2010
I was given this film from a neighbour and had some reseverations about it. These reservations were then re-enforced by the negative feedback on here; but I thought "what the heck, it was given to me as an unwanted gift, so I'll give it a go - nothing to lose".

Well, I am so glad I did. Both my wife and I were drawn in right from the start. Unlike "The Bridge on the River Kwai", which is a fictionalised story based on the events of the time, albeit, an excellent story; this film is based on the *true* events following on from that dreadful time. So as not to spoil the film, I will only give an outline of it. The film follows the British and Australian POWs, as they are transported by the Japanese, first by rail in goods wagons and then onto ships to transported to Japan to carry out hard labour. Focusing on the treatment of the POWs by the Japanese guards and Commanders and the events that led up to the final escape of the prisoners.

I can't say that I found the acting to be "wooden" at all, quite the opposite in fact.

If I do have one criticism, that would be that the film is of-its-time and as such it can't and doesn't give a truely in-depth display of the actual cruelty that was inflicted on these poor people incarcerated by the Japanese. So some of the true horrors are painted over somewhat.

It can in no way compare to something like "Saving Private Ryan", which has Stephen Speilberg and all his resources behind it and, of course the modern day CGI and special effects that are available. But a valiant attempt has been made, considering what was available at the time.

Well worth getting hold of.
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on 22 February 2015
I saw some negative reviews about this film & was nearly put of buying it. So glad that I decided to buy it! It is based on a true story & is a good film!
Yes there are some war films that are really classics out there,but this one is definitely worth watching if you like war movies! Got it S/H at a great price & just like new!
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on 18 July 2016
A very good follow up movie to the Alec Guinness River Kwai Movie, this one maybe not be as good, but still well worth a watch
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on 18 September 2016
Product as described. It is quite an interesting film. Very watchable as long as one does not compare it to the original.
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on 7 September 2014
EXCELLENT
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on 26 April 2016
This film was Fine, I like the original film better
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on 7 October 2015
Really good quality thank you
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