We cover a lot of war movies where the producers brag about historical accuracy, desperate to impress military members and veterans with their attention to detail. Other filmmakers trust that the action will carry the story, refusing to let a limited budget distract them from their movie mission.
"Battle for Saipan" is one of those pictures, a quick-and-dirty war drama about a U.S. Army hospital under attack by Japanese forces during the Allied invasion of the island. The movie will open in theaters on Nov. 25, 2022, and be available to buy or rent on Digital on Nov. 29, 2022.
Casper Van Dien (still handsome 25 years after "Starship Troopers") stars as Vic, an Army medic who's trying to run the hospital while short on supplies. Louis Mandylor ("Rambo: Last Blood") Is Maj. William Porter, an officer who lands in the hospital after he's wounded in battle. Legendary character actor Jeff Fahey ("The Lawnmower Man," "Lost") is Gen. Jake Carroll, the commanding officer who's supposed to be running the show.
We've got a clip from the movie where Vic tells the general that he's short on supplies and not sure how much longer he can treat the wounded.
During a Japanese attack, they lead a ragtag crew that tries to defend the hospital and protect the wounded who can't join the fight. It's war. There will be heroes, and there will be casualties.
Focusing the action on a remote hospital keeps the budget down. No one's much concerned about making sure the cast has 1944-style haircuts. There wasn't a dialogue coach on set to help with the Southern accents. The set dressers did manage to rustle up some 1940s-era furniture and props.
"Battle for Saipan" joins "Windtalkers" (2002, directed by John Woo) and "Hell to Eternity" (1960, directed by Phil Karlson) as movies that focus on the Allied invasion of the island. Both of those tell the story on a more epic scale, and "Hell to Eternity" is an underrated classic.
War can be an ugly business, fought with whatever tools a pinned-down unit can find at hand. Low-budget movies can face similar challenges, minus the life-and-death stakes. "Battle for Saipan" gets the job done, delivering plenty of action and hand-to-hand combat in a quick-and-dirty war movie.