Woo's WW II drama squanders a promising premise and turns it into a by-the-book war flick. The plot is inspired by the true story of Navaho Native Americans recruited by the Marines in order to use their language as an unbreakable code. Sgt. Enders (Cage) is a Marine assigned to protect one of these men, Pvt. Yahzee (Beach), but he also has orders to kill him if capture is imminent to protect the secrets of the code. The stage is then set for some of Woo's favorite themes: betrayal, duty and explosive bloody violence. Unfortunately, the characters are trite and the violence a bit overwhelming.
The action scenes are great (not surprising, since the movie's directed by John Woo); they're the highlight of the movie. The writing and acting, on the other hand, are a different story. The script has good intentions, but ultimately fails due to characterization cliches, poor dialogue, and wanna-be sentimentality. Nicholas Cage acts in his typical, apathetic fashion (a zombie-esque scowl upon his face, peppered with the occasional slurred line) for most of the movie; the rest of the performers don't fare much better.