“ATTACK FORCE Z”— A Secret Mission

“Attack Force Z”

A Secret Mission

Amos Lassen

Director Tim Burstall’s 1981 film “Attack Force Z” is the story of a group of Australian commandos launch a secret mission against Japanese forces in World War II. The script was based on a real-life commando rescue raid, Project Opossum, where a team of commandos rescued the local sultan on the Japanese-held island of Ternate near . The film features Mel Gibson and Sam Neill at the early stages of their careers.

ATTACK FORCE Z, Sam Neill, Mel Gibson, 1982

On January 10, 1945, a group of commandos, led by Australian Capt. Paul Kelly (Mel Gibson), go by sub to the coast of China, where they’re to rescue the occupants of a plane that’s recently been shot down. The plane crashed on a remote island currently that was controlled by the Japanese Imperial Army and on board was an emissary who could end the war, but getting him out won’t be easy. With Dutch Lt. Jan Veitch (John Philip Law) acting as interpreter, Capt. Kelly and his men: Sgt. Danny Costello (Sam Neill), Sub Lt. Ted King (John Waters), and Seaman Sparrer Bird (Chris Haywood), manage to make their way to shore under cover of darkness with the hope of winning the trust of the Chinese villagers, who may prove useful in determining the whereabouts of the downed plane.

They luckily meet Lin Chan-Yang (Koo Chuan Hsuing), the leader of a local resistance who despises the Japanese (they had been responsible for the death of his wife). Leaving his younger children in the care of daughter Chien Hua (Sylvia Chang), Lin Chan-Yang agrees to guide Captain Kelly and the others to the wreckage. Following a skirmish with Japanese forces, Lt. Veitch is separated from the group and makes his way back to Lin’s house, where he strikes up a relationship with Chien Hau. But now that the Japanese know they’re on the island, it may be impossible for the commandos to complete their mission. In fact, there’s a good chance none of them will make it out alive.

We see several well-choreographed battle scenes, the best of which is the movie’s final act. There really is nothing special here but when taken as a whole, the movie is entertaining.

Bonus Material includes:

  • Brand new 4K scan and restoration from the film’s inter-positive
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • Original uncompressed dual channel mono audio
  • ‘The Two-Men Debriefed’ (SD, 25 mins) featurette with executive producer John McCallum and actors John Waters and Chris Haywood
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Photo Gallery