The Ravagers (1965)
Director: Eddie Romero.
Starring: Robert Arevalo (Capt. Araulio), Jose Dagumboy (Joe), Vic Diaz (Cruz), Bronwyn FitzSimons (Sheila), Michael Parsons (Reardon), Fernando Poe Jr. (Gaudiel), Ann Saxon, John Saxon (Capt. Kermit Dowling), Kristina Scott (Mother-Superior), Vic Silayan (Capt. Mori).
Filipino guerrillas repel last remnants of the Japanese on their land
Spoiler Warning: below is a summary of the entire film.
I wouldn't recommend the film for learning history. We are not even told where the action takes place other than somewhere in the Philippines. It's pretty much a straight action film.. And even as a war action flick, it's not that great. I thought because of the title and the little description of the movie that it would deal with some of the terrible examples of the abuses of the Japanese against both the civilian and enemy military populations. But it did not. And the movie doesn't at all deal with Japanese excesses. In fact, Captain Mori isn't that bad of a guy at all. Neither he or any of his men do anything excessive. In fact, it's one of the Filipino guerrillas that tries to rape the American woman Sheila who is hiding from the Japanese in the local convent.
A cut-off Japanese unit has with it $4 million dollars in gold bars that belong to the Philippine government. The local guerrillas want to destroy the Japanese unit. But some of the guerrillas are basically bandits and want to grab the gold for themselves. The Japanese make their headquarters in the local convent. Captain Dowling sends three of his best men to sneak into the convent and rig it with explosives. The men are also supposed to open fire on the Japanese in the convent when the time comes. Cruz is one of the three and he is the leader of the bandit group in the unit. He also is a rapist and tries to rape Sheila. She is saved Gaudiel who fights off Cruz. Later she takes a quick liking to him. They embrace. They appear to like each other.
The guerrilla unit attacks the convent from outside and inside the convent. It's a long skirmish. The Japanese are whittled down to a much smaller group. They push the guerrillas back and then take the gold in trucks and try to escape by boat. The guerrilla bandits take advantage of the beating the Japanese receive at the boat dock to grab the three trucks with the gold. One of the trucks crashes, but the two others escape into the mountains. The guerrillas follow up the mountain after the bandits. And so do the Japanese remnants.
The guerrillas find the bandits first. They divide into two platoons and start to encircle the bandits who are down by the waterfall putting the gold in a cave. While the guerrillas get themselves into position to attack, the Japanese arrive and head straight ahead down the mountain to get at the bandits. The Japanese open up on the bandits and a fire fight begins. The other guerrillas start opening fire on the Japanese from behind them. The Japanese are all killed, except for their Captain. He takes out his samurai sword and starts to climb up part of the mountain to the guerrilla position commanded by Captain Dowling. Dowling calls for a cease fire. The Japanese captain is really having a hard time getting up to the top. Then we discover that the man has been shot in the gut. He dies virtually at the feet of Captain Dowling.
Gaudiel is determined to kill Cruz. He aggressively seeks out the bandit and eventually shoots him to death. The bandits are defeated. The gold is recovered.
Gaudiel sees Sheila walking with the nuns on the beach. She passes by him without saying anything, But then she stops and turns around to look at him. The two are staring at each other as the movie ends.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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