Task Force (1949)

Genres - War  |   Sub-Genres - War Drama  |   Release Date - Aug 30, 1949 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 116 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Overall, Task Force is only an average movie, but it's not average throughout. Instead, it's one of those films that has a number of highlights that can't quite compensate for the lesser aspects of the film. Chief among its assets is the final 20 or so minutes, when the use of archival battle footage is used to thrilling effect by writer/director Delmer Daves. The footage itself is impressive, but Daves knows that it has to be used properly, and he arranges it for maximum effectiveness. There are also some other very good moments scattered throughout, particularly those that deal with the technical aspects of carrier life; Daves breathes life into what could have been dull stretches here. He's not as successful when dealing with the actual story elements of Task Force, which generally come across as strained. The reluctance of those in command to see the importance of Cooper's "mission" may be fact-based, but it plays as pure Hollywood, and the romantic segments are terribly trite. This isn't meant to denigrate Jane Wyatt's contributions to the latter, which are quite commendable. But truth be told, there's more life and chemistry between Cooper and Walter Brennan than between Coop and Wyatt. AS a result, Task Force drags in too many places instead of soaring -- but when it does take off, it flies good and high.