October 20, 2023

3 DAYS IN MALAY is a Minor Skirmish

3 DAYS IN MALAY (Blu-ray)
2023 / 99 min
Review by Tiger the Terrible😼

Another World War II movie “inspired by a true story” (take that with a grain of salt), 3 Days in Malay doesn’t have enough story or budget to sustain its premise but isn’t entirely unwatchable.

Veteran soldier and former boxer John Caputo (Louis Mandylor, who also directs) transfers to an American base in Malay on the eve of an anticipated Japanese attack. It’s also where childhood buddy James (‘Cowboy’ Cerrone) is stationed, but the two have since become estranged. Much of the first half of the film focuses on their conflict, which is only sporadically interesting. This is also when we meet a handful of other soldiers, most of whom exist to be eventual cannon fodder, including a brief love interest for John that’s clumsily inserted into the narrative.

But the meat of the story centers around the impending attack, where the U.S. forces are severely outnumbered. Base leader Sgt. Foley (Peter Dobson) warns the higher-ups of this, yet the Army refuses to provide reinforcements. So it’s up to a small handful of troops to defend the base from supposedly thousands of Japanese soldiers. I say ‘supposedly’ because during the entire three-day siege, we never see more than a dozen or so enemy soldiers on-screen at any time, screaming “Banzai!” as they run straight into American gunfire with little or no attempt to dodge the bullets.

Ever the peacemaker, John ends the conflict by sharing his gum.
These sporadic, low-wattage action sequences exacerbate the overall smallness of the movie, which obviously lacks the financial resources to visually depict such a massive incursion. In between attacks are your standard-issue scenes of comradery in the foxholes, a staple of World War II movies since…well, World War II. Still, the overall performances are actually really good. Despite looking way too old to pass for an Army grunt, Mandylor is congenial and engaging, as is former MMA fighter Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, playing a kindly priest who’s willing to kick ass when required.

3 Days in Malay is one of those movies that probably would’ve been more compelling with a bigger budget and tighter screenplay. But as is, it’s hardly the worst budget-conscious war epic out there. With (very) tempered expectations, the film is a passable time killer. 

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