Basing a war film on actual events is hardly a new idea, though the budgetary restraints and artistic shortcomings of 3 Days in Malay make it stand out in the worst ways. Directed by minor character actor Louis Mandylor, who also gives himself a leading role, this World War II film has the best of intentions and the worst of execution. It is one thing to laugh at the unintentional hilarity of bad filmmaking when the story is inconsequential fiction, but 3 Days in Malay is weighed down by melodrama in a painful attempt to be respectful of the historical events.
Set in the Pacific Theater of WWII, 3 Days in Malay follows a group of United States Marines tasked with defending a remote airfield in the British Solomon Islands during an assault by Japanese forces. After an air raid handicaps the US outpost, the Marines are forced to endure an onslaught of attacks while waiting on reinforcements over the course of three days. The film follows a small band of these soldiers as they attempt to survive seemingly endless assaults, led by John Caputo (Mandylor). He is joined by fellow soldiers James (Donald Cerrone), Conroy (Randall Bacon), and Simmons (Randy Wayne), though efforts to distinguish each of the individual Marines with scenes of sappy backstories fail to make an impression.
A large portion of the film is dedicated to weighty consideration of the experiences of average soldiers, albeit with less effectiveness than more ambitious productions like “Band of Brothers” or “The Pacific,” not to mention studio theatrical releases. The remainder of the film is instead dedicated to the spectacle of action entertainment, filled with the kind of fight choreography, and typically found in nonconsequential low budget action films. These two approaches to the narrative often feel at odds with each other, even in the odd moment that one is effectively executed.
The Blu-ray release doesn’t contain any special features and the high-definition presentation only makes the cinematographic shortcomings that much more apparent. Only family members of the cast and crew or those with very low standards will find much of value in 3 Days in Malay.
Entertainment Value: /10
Quality of Filmmaking: /10
Historical Significance: /10
Special Features: /10