Feb. 23, 2023

S3-E2 - Mel Gibson Makes a Movie in Taiwan (1979)

S3-E2 - Mel Gibson Makes a Movie in Taiwan (1979)

Ever heard of the film "Attack Force Z"? No? Don't worry... almost no one has. Filmed in Taiwan, this WWII story featured both Mel Gibson and Sam Neill, long before they became major Hollywood stars. Gibson later called the film “pretty woeful... it's so bad, it's funny.” That's an unfairly harsh assessment, likely coming from the difficulties encountered making the movie on location in Taiwan back in the winter of 1979-80.

Cover images: A DVD of the 1981 film "Attack Force Z," (also called "Z Men"). Background: The green hills of northern Taiwan that have stood in for movie locations set in Japan and Southeast Asia. (Via Filming Locations / Atlas of Wonder) 

You can watch the entire movie on YouTube! 

Below: Alternative posters and names for this movie filmed in Taiwan over the winter of 1979-1980. (Via John McCallum Productions.) 

Below left: Taiwanese actor Ko Chun-hsiung (柯俊雄 1945-2015), the person who played a "local resistance fighter" in the film and helped get the movie's actors working as a team again following the sudden departure of famed Australian director Philip Noyce, who quit the project over creative differences with the producer.  

Below right: Sylvia Chang (張艾嘉) a Taiwanese actress who played the role of the daughter of the resistance fighter and a love interest for the lead actor.

Below: Mostly forgotten today, John Philip Law was a much bigger star than either Mel Gibson or Sam Neill back in the late 1970s. 

Below: A scene from Martin Scorsese's 2016 film "Silence." The movie was filmed entirely in Taiwan. This scene used Taiwan's east coast as a stand-in for Nagasaki, Japan, in the 1600s. Read more about the filming of "Silence" HERE.   

Music used in this episode is via Pixabay - by Lesfm.