Japan’s legendary kamikaze pilots have their tarnished memorial given a patriotic polish in overlong Nipponese war epic “For Those We Love.” Pic sprinkles battle sequences among meller strands depicting the lives of several airmen, their families and the townfolk who live near a training base. Controversy and attendances flew high on recent domestic release, creating worldwide news, but international B.O. is likely to remain below the radar. Invocation of the hot-button Yasukuni shrine to the war dead will shoot this down in other Asian markets.
In 1943, as Japan’s WWII effort falters, a vice-admiral proposes training squadrons of “volunteer” flyers to crash their armed planes into Allied warships. Yarn follows the lives of kamikaze pilots, as remembered by an aging Kyushu restaurateur who cherishes their memory. Honoring the dead and multiple military anthems may stir the soul of some Japanese, but elsewhere auds will make a one-way trip for exits. Battle scenes are well-executed and script delivers some memorable scenes, but overall competent helming and thesping are powerless over writer-cum-Tokyo governor Shintaro Ishiara’s repetitive storytelling. A post-war postscript adds considerable length to an already over-extended narrative. Tech credits are good quality.