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Formosa Betrayed (2009)

James Van Der Beek , Leslie Hope , Adam Kane  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Van Der Beek, Leslie Hope, John Heard
  • Directors: Adam Kane
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Cantonese, Chinese, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Screen Media
  • DVD Release Date: July 13, 2010
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • ASIN: B0039ZBLZ6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,949 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Formosa Betrayed" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


The film provides illuminating context for whatever news Taiwan will be making this century. --Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times

...deliver[s] a haunting history lesson. --The Hollywood Reporter

A powderkeg of a movie. Formosa Betrayed is a crackling political thriller - --Pete Hammond, Backstage Magazine

Product Description

Based on the true events, when a Taiwanese-American professor is murdered, FBI agent Jake Kelly (James Van Deer Beak) races to track the killers back to Taiwan. Kelly soon finds himself immersed in a dangerous conspiracy as he dodges forces ranging from the U.S. State Department to the Chinese Mafia. A gripping thriller. Formosa Betrayed delivers and unbelievable true story that must be heard.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced, Multi-dimensional Thriller April 30, 2010
By Latuza
The main point of the message I believe is that freedom doesn't come free. Let those of us in the US not take that for granted, and lend support to friends abroad when we can:

The movie actually is quite thought-provoking by presenting multiple perspectives on the Taiwan issue. It's not one-dimensional as some would believe. The multiple perspectives constitute the conflict that lasts/runs throughout the movie (primarily between agent Jake Kelly and the AIT (American Institute in Taiwan) director). I think the props and sets could be better, but overall it's a suspense-packed and fast-paced movie that leaves you hanging off the edge of your seat most of the time.

Fact Events in Taiwan that inspired the making of the movie, 8 March 2010
Author: Bobby W from United States

1) Kaohsiung Incident (1979) - A demonstration led by Formosa Magazine staff resulted in the Martial Law arrest of dozens of dissidents.

2) Lin Family Massacre (1980) - A grim murder of the 7 years old twin girls and their 70 years old grandma in their house then under 24-hour surveillance by the Garrison Command (Taiwan secret police). The day before her murder, the grandma had managed to reach out the international human right organizations about the brutal treatment received by her son in jail. Her son Lin Yi-Hsiung was among the Kaohsiung Incident dissidents arrested.

3) The Murder of Chen Wen-Chen (1981) - Carnegie Mellon University professor Chen Wen-Chen, while visiting Taiwan, was interrogated by the Garrison Command agents two days in a roll. He never returned home. Dr. Chen had been an active Taiwan independence advocate.
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
This movie tells the true stories about the KMT's cruel regime in Taiwan during the 1980s. Many of these were covered up for many, many years, and finally there is a movie to share to the rest of the world. My ancestors were on the island of Taiwan (otherwise known as "Formosa", the beautiful island) for over 200 years before the arrival of the Chinese Nationalist in the late 1940s. In some ways our family was lucky, because during the 228 Massacre, a generation of all the highly intelligent/skilled people in Taiwan were killed by the KMT government so they could maintain control. My ancestors were mostly farmers in the rural South, so they were spared.

The Taiwanese people who fought for democracy had to pay high prices--as one politician's family was destroyed when he came home one night to find his seven year-old twin daughters and his mother killed. His older daughter witnessed the whole incident and survived. The former Taiwanese president's wife is paralyzed for life because she pushed her husband away as a car was about to run him over during a rally.

It's amazing how far Taiwan has come to promote democracy. And it's due to all these people who never gave any hope up, even if it costs their own lives. This movie tells the true stories about what happened in the past and what we could learn for the future.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Movie with a Social Conscience June 11, 2010
By Tony C
Formosa Betrayed is an excellent portrayal of the devastating history that the people of Taiwan have endured over the years. A rich and fertile island that has been occupied by foreigners for most of its history, Taiwan's history is entirely unknown to the vast majority of Americans. Thus, this film speaks volumes about the ignorance of many Americans toward the plight of the Taiwanese people who have been seeking independence for centuries, and serves to educate the masses who have the privilege of watching it. History is important, and this film is a first class history lesson and a must see film.

While watching Formosa Betrayed I was struck by the way in which the film depicts injustice in a manner that implicates (and rightly so) the American government as complicit in allowing the oppression of the Taiwanese people. The makers of this film have done an excellent job displaying the effects of power politics at the international level on smaller countries. Taiwan, a nation with a distinct identity separate from mainland China, has just as much of a right to be an independent nation as the United States did when it declared independence from Great Britain. Unfortunately for Taiwan, the United States cares more about its foreign relations with Taiwan's larger neighbor China than it does about promoting justice, as embodied through the independence of Taiwan. This film focuses on the injustices endured by Taiwan, and shows that Taiwan becoming a democracy is not a miracle at all, but rather the result of the multitude of sacrifices of the Taiwanese people.

Formosa Betrayed is made all the more excellent through fantastic performances by its leading actors, especially those of James Van Der Beek, Will Tiao and Wendy Crewson. Furthermore, it's extremely well made, and as a political action thriller it transcends a mere history channel documentary while sacrificing none of the content.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful, multi-dimensional film! July 1, 2010
By Dee J.
If this film focused only on the story of Taiwan, it would have been decent enough, but the theme centers on a murder and the extradition of those responsible, even it it means travelling throughout the globe. Action paced, with terrific acting from a stellar cast. Highly recommended!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars is a great country to grow up in
Exciting movie that also motivated me to learn about the history of other countries.

As Americans we sometimes forget that despite her faults, the U.S. Read more
Published 2 months ago by L. Thomas
4.0 out of 5 stars an educational thriller
Don't let the obscure locale scare you away. This thriller takes place in Taiwan during the communists' rule. Read more
Published 3 months ago by E. J.
4.0 out of 5 stars Formosa Betrayed
I enjoyed the movie, watched it on my Kindle Fire [small screen] to sit in my chair and relax with it in my lap. Read more
Published 9 months ago by kittyjinny
4.0 out of 5 stars Better Than Advertised
Held my attention from start to finish. Good story line and characters to play the roles. Enough suspense throughout to carry the story.
Published 12 months ago by MARVIN M.
3.0 out of 5 stars boring
not a lot of realistic situations and people. pretty general information and background and the movie was not objectively portrayed.
Published 15 months ago by chi
5.0 out of 5 stars Forosa
Great historical film based on a not so popular time in Japanse history. I Highly recomended for the history buff.
Published 21 months ago by beckleyja
3.0 out of 5 stars Good attempt
This was a nice try at capturing the more sinister side of the Chiang regime (aka "Republic of China") on its captive island. Read more
Published 23 months ago by R. L. Huff
3.0 out of 5 stars above average treatment of difficult subject but pace too slow
My favorite parts were the tense interactions between headstrong FBI agent Kelly and the older and more sophisticated Taiwan-US diplomat (Wendy Crewson). Read more
Published on April 30, 2012 by sparky_magic_rainbow
4.0 out of 5 stars What a Differance a Day Makes
When I was in grade school the 'Cold War' was in full swing. In the social studies class we learned that Chiang Kai Shek fled the evil communists of mainland China and settled in... Read more
Published on September 8, 2011 by Eric Sanberg
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very good Movie!
As said in the prelude... "Based on True Story", all the names, locations, are altered, but it is a true story. The murdered professor's true identity was, in real life, Prof. Read more
Published on August 4, 2011 by Steve Sun
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