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Gung Ho

124 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A Japanese auto company is persuaded to take over an abandoned factory--and abandoned U.S. workforce--in a small rust-belt town in Middle America. Alas, this wonderful idea for a culture-clash comedy goes pretty much to waste in Gung Ho. Michael Keaton gives his most relentlessly obnoxious performance as the fast-talking shop foreman who never stops BS'ing his Japanese employers, his work buddies (George Wendt and John Turturro among them), his girlfriend (Mimi Rogers), and himself. There's a trumped-up crisis in every reel, and a great deal of double talk about whether the Japanese are workaholic freaks or the new, true inheritors of the old American get-up-and-go. Director Ron Howard and screenwriters Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel had made the enchanting comedy-fantasy-romance Splash only a couple of years before; they probably thought they were concocting a Frank Capra-style fable here, but, far from having a beautiful mind, this movie is strictly sitcom mentality from top to bottom. --Richard T. Jameson

From the Back Cover

When Michael Keaton (Beetlejuice, Batman) persuades a Japanese auto firm to reopen his hometown's auto factory, he's a hero. But when the Japanese hire him to enforce their policies among his American co-workers, he goes from hero to zero in seconds flat. It's manpower vs. horsepower on the assembly line. Salami vs. sushi in the cafeteria. And a head-on cultural collision that's enough to upset the world's balance of laughter. See how really crazy things can get when Michael Keaton's in charge in Gung Ho--another great comedy by director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Night Shift, Cocoon, Parenthood).


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Keaton, Gedde Watanabe, George Wendt, Mimi Rogers, John Turturro
  • Directors: Ron Howard
  • Writers: Babaloo Mandel, Lowell Ganz, Edwin Blum
  • Producers: Babaloo Mandel, Deborah Blum, Jan R. Lloyd, Lowell Ganz
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: July 16, 2002
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000066BUA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,909 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gung Ho" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This movie is now 20 years old. It is an interesting comedy for what it says about how the Japanese and American cultures were trying to learn to work together in a world economy. Americans were not used to being on the losing end of competition, quality, and efficiency. And they tended to see themselves as entitled to their well paying unskilled jobs. The movie exaggerates these traits, but having worked on an assembly line for a couple of years, I can tell you that the exaggerations are still based in reality back in the 1970s and 1980s. The Japanese are portrayed as being all about company, ruthless bargainers, and relentless perfectionists. I particularly liked the way the Japanese are shown saying things about hearing what the Americans are saying and the Americans taking it to mean agreement while the Japanese mean no such thing.

The movie doesn't take sides and shows most of the problems coming from fear and misunderstanding. Isn't that really what happened? In the 1980s Americans feared the Japanese dominance of our economy and it resulted in some extreme actions and reactions. Nowadays, we fear the Chinese in a different way, but their dominance of basic manufacturing is more complete than the Japanese ever were and yet there isn't the same kind of backlash. Why? Well, that is outside the scope of this little review. Maybe it is experience with losing certain kinds of manufacturing for decades. Maybe it is because the auto industry was seen as particularly American and the high end of unskilled labor as middle class. Maybe it is because we now see economy successfully adapting as some new job classes are created and others leave. Maybe it is something else.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By JoeJoe on April 23, 2005
Format: DVD
This movie was so much fun! The story was real-life possibility

with a whole lot of laughs. Great for family viewing. I have seen

this movie several times and will watch again I am sure.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By "circle_nine" on May 5, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
It was through this movie that I was first introduced to Michael Keaton, who I consider one of my favourite actors. The strength of this movie is that it tells the story for both sides of the cultural barrier and doesn't portray one as being better than the other. It is a film that both Westerners and Japanese can relate to. (In comparions, 'Mr Baseball' pushes the 'west is best' attitude when it comes to that sport.) Last year I rented 'Gung-ho' for the first time in many years. Watching this movie, while working in Japan, makes the premise ironic in retrospect. One needs only to look at Nissan , a once mighty automaker (and probable inspiration for the movie's 'Assan Motors') that had to turn to Renault to help it out, to see that fortunes in the Japanese economy have changed greatly since the time of this movie. Hence, the film is interesting in a nestalgic sort of way too.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 28, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
After working ten years for a Japanese company, many memories came back as I watched this movie. Memories of many long hours, after work meetings that extended until bedtime, not being able to attend events with my family because "I had to work" and "Only thinking of the company". Ron Howard captures the Japanese work ethic very well in this movie.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Concerned One on October 2, 2006
Format: DVD
I have seen this movie probably 10 times since it came out in the theaters, and each time I find it just as funny and likeable. Sure, the characters are sterotyped almost to an extreme, but I have worked with both cultures (both a union blue collar, and a white collar-international based one), and there is a grain of truth to each. The movie had to be exagerated to show more impact, and coming together for the "hollywood effect". The head of the company Oishi Kazihiro played by Gedde Watanabe was my absolute favorite character in the movie, very human, great delivery of some of his lines, and just a good role. George Wendt did a good job as "a regular joe", much like his Norm character on Cheers. Michael Keaton's role displayed much of the turmoil a midlevel supervisor has to go through. Overall, the morals of telling the truth, and that people can work through cultures/lifestyle diffences are clear and pretty potent. Rent or buy this movie, it's worth it. Ron Howard did a descent job with this one,
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 6, 2003
Format: DVD
This movie gives a glimpse of how America came to terms with its economic fallibility. In a way, it was prophetic becuase so many American companies have partnered with Japanese companies in just this manner, and had the same kinds of growing pains. Ron Howard gave a touchy subject his magic, and Gung Ho! is a hilarious and delightful story.
Some people find the movie a simplistic version of an American-Japanese culture clash. Don't be such a fuddy-duddy! Good comedies don't portray reality, but they make us THINK about reality, which is much more important. In that aspect, Ron Howard and his talented cast did a great job.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tsuyoshi on April 14, 2013
Format: DVD
An early Ron Howard comedy "Gung Ho" stars Michael Keaton as Hunt Stevenson, a former automobile factory foreman in Hadleyville, Pennsylvania, who is tasked to convince a Japanese automobile maker "Assan" (not Nissan) to reopen the town's plant. It is a task upon which the fate of the town rests.

Hunt somehow succeeds, but a real challenge arrives in the form of culture clash between American workers and Japanese management methods. First, you don't listen to the music when you are working. Don't read newspapers when you are working. And....

The film certainly reflects the US-Japan relationship in the 1980s, but don't expect insightful observations about culture differences. "Gung Ho" is basically a comedy, with a Frank Capra-like story where all things work out.

This is Michael Keaton at his best. Gedde Watanabe is also good as an uptight Japanese executive Kazuhiro, who forms friendship with Hunt. Unfortunately, most supporting characters including Mimi Roger's love interest are forgettable. John Turturro also appears, but his role is not a big one.

Sometimes they make "East-Meets-West"-type culture clash comedies (like "Mr. Baseball"), and "Gung Ho" is one of them. (Interestingly, the film was not theatrically released in Japan, while "Mr. Baseball" was.) "Gung Ho" is a light-hearted comedy and as such it works.
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