This could easily have been a list dominated by Tom Hanks, the Oscar-winning actor who has performed in several notable war movies and produced series such as Band of Brothers and The Pacific.
Instead, his thrilling cat-and-mouse naval war film Greyhound is just one of several modern classics listed here from the last two decades-plus.
The list includes the home-grown Ah Boys to Men film series, a re-telling of the famous Battle of Midway, a political drama about the implications of drone warfare, a UN peace-keeping mission gone awry in Africa, and Park Chan-wook’s first major success, Joint Security Area, which arguably launched the new-generation South Korean film industry as we know it.
Out now, Apple TV+
Stars: Tom Hanks, Stephen Graham, Thomas Kretschmann
More than 20 years after he stormed the beaches of Normandy, and got the thankless task of Saving Private Ryan, Hanks is back on the Allies’ side. This time, he plays a naval commander leading an Allied supply convoy on his warship, the USS Keeling destroyer – radio call-sign “Greyhound”. Pursued by German U-boats, and out of range of air cover, the captain and his crew have to outmanoeuvre the enemy, stay alive, and keep the convoy safe across the Atlantic.
Ah Boys To Men
Out now, Cathay CineHome
Stars: Joshua Tan, Maxi Lim, Wang Weiliang
Jack Neo’s entire ABTM film series is now available for streaming. The franchise, which first kicked off in 2012 and launched the careers of young stars such as Tan, Lim and Wang, told the story of army recruits becoming friends during military training. While Ah Boys to Men 3 was a Navy-themed “what could have been” re-imagining of the plot, part four sees the friends juggling work and reservist duties. Ah Boys to Men and Ah Boys to Men 2 are also available on Netflix.
Joint Security Area
Out Now, Projector Plus
Stars: Lee Young-ae, Lee Byung-hun, Song Kang-ho
A shooting at the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea leads to an investigation into the mysterious circumstances of the incident. At the heart of the investigation are a South Korean soldier (Lee Byun-hun) who confesses to killing two North Koreans, a North Korean soldier who survived the incident (Song), and a special investigator (Lee Young-ae) who is determined to discover the truth, after learning that the soldiers had forged a secret friendship.
Out now, HBO Go
Stars: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson
In 1942, at the height of the Second World War, the United States engaged in the Battle of Midway against Japan’s naval forces. This movie is based on the true events of that pivotal battle in the Pacific, as a mass of warships and warplanes engaged in fierce fighting over four days. Among the real-life combatants portrayed are squadron commander Dick Best (Skrein), intelligence officer Edwin Layton (Wilson) and US fleet commander Chester Nimitz (Harrelson).
Eye In The Sky
Out now, Shaw KinoLounge
Stars: Alan Rickman, Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul
The moral and political dilemma of high-tech remote warfare is explored in this thriller centred around anti-terrorist operations in Africa. Two high-ranking British officers (Rickman, Mirren) receive intelligence that suicide bombers are planning an attack in Kenya. With help from the Americans, they want to launch a drone airstrike on the location but are stopped by politicians. The mission is further complicated by civilians, such as a young girl, entering the kill zone.
The Siege of Jadotville
Out now, Netflix
Stars: Jamie Dornan, Mark Strong, Jason O’Mara
In 1961, a United Nations peace-keeping mission sees a small company of Irish Army soldiers caught up in a civil war in the Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire. Though the situation on the ground seems under control as they arrive, the company’s leaders order the soldiers to fortify their compound. They soon find themselves under attack, the 157 Irish soldiers surrounded by enemy troops and mercenaries, outnumbered by 20 to one, and running low on ammunition.