Operation Vengeance by Mike Ross | Script Revolution

Operation Vengeance

WWII Drama Young American pilot is handed the most top secret mission of the war, to shoot down the Japanese Supreme Commander In Chief, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the mastermind of the attack on Pearl Harbor.



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World War II,--Guadalcanal—April 1943… after five bloody months of ground fighting, Henderson Field becomes the home to Major John Mitchell and his elite group of young fighter Aces who chew up the Japanese air force and navy in their new hot rod of the sky, the P-38 Lightning. After a secret Japanese radio communiqué is intercepted by American listening posts giving Admiral Yamamoto’s itinerary for his inspirational tour of his most forward air bases, Major Mitchell is given the top secret mission to try to intercept the Admiral’s bomber in a split second interception over open ocean and shoot him down. Major Mitchell and his sixteen top shooters fly over 450 miles in the one decisive operation that could possibly change the war’s outcome.
Simultaneously, we follow Yamamoto’s life with his family, his Geisha girlfriend and his tour where he argues with his fellow officers who urge him to cancel his trip because they know the truth… the Japanese air force does not indeed own the skies over the South Pacific.
Under the strain of leadership, daily air combat, and the stress of losing men, Mitchell must dig deep inside himself to succeed at all costs in his one-in-a-million shot at success.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

OPERATION VENGEANACE is an old-school, high-ass, hoo-rah(!), WWII action script that feels spruced-up with F-bombs for modern context, and yet, still feels refreshingly old-fashioned in its construction, intent, and fine-details. The one on one dynamic you’ve put at the center of the narrative is engaging and every single moment of action is thrilling and excitingly staged and written. A very visually-inclined director would have a field day with this project. It does feel expensive, but in this day and age, that shouldn’t detract from the overall commercial nature of the script and the writing. It’s an accessible piece – nothing complicated – straight up the middle and very entertaining. Some of the dialogue hit me as a bit crude and on the nose, but you’re portraying a very specific time and place in world history, and I think you’ve captured the meat and potatoes vernacular of the world that these guys would have inhabited very well and it All in all, this is a honed, robust, and squared-jawed military action piece that could easily find a home with a production company.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this script was how the actions of the characters informed the narrative drive at nearly all times. Yes, you’ve included real-life battles and incidents that stem from the war-time history books, but the scope of the movie is driven by the decisions made by the men, most particularly by MITCHELL (nice call-out to TOP GUN, btw!) and YAMAMOTO, who almost form a symbiotic relationship throughout the piece. The desire on the part of the American troops to take out YAMAMOTO and his pilots/troops becomes the central driving force to the script, and it very much takes on an old-school, “good guy vs. bad guys” dimension that you don’t see too often anymore. Yes, you’ve done enough to shade YAMAMOTO and the Japanese fleet to the point where they are “fighting their war,” but this is a gung-ho in spirit piece that really trades off the idea of a dangerous, sneaky enemy who must be stopped. I think you nailed the emotional honesty of all of the guys scrambling at the end to take credit for bringing down YAMAMOTO, because that would have been a very big deal for anyone to have been involved with.

The action sequences are amazingly detailed and realized. At no point is the reader confused by any of the describable action and you convey a tremendous sense of space and clarity to both WHY people are fighting and WHERE they are fighting. I’ve read SO MANY clumsily-handled scripts that rely on nonsensical action sequences that don’t adhere to anything remotely tangible, so while reading OPERATION VENGEANCE, I was struck by how streamlined everything felt. All of the supporting characters – the men surrounding MITCHELL – they all feel very much like part of an extended ensemble, so it’ll be necessary to cast actors who can portray these classic, archetypal characters. Everyone feels very much “of a unit,” and I think that a project like this extends itself extremely well to the filmmakers putting together a fresh-faced roster of talent to appear on-camera.

You achieve an excellent sense of atmosphere, time, and place all throughout OPERATION VENGEANCE which helps to strengthen the entire piece in crucial spots. Your clear understanding of both history AND cinema informs the presentation of the material – you neatly lay out the big events you want to touch upon without overloading the script – you’ve kept an epic story rather tight in terms of “filmable minutes” and that’s another strong aspect that’s likely to be attractive to moviemakers. You also include some solid informational wrap-up bits at finish with the postscript which is always a nice touch as it brings the audience into the story even further.

Also, because MITCHELL and YAMAMOTO are both “men of action,” the entire script feels focused to their individual battles (both internal and external), and I loved how you included JUST ENOUGH of a balance between large set-pieces and smaller moments which allowed us to get to know both sides. How one will decide “who to root for” is always up to the reader/audience member in question, but you’ve certainly done a solid job of presenting strong viewpoints from both sides that allow for further nuance. It’s still got a kick-ass, “American” spirit running all throughout, and because there’s a sense of pride as written between the men, one gets the sense that this is material that will play well with ANY audience member who enjoys genre fare such as this.

This was the most interesting aspect of the script. At times, I felt pulled-out of the story because of the word choice or the overt racism, and then I stepped back and realized (especially on a second reading) that that’s precisely how these men would have spoken to each other (and felt) back in the day and during war-time. I thought it was cool how you injected “fuck” into the proceedings, and yet still kept an old-fashioned flavor to the words being spoken. This isn’t a revisionist action piece – I was reminded of the earnestness of PEARL HARBOR at times, which is a sentiment that I could see people “coming back to” in the coming years. We’ve been beaten down by the need for cynical realism, and one of the novel aspects of OPERATION VENGEANCE is how the tone feels decidedly “throw-back-y” without ever feeling stale. In general, there’s a snap to the individual lines being spoken, and every character has enough of their own voice on display to differentiate themselves from the group.

Structurally, OPERATION VENGEANCE is extremely tight and well-considered. You adhere to the three act structure with precision and nothing feels rushed or out of place. After kicking things off with some startling action, you smartly settle down for some character/context building, and then you’re off to the races with the main conflict and all of the various side entanglements. At no point is the reader bored as nearly everything feels “eventful” and of having purpose (no unnecessary padding was felt or found), and refreshingly, the script is free from sloppy/obvious/careless spelling and grammatical errors, which when included, can seriously hinder the reading experience. It’s clear that you’ve spent the time going over this script, line by line to make sure that each moment was crisp and clean, and once again, everything was coherent and professionally mounted in terms of presentation.

OPERATION VENGEANCE feels like the obvious type of genre entry that audiences would positively respond to. Your main hero-character is compelling and you want to see him succeed, he’s got a more than capable adversary, the historical context never goes out of style with audiences, and the sequences of aerial combat would serve as a real reason for people to trek out to the movie theater and see something unfold on the big-screen. It’s really just a matter of getting this project out there for people to read. I’d suggest no wholesale changes to the material at this point, especially if you were able to drum up some initial interest from Scott Free/Ridley Scott. You need a manager to get behind this, or you need to find a producer willing to read it and then give you a shot. It’s a classically constructed piece that checks all of its boxes and delivers something expectedly enjoyable. An entire genre has been built out of movies like this for over 60 years. Why not this one?
BlueCat Screenplay Contest Reader Report (Summarized)
Get Yamamoto (former title) is a riveting World War II story that had me hooked from beginning to end. Easily, the best script I've read in a long time.

Your descriptions are top notch.......

I was also very taken by with your characters.......

I found your characters to be very relatable and likable......

I appreciate that you gave us a look at the "enemy."


Submitted: May 19, 2020
Last Updated: May 19, 2020

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Mike Ross's picture

The Writer: Mike Ross

I've spent my entire adult life in the world of big time Nevada show business working with 99% of all the big names, the legends, the good, the bad and the ugly... Frank, Tony, Wayne, Willy, Waylon, Merle, Loretta, Cher, Tina, Rickles, you name 'em, I worked 'em. I shook their hands, gave them their pay checks, helped produce their shows with pretty lights and excellent sound, drank and enduldged with 'em, and bonded while we lived a rare life together in that bubble of BTSB. At the opposite end of the spectrum was my life outside the bright lights, a life of fast snow skiing the steeps, lugging a backpack throughout the American West and packing in on horseback into some of the wildest and... Go to bio
Law Firm: Gunderson Law
Lawyer: Mark Gunderson

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