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Formosa Betrayed

MPAA Rating: R for some violent content.
not reviewed
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Teens
Political Thriller Historical Drama
1 hr. 26 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
February 26, 2010 (limited—15-20 North American cities)
DVD: July 13, 2010
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Relevant Issues
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About murder in the Bible

Death in the Bible

Final judgment

Featuring: James Van Der Beek (Jake Kelly), Wendy Crewson (Susan Kane), Will Tiao (Ming), John Heard (Tom Braxton), Tzi Ma (Kuo), Chelcie Ross (Daltry), Leslie Hope (Lisa Gilbert), Kenneth Tsang (General Tse), more »
Director: Adam Kane
Producer: Formosa Films, Living Films, David Allen Cluck, Billy Higgins, Evita Huang, Adam Kane, Jonathan Lee, Paul Spurrier, Will Tiao, Jonna Walsh
Distributor: Screen Media

“a search for Truth… a quest for Justice… a fight for Freedom”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Inspired by actual events, FORMOSA BETRAYED is the story of FBI Agent Jake Kelly’s (James Van Der Beek) investigation of the brutal murder of a Taiwanese-American professor on U.S. soil. With the help of his partner Tom Braxton (John Heard) and a sharp Chicago police detective (Leslie Hope), Agent Kelly discovers that the murderers have fled to Taiwan.

Agent Kelly is sent overseas to assist the Taiwanese government’s search for the killers. Initially guided by an American diplomat (Wendy Crewson) and a Taiwanese official (Tzi Ma), he soon realizes that not only is he an unwelcome guest in a foreign land, but that something more treacherous is happening beneath the surface.

With the help of Ming (Will Tiao), a Taiwanese activist, Agent Kelly discovers the unsettling truth about the island once called Formosa, leading to dangerous and painful consequences. Agent Kelly finds himself on a collision course with the U.S. State Department, the Chinese Mafia, and ultimately the highest levels of the Republic of China government in Taiwan, where this FBI agent discovers how a complex web of politics, identity, and power affects the lives and destinies of the citizens in all three countries—including his own.


Taiwan holds a singular place in history. Passed from conquering nation to conquering nation throughout its early history, several world powers have laid claim on this tiny island. As a result, Taiwan is a nation that struggles to be recognized, sometimes even by its own people, as an independent nation. Perhaps most significant is America’s refusal to recognize Taiwan as a nation while protecting its right to democracy from the People’s Republic of China government across the Taiwan Strait.

Many films in Hollywood have explored Chinese culture and politics for American audiences, but FORMOSA BETRAYED will be the first to do so from Taiwan’s unique political perspective as well as provide an opportunity to glimpse the human story behind Taiwan’s struggle for identity on a world stage. FORMOSA BETRAYED focuses on the tragic murder of a Taiwanese professor, killed solely for his courage to speak out for an independent and democratic Taiwan and the ripples of change his death inspired in the people involved in the investigation.

Based on actual events that happened to Taiwanese professors and graduate students throughout the United States in the 1970s and 80s, FORMOSA BETRAYED will expose for the first time the brutal techniques the Republic of China government in Taiwan used to quell dissent in their desire to reunite Taiwan with mainland China.

FORMOSA BETRAYED follows suit in the vein of political thriller films like SYRIANA, HOTEL RWANDA and THE KILLING FIELDS, but in this case shows a unique cultural perspective that has never before been explored or even widely known. Seeking to enlighten a global audience of Taiwan’s dark past, FORMOSA BETRAYED hopes to shine a light not only on past wrongs done to Taiwanese activists, but also pique interest and draw attention to the current tumultuous political situation in present day Taiwan.”

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Movie Critics
…more informative than cinematic… Sometimes stilted procedural cuts to the chase to deliver a haunting history lesson…
—Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter
…historically interesting but otherwise banal thriller… even in its deepest moments of intrigue and pathos this is a cable TV movie at best… [3.5/5]
—Tim Cogshell, Boxoffice Magazine
…talky thriller… The dialogue is blandly speechified and the film’s pro-Taiwan agenda seems to have taken precedence over our enjoyment…
—Aaron Hillis, Time Out New York