Sunday, October 21, 2007

Home of the Brave DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Iraq War Drama Starring Samuel L. Jackson and 50 Cent Released on DVD

In 2003, Samuel L. Jackson announced he would no longer make movies co-starring rappers-turned-actors, because they’d been taking too much work from legitimate, classically-trained thespians. Despite his gallant defense of the profession, Sam has since appeared opposite plenty of hip-hoppers including such films as S.W.A.T. (LL Cool J and Eve) and xXx 2 (Ice Cube and Xzibit).
Here, he buddies-up with 50 Cent in an ensemble drama revolving around the challenging readjustment of Iraq War vets back to private life in the States. But first, the story opens overseas during a furious firefight in the desert in order to convey a sense of the daily ordeal which the soldiers have had to endure.
The film subsequently telescopes in on four physically and/or emotionally-fragile GIs with just two weeks left in their tour of duty. There’s Vanessa (Jessica Biel) who lost a hand to an improvised explosive device and was treated on the battlefield by Dr. Will Marsh (Jackson). Meanwhile, Jamal (Cent) has killed an innocent civilian and Tommy (Brian Presley) has been wounded and watched a pal die.
So, it’s no surprise that upon their platoon’s return to Spokane, Washington, it’s just a matter of time before signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder start to kick in. Friends and relatives notice that their loved ones aren’t acting normal, and it falls to fatherly Dr. Marsh to offer some sage counsel, despite his own issues.
Unfortunately, Home of the Brave handles a serious subject with all the subtlety of a superficial John Wayne World War II flick. Will is given to delivering macho soliloquies romanticizing America’s role in the Middle East via simplistic analogies to the Revolutionary War like, “We’re trying to build a country. We did the same thing here a couple of hundred years ago.”
Patriotic claptrap masquerading as a touchy-feely salute to the troops.

Fair (1 star)
Rated R for profanity and war violence.
Running time: 105 minutes
In Arabic, English and Spanish with subtitles.
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

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