Men Of Honour [DVD] 
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Carl Brashear (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), an Afro-American recruit with the U.S. Navy, discovers his vocation in life when he is transferred to an elite training school for deep-sea divers. Yet despite the recent abolition of segregation, Carl still suffers from the lingering racism it has left in its wake; finding himself rejected by many of his fellow trainees, victimized by the school's bigoted commanding officer Mr Pappy (Hal Holbrook), and pushed to breaking point by chief training officer Billy Sunday (Robert De Niro). Nevertheless, Carl refuses to quit and soon he and Sunday establish a mutual respect which will see them through their many subsequent trials.
Originally, Men of Honour was simply called Navy Diver and no doubt all involved held high hopes that it would be an award-winning biopic. Unfortunately, Carl Brashear's life as the first African-American Master Diver went through that vaguely distasteful contemporary Hollywood Marketing makeover and the result is not quite so worthy of its subject and intentions. The film's hopelessly clichéd tagline reads, "History is made by those who break the rules"; the direction is shot through with sunsets 'n' slow-mo; and the script is peppered with foreshadowing dialogue ("don't end up like me son").
The plot devices follow a predictable arc: family poverty, a swiftly sweet romance, a shock accident, court hearing and, naturally, a grisly antagonist. It's with the last of these that the movie comes to life. We may have seen DeNiro spit nails countless times before, but his saltily intractable Master Chief is a terrific screen creation. Next to him, Cuba Gooding Jr really does shine as the endlessly persecuted Brashear. All-too brief cameos from Charlise Theron and Michael Rapaport lend sparkle too. But the film's message about how social attitudes toward race have changed is lost in a murky haze of Hollywoodisation. As one character declares, "some things just don't mix".
On the DVD: Men of Honour on disc underlines the Hollywood marketing message by including the Music Video ("Win" by Brian McKnight) used to promote the film among the extras. A commentary from director George Tillmann Jr, Cuba Gooding Jr ("this is my Rocky"), writer Scott Marshall Smith and Producer Robert Teitel is crammed with anecdote and explanation. Twelve deleted scenes include an alternative ending dropped thanks to that Tinsel-Town makeover, and the commentary continues for this plus three minutes of storyboards and animatics. There's also a 13-minute HBO featurette on the film's making, a half-hearted five-minute mini-documentary in tribute of Brashear, a trailer and two TV spots. This transfer itself is pristine in 5.1 surround and 2:35.1 ratio. --Paul Tonks
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Top Customer Reviews
This film has deep meaning and shows how the determination of one man can make such a difference in a society that seems unchangable... Throughout the film you are grasped into the life of Carl Brashear and his natural talent and love for the water.
With this love he decides to join the Navy with a promise to his dad "to be the best, and never give up, EVER" through the pain of breaking the barrier of racism it shows how he managed to survive the tourment.
This DVD has special features describing the making of the film, and shows scenes with Carl Brashear himself, and once you have finished watching this I assure you you will feel a new life within yourself to achieve the goals you are heading for, absolutely amazing!
The film which had eleven nominations for various awards, starred Robert De Niro as Master Chief Billy Sunday, a role for which he was ideally suited and Cuba Gooding Jr. as Chief Carl Brashear, a role to which his acting brings all the necessary characteristics, making both their characters believable.
It may not be accurate history but there is truth in there somewhere. Recommended
However British fans should be aware that when buying the BLU RAY - the 'US' edition on 20th Century Fox is REGION A LOCKED - so it won't play on UK machines unless they're chipped to be 'all regions' which most aren't.
Buy the UK version instead - it's relatively inexpensive now - a looker on the Format - and a quality triumph-over-adversity movie you probably haven't seen...
A must see film. One of my all time favourites.