3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars
completely overlooks the point it's trying to get across, 8 Feb. 2009
I bought this film on the premise that it would be an interesting change from the bog standard 'guns, guns, guns, oo look an explosion, more guns,' war film (which on the whole, are generally quite good). I thought the idea of the film, being about the psychological struggle of soldiers trying to re-integrate themselves into society, is brilliant and one that hasn't often been explored. However, the film barely develops this point.
The reason it fails to deliver this theme effectively is that there is not enough development of character or emotion. It opens with a short (below average) action sequence of an ambush on a squad of soldiers who are soon to be discharged and allowed to go home. when the soldiers do get home however, they find themselves all of a sudden mentally incapable of dealing with life at home. As an audience, we only see them in the war for less than 10 minutes of the film, so we dont realy see the harsh conditions they have supposedly endured, making their sudden struggle to re-adjust to home life seem slightly feeble.
Samuel L Jackson (who, aside from Jessica Biel, gives one of the very few convincing performances) has probably got the strongest character story and development, but even then we dont find out the true reason he is haunted by the war (which is not the opening ambush as it is suggested in the plot) until we near the end of the film.
Brian Presley's character is also given little development. For example, we are given little or no indication as to why his father hates him, or what it was that was so hard for him to deal with, that he had to go back to the war, we are just expected to know and understand. It is for this exact reason that i think the film fails to achieve its goal. It should make the audience understand why soldiers struggle outside of war, to empathise with them. Instead, it makes us question why they can't cope with life at home, and quite frankly makes you want to tell most of them to just deal with it. This is solely because we are not given the chance to identify with, or get to know and understand the characters before, during and after the war, which would allow us to feel sympathy for their situations.
For any film fanatic who actually appreciates the importance of plot development, character and audience relationships and emotional involvement, this film is not for you! it is a complete let down on all fronts. It might have succeeded had it concentrated on the stories of one or perhaps two soldiers and given more of a backstory before showing their lives back home.
And one thing that annoys me more than any other is the fact that they refer to Curtis (50 Cent) Jackson as an 'army speciallist'... In no way do they show or explain what he is so special at, besides jumping off of a one foot ledge and twisting his ankle, shooting the first thing he sees and holding up a fast food restaurant where he then proceeds to get shot while surrendering!
Basically i would only reccommend this film to someone who would only have it on in the background and not pay attention to how realy, quite bad it is. And even then i would only reccommend it if you got it for free.