Men of Honor Movie Review
Academy Award winners Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Robert DeNiro team up in Men of Honor, but the results are less than expected.
I had heard good things about Men of Honor, a movie based on true-life Carl Brashear and the hardships he went through to rise in the ranks of the Navy, being the first black diver to be admitted. I had even higher hopes for DeNiro and Gooding, Jr., although his last feat, Instinct, wasn't exactly spectacular.
But the problems are evident throughout the film, and those problems bring Men of Honor down. First off and most obvious is the trite nature of the film. The movie plays just like any other military drama, and although I realize that you can be only so original, the story is not much different than any other film about a person defying the odds. No offense to Mr. Brashear, but Men of Honor is a just a fill-in-the-blanks military drama, with a few extremities.
The biggest problem, though, is that the film moves choppily, and, for the most part, is boring. There are some exciting scenes, like when Brashear is trying to save a fellow diver, or where he is looking for a nuclear warhead and encounters a Russian submarine, but the rest is arduous. I shifted endlessly in my seat as the movie lagged on, and I was still doing it during the climax (a courtroom scene, of course). The dramatic events didn't seem connected well enough.
It didn't help that I never got into Brashear's character. I thought DeNiro did a good job and I even got into the emotional struggle with Brashear's wife, but I never connected with Brashear himself. I wasn't impressed with Gooding's performance, and more so with the script. The lines that came out of his mouth didn't seem like something that a normal, or even above normal person would say.
Men of Honor is a typical military drama, but I can deal with that. What I can't deal with is the slow developments and erratic acting performance by the lead actor. Men of Honor could have been something, but it isn't.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.