A Civil War epic, following the trials and tribulations of the first all-black regiment in US history. At first they face enemies on both sides of the battlefield, but through such adversity comes dogged perseverance and they gradually convince their peers that not only is the cause a just one, but they all merit a role in the fight. Matthew Broderick is an unusual choice as the squad's tough, dedicated commander, only a few years removed from light-hearted comedy roles, and he isn't always convincing. The really meaty parts come from the troops themselves, anyway, and those ranks are filled out quite well. Morgan Freeman is excellent as the weathered voice of reason, a man who's seen the remnants of battle and tries to prepare the recruits for what's to come, but the standout performance belongs to a young Denzel Washington. As Private Trip, an escaped slave with a lifetime of pent-up anger that frequently threatens to swallow him, Washington's outbursts, protests, inner turmoil and ultimate vindication make up the film's lifeblood. Some of the battle scenes show their age, but that's not what it's about in the end, really. Heavy on the emotions and just a bit sappy, it's an important story done justice and a true dramatic powerhouse.