Last Ounce of Courage Reviews
I think the fact that viewers give this 70% while "critics" give it 0% is yet more proof-positive of the types of people the "critics" are. If a movie stands for anything patriotic, represents traditional values, or anything remotely Christian at all, the lower its score. So, nuts to the "critics", who couldn't critique their way out of a paper bag.
If so, Last Ounce Of Courage is for you! A brain-dead drama for people who would answer yes to one or more of the questions above. There is not an ounce of creativity. There is no respect for Christmas, Christians, the troops, or America. The acting is below porn standards (Though at least in porn, there might be some titillation in the form of nudity and sex as an end reward for putting up with the awful acting). The direction is awful. In short, it is a shameful exploitation film. It has no respect for anything it claims to champion - it only wants your money if you fall under its target audience while laughing at you.
Do not be fooled by this film or the people who claim it to be as the ever-so-wonderful Dove Foundation states in their 5/5 acclaim on the box, "This movie is about freedom!" It has no care for this country despite constant flag-waving (There are so many American flags in this film and its messages are so blunt that I was expecting the America, Fuck Yeah! song from Team America: World Police to start playing) and plays at justifying the fears of its target audience. It also hurts to see that this film gained the Chuck Norris seal of approval to which I respond: everyone makes mistakes - even Chuck Norris.
This film is disgusting, deplorable exploitation - and poorly made, disgusting, deplorable exploitation, to boot. Let me try to explain why. I know my review will bear no weight to people who adore this film and blindly praise it, but I'm still going to rip this film a new asshole because it deserves every bad review that it gets.
The film begins with a family being separated from one another (With footage of the family patriarch riding a motorcycle with an American flag being spliced in): the Reveres (Boy, aren't we starting off subtle?). The son, Thomas Revere is off to war, leaving not only his parents behind, but his wife, Kari, and his newborn son, Christian (For fuck's sake, can we get some time before you start bludgeoning the viewer with your symbolism?).
Thomas Revere is killed, leaving behind a widow and son, while his parents do their best to go forward from such a senseless tragedy.
Bob Revere is a veteran himself, and is generally beloved around town as he is both the mayor and pharmacist (Who along with his wife runs the local VFW) in a community that feels like it's trying to be the idealized 50's suburban utopia that is slowly having its values stripped away by secular people, especially Christmas decorations and beliefs.
Years after the death of his son, his daughter-in-law, Kari, and his now-teenaged grandson, Christian stumble back into their lives to live with Bob and his wife. Naturally, there is some animosity towards Kari for apparently not handling the death of her husband in a certain way and leaving his parents to deal with the grief alone and their grandson away for a long time.
As of late, there have been more disputes over Christmas decorations to point of where the town isn't even allowed to have them. Even the VFW isn't allowed to display decorations. Naturally, the nativity isn't allowed, either.
Even the school isn't allowed to perform the nativity scene (Despite you know, the whole separation of church and state being in place as it is a public school. This rule is in place for good reasons, people. Theocracies are a TERRIBLE idea). Instead the play is some weird take on it involving aliens and...well, I really don't know. Not only are the scenes involving the play completely stupid, but they also tried to be funny and were no such thing, only adding to the pain.
Becoming irritated by people with such whiny sensibilities, Bob decides to defy the demands to remove the decorations with the support of his grandson, who intends to sabotage the school play and do it properly.
But Bob has no idea what's he's gotten himself into when he draws the attention of the attorney, Warren Hammerschmidt - the film's portrayal of the ACLU in all but name who orders Bob to comply with the demands to take down Christmas decorations, or face being removed as mayor and even going to jail if he continues to defy orders.
It's up to Bob to save is 50's suburban utopia from the evil secular people who are total assholes about Christmas with all the flag-waving you can imagine and an appearance by God, no less (No, really. God shows up in this film) and rebuilding his family ties.
The story can be funny at times, but for all the wrong reasons. But unfortunately, it's not consistently funny in its badness like the hilariously awful anti-rock music flick, Rock: It's Your Decision. No, sadly, it's largely boring and made worse by its offensive, exploitative nature on the topics it claims to support.
The story could have been a compelling drama about a family torn apart by the death of a loved one in war and coming to terms with the tragedy, but no, this plot will not allow something rich with possibilities of depth, heart, and emotion to blossom and instead uses it as a platform to pander while shoe-horning scare tactics and beliefs of its target audience into the mix. There's no respect for troops here. There's no discussion about the nature of war and the effects it has on the troops and their families. It only wants to siphon the money out of the pockets of its target audience that will blindly eat up this crap solely because it pretends to conform to their belief set. It doesn't care about you or your beliefs: it only wants your money.
Then there's the issue of faith, as it is a Christian film. Once again, there is no meaningful discussion about faith - NONE. Much like its pathetic flag-waving and go-America-go attempts at faux-patriotism, it treats this topic with no respect in the slightest. I crave explorations of this topic in these films that claim to be Christian, but rarely do I get them.
Faith and spirituality are wonderful things. To believe in a benevolent higher power who also encourages you to be kind to your fellow man and better yourself, to know that said power will be watching you and guiding you out of the darkness in times of need, to appeal to it when others are in trouble, and a litany other elements. I do believe in God and I believe it because of things that have happened in my life and I know that there are things in this world that cannot be explained away.
The opportunities for exploring this topic are endless. A couple of my favorites when it comes to films with overt Christian themes are The Nun's Story and Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, both of which explored the various aspects of faith, while still retaining the essential element that is so sorely lacking in Christian films: the human element. The good times, the bad times, the darkest of times, and our flaws as human beings and questioning said higher power. Those two films hit those elements dead-on and were quite powerful and emotionally resonant because of that.
Last Ounce Of Courage treats faith and its Christian audience with less respect than if it had burned Bibles and crosses onscreen for its 90-odd-minute running time. Much like its pretend support of America and its troops, it serves only one purpose: money. Actually, two, I guess. The second using said higher power as a political mouthpiece rather than how God should be viewed. You know the old saying, "God works in mysterious ways"? God's not your mouthpiece on your soapbox. God does what God does - simple as that.
And of course, there's the topic of the war on Christmas. I'm not denying there are stupid assholes who get pissy over these decorations because they feel the need to be offended over everything. However, as any person who's at least half-sane will notice, you would be hard-pressed to not only find such people a lot of the time (And then laugh them off because they're fucking stupid), but in such levels of power as to apparently remove a mayor from his position and throw him in fucking jail. What universe does this film take place in where evil atheists siege a town and violate laws like this on a whim to throw people in jail like it's a fucking dictatorship?
Also, to get this out of the way. No, people. Atheists are not evil people. Much like how I know many Christians who are good people, I also know many atheists who are also good people (And no, they are not dead on the inside or sad, either). They are not out to destroy you or your beliefs, regardless of what this film or God's Not Dead taught you. The atheists are depicted as being cartoonishly evil, while the Christians are the white knights with the main character practically being Jesus. It's ludicrous and creepily narcissistic in tone, especially as God himself appears in the film.
And this is another issue with the plot: there are no human beings in this film. None. They are all mouthpiece caricatures of perpetuated stereotypes to enforce rigid beliefs and scare tactics. In order for a film about faith to work, you need the human element, even with all our flaws and less than Godly ways to make something like this work. When you resort to nothing but caricatures, there is no reason to care and there is no level of honesty.
To sum up the story if your eyes haven't glazed over yet: IT"S COMPLETE SHIT. Dishonest, stupid, insulting bullshit.
The acting is also something to behold. Largely, it's quite terrible. Nobody really knows how to inflect, the dialogue is atrociously bad and becomes painful when uttered, and it also at times manages to be campy...solely because of blaxploitation actor, Fred Williamson (Whom I fondly remember for such "classics" as the Black Cobra trilogy and Death Journey).
Fred Williamson is the only reason to keep watching this miserable turd. He seems fully aware of what kind of crap he's found himself in and makes the most out of his ridiculous role with villainy worthy of a cheesy 80's or 90's cartoon (And even smoking a big-ass cigar, to boot). He's having a good time while performing and because of him, the film gets a much better rating than it deserves because he's too damn fun to hate (Though sadly there's not enough of him to redeem the film into so-bad-it's-good territory).
None of the other actors are worth mentioning. They just suck ass.
As far as entertainment goes, there's pretty much nothing to be found outside of Fred Williamson's campy performance. The drama is vapid, poorly written, and devoid of any emotion or insight, its messages are false and never once ring of sincerity or care, the direction is poor, the acting is dreadful, and it also has a reeking odor of self-indulgence and narcissism to satisfy its intended audience. But worst of all: it's boring as fuck.
Overall, this is definitely not something you should watch, unless you like being pandered to despite what panders to you enjoys insulting your intelligence at every turn.
Before I end this review, there is one last thing I must address, and it is in regards to Chuck Norris' reasoning for endorsing the film.
"It was an easy choice to endorse this film because its message is consistent with my life principles and core values."
This is a terrible reason to endorse a film and it scares me how people will blindly praise crap like this solely because it agrees with a particular view point (Or, on the flip side, panning a film for differing in opinion).
For example, I'm gay. Despite this, am I going to praise a film solely because it's about being gay and endorsing it? No. In fact, many such films have fallen victim to some of my harshest reviews because even though they might adhere to certain aspects of my beliefs, usually, they are nothing more than exploitation to get money out of me and I end up feeling insulted because of that. All they end up doing is insulting gay people, regardless of what they claim to believe in.
Just because a film has a message or messages consistent with your own beliefs, doesn't mean it should get a pass. In fact, it should be scrutinized more carefully, much like this film.
I wander if people that hated this movie that gave no stars, why bother writing?
Sure the acting wasn't amazing, nor was it an amazing script. I believe people like this because they can side with the story.
We all must give the proverbial devil his due if we truly wish to uphold equality. As Saul Bellow so eloquently wrote, "Everybody knows there is no fineness or accuracy of suppression; if you hold down one thing, you hold down the adjoining." With all due respect, admiration, and apologies to an immensely talented writer, Mr. Bellow was obviously mistaken when he included "everyone" in his otherwise remarkably profound statement.
It's really time to make a stand for what this Country was built on.
ONE NATION UNDER GOD