Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed Reviews
Now, the first film focused on Battle of the Bulge, this second film focused on Operation Dragoon, which is the paratrooper invasion of Southern France post D-Day. Essentially what happens is the 517th Paratrooper Regiment gets dropped and they find themselves separated and far from their drop point. As they strive to meet up they run into French Resistance, armored German units, combined with flashbacks of their stories, including the resistance, as they try to find the rest of their unit.
This film is meant to be a small-scale war film. Like the first it is not there to tell a massive Saving Private Ryan story, instead its a small more personal tale of soldiers, each of course with religious overtones. I believe this has a very important place in films as its an era of religion and honor that we have not had in quite a while. This film emphasizing that not only with religious overtones but also the repetition of the 'airborne creed' itself.
The story is small, I will say that now, when it was done my reaction was, is that all? What was the point? Reading other reviews for this film, other people agree with my sentiment. What was the point of this film? I believe that several things affected this film. First of all the first film was a novelty and there was a controversy as the film got an R rating, despite the directors (Ryan Little is LDS), trying to get a PG-13 rating. The reason behind the original film's ORIGINAL R rating was thus:
"The majority of the people who bought this are probably aware that Saints and Soldiers, when it was originally rated, received a "R" rating. And as we went through that process, for lack of a better term, went to war with the MPAA to find out what it was that we did that constituted a "R" rating, this was one of those scenes that came to them. And again, it came to personalized violence. They said, you care about these characters, and to see them die in a horrific way is worthy of this rating."
After seeing the original my thoughts were, "really? that warranted an R-rating?" But their reasoning is there and there was a controversy with it. (See: Source)
This film is toned down though looks clean and very well filmed. I am not familiar with France but due to the small scale of the film, it did not really take away, even though I am sure that is Utah or at least near Utah. There are several scenes of action that work well and then others that are way too choppy, one example being a hand to hand action scene that obviously shows that the actors either cannot fight or the director cannot film action, as it is cut after cut after cut and quite annoying. But for the most part the filming is just fine.
Acting wise, its very adequate. A lot of the characters are very idealistic and its a bit too gung-go but like Red Tails earlier this year, jingoistic films are not terrible and these characters and the actors working with them are just fine. The standout is Lincoln Hoppe who plays the German character Erich Neumann (he too was in Saints and Soldiers as a German soldier). Too bad his story arc just ends right when you feel so good for him but I wont stay on this. Alas this film with its "what was the point" ends several story arcs in ways that may be true to the tale it wants to tell (I assume just like the original this is based off a real story and it was released in November for Veterans Day), but left me not satisfied.
This is a film I would say see if you like World War 2 films, have some time, and want to support independent films. It has a 94 minute run time so it does not overstay its welcome long (if at all). Alas its just not as good as I would like or it could have been being a followup to a multiple award winning film. I give Saints and Soldiers Airborne Creed a 6/10.