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Men of Honor
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Cuba Gooding, Jr., Robert De Niro, Charlize Theron
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Kiddie Movie: No.  Too adult.
Date Movie: Sure, bring her along.
Gratuitous Sex: No.
Gratuitous Violence: Some fighting and suspense, but no real violence.
Action: Yes, and some gore.
Laughs: A couple of chuckles.
Memorable Scene: When Carl gets his leg nearly torn off.
Memorable Quote: Nah.
Directed By: George Tillman, Jr.
Produced By: Robert Teitel

Men of Honor
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - R

It's 2:09 Long

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
Do you want to see a really good movie with two really good actors playing two really good parts? Go see "Men of Honor" and see that yes, Cuba Gooding, Jr., is for real and can act his ass off, and see that yes, Robert De Niro is for real and can act his ass off.

"Men of Honor" is one of those movies that toggles that line between inspirational and sensational and doesnít stray so far into either field that you lose the sense that the story isnít anything but real. And that is hard to do with this story for the simple fact that it is easy to depict the rise of a black man in a racist navy and make you feel sad for him, and it is easy to tell the story of one man struggling to be the best he can so you root for him, but either story can be so overdone that loss of perspective is easy to find. But "Men of Honor" mixes both stories in such a way that yes, you might find the racism repulsive, but in the end you are rooting for Carl to win because, well, white or black, he deserves it.

This is the story of Carl Brashear (Cuba Gooding Jr.). Growing up on his dadís farm, well, his dad doesnít want any of his kids to have to toil the way he has had to. Dad is a proud man and when Carl goes off to join the navy, his dad wants his son to be the best and tells him not to return to the farm. But Carl enters the navy at a time when, although desegregated, blacks arenít taken seriously and not allowed to rise in the ranks. Carl sees things differently and begins to challenge those feelings not by complaining about it, but just by showing that he can be good at the job he loves Ė being a navy diver. His obstacles are many, from racist students at diving school to his lack of education, but mostly standing in his way is Billy Sunday (De Niro), a man mostly racist because he felt blacks took the farming jobs away, but still hell bent on making sure Carl doesnít graduate from diving school.

But Carl never gives up. His chicken of a classmate gets the medal that is rightly his for saving the life of another student and Carl just moves on. He challenges Sunday to a bout of who can hold their breath longer, wins, but still doesnít get the respect and Carl just moves on. His final diving test is sabotaged yet Carl moves on. Carl just wants to be the best and will not quit, and in the end Sunday wonít let him quit.

This is a story that shows you racism as a wrong challenge for someone to have to overcome, but is also so much a story about a man who wonít quit that it doesnít get that preachy feel that it could have easily gone for. Cuba is fantastic as Carl, with the emotions in all of the right places, and De Niroís performance reminded me of the commanding presence that Nicholson had in "A Few Good Men."

So, if you want a great drama with some quality suspense and just a good story of one man overcoming any obstacle in his path, "Men of Honor" does that without shoving it down your throat. If youíre looking for a good war movie, this isnít it. In the end itís 4 Ĺ stars out of 5 for "Men of Honor." I was entertained without feeling preached to, treated to some great acting by Gooding and De Niro, and even though Charlize Theron kept her clothes on, I didnít feel cheated.

Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

 

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