Christian Movie Reviews: Last Ounce of Courage

On the back of the DVD, there’s a quote from Chuck Norris that reads, “This is a wonderful family film to watch time and time again, as we have in our home.”

Chuck, you’re the epitome of manliness, but you don’t know jack shiz about good cinema.

This is my review of Last Ounce of Courage!

Riding off into the sunset of bad cinema.

I waited to go into rant mode in my “Christian Mingle The Movie” review, but this whole review is going to be a rant, so here we go:

(Commencing Rant Mode) It’s generally not a good sign when I’m already hitting my face with my movie review notebook (yes, I have one of those cause I like to take notes during a movie) within the first five minutes of a movie.   This movie has a MAJOR structural issue, and that’s made evident in the first five minutes.  The opening scene is filmed as if it were the climax; fast transitions, jump cuts from characters aboard to characters back home, letter-reading voiceovers that have characters saying things that the movie expects us to know about them, even though we’ve just met these people.   Intense openers have their place in movies, but man, it can really kick you in the keister when executed poorly.  On top of that, you’ll notice very quickly that a lot of scenes look like they were edited by a French Revolution executioner with a butcher knife.

I don’t normally criticize character name choices, but holy cow, when your good guys are named “Bob Revere” and “Christian,” and you actually name your antagonist “The Hammer,” that tells me that the filmmakers see these people as props for an agenda, not characters to be fleshed-out and developed.

The narration…Good Lord, the voiceover narration is the reason why the main character is unable to give a good performance.  His whole personality and all of his motivations are explained to us heavy-handedly.  “I had been passive for too long.  My son died for freedom and I had to take a stand…” Gee, Bob, I sure would have loved to have seen this conveyed from a thoughtful performance instead of being spoon-fed to me via narration.

Speaking of character motivations, the people who don’t get voiceover narration just do things out of nowhere.  For instance, when Bob’s son Thomas is killed in Iraq, his daughter-in-law Kari just leaves the family because….the Illuminati!  Then fourteen years later, Kari and her teenage son Christian visit them out of the blue because…unicorns!  Where Grace Unplugged allowed the characters to be believable, Last Ounce of Courage uses each character as a pawn, so this restrains all of the actors from giving any kind of performance.  Also because all of the characters are agenda props, they’re never given realistic motivations or personalities.  Even the poorly-paced Courageous understood proper character development!

As a happy little Independent (I’m Purple, da ba de da ba die), I have nothing against FOX News.  I don’t think they should be compared to Hitler, but they’re certainly not the Messiah of the journalism world.  With all that in mind: This is the kind of movie that FOX News would make.  Every. Single. Line. Of. Dialogue is a red-state talking point, every character fits into the “Conservative Christian White Male” Bible-belt stereotype, and the “save Christmas” ascept is shoehorned into the story with little to no personal connection to the protagonists’ lives.

Religious liberty is an issue in this country (leave Hobby Lobby alone!)  Anyway, this movie intends to tackle this issue, but an incoherent script, constrained acting and preachy, in-your-face dialogue is not going to compel anyone to take the Religious Freedom movement seriously.

Saint Thomas Moore, pray for us.

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