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With Jim Sabatini

Home of the Brave

Home of the Brave
Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Brian Presley

Rated: R for war violence and language
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: May 11, 2007 Released by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.

Irwin Winkler's harried Home of the Brave is about Iraq war veterans reacclimating themselves as civilians. It's getting a second chance at a theatrical release that may be unnecessary.

The director of De-Lovely hasn't made something very watchable that shares thematic elements with Coming Home or The Best Years of Our Lives. There is still hope that stars like Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel (Next), and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson (Get Rich or Die Tryin') can attract in light of the many cliches in this sincere first feature about the fallout of a conflict more convoluted than Vietnam.

The staging of striking insurgents on National Guard soldiers about to head home isn't effective, and Spokane, Washington becomes the setting for the survivors trying to get on with their lives.

Jackson's surgeon turns to alcohol and loses the intimacy with his wife (Victoria Rowell) while his rebellious teenager (Sam Jones III) goes to school with a "Buck Fush" t-shirt on.

Brian Presley's Tommy, who lost his best friend, isn't that happy at a chance to serve the community as an officer while toiling as a cashier at a cineplex.

Biel's Vanessa now has an artificial limb, going for a meaningful relationship, as she struggles as a single mom who teaches physical education.

"50 Cent" does his best with an underwritten part that has his manic Jamal in a bad state after fighting through the red tape of the Veterans Administration.

Winkler doesn't go for any sharp political messages, but there is little intriguie and subtext to what is familiar and too sentimental. And the interaction of the veterans carries little vigor or poignancy to it.

Home of the Brave appears to take its best shot at the blood and tears shed by these vets, but something this opaque doesn't have a chance to reach its target.

  Frank Chris Tony Jim Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Home of the Brave       D+       D+

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