of Honor " on DVD
by Johnny Bray
Ever since Cuba Gooding Jr. won his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Jerry
Maguire, he seems to be trying a little too hard to be "Academy Award
Winner Cuba Gooding Jr.". Men of Honor is no exception.
The movie is based on the life of Carl Brashear, the first African-American
to become a U.S. Navy diver. Of course, the film takes place in the 50's
and 60's, so the other divers - as well as the Navy bigwigs - aren't too
happy about a "colored" being amongst them.
Needless to say, Brashear (Gooding Jr.) overcomes the odds, and a racist
Master Chief (De Niro), to become the only thing he's ever wanted to be.
The first hundred minutes or so are very good. It has action, suspense,
you get the idea. And it clearly defines the two main characters:
Brashear and Master Chief Billy Sunday. It doesn't take us long to figure
out how much of a jerk Sunday is.
The last half hour, unfortunately, is much more bland. It begins to repeat
itself, in that we already understand that Brashear had a tough time becoming
a diver. We don't need to have it shoved down our throats.
The best aspect of the film is how it doesn't hit us over the head with
the fact that Brashear was hated because he was black. Of course it's
a part of the movie, but not the part most emphasized, as would be the
case in a movie by, say
De Niro, as always, steals the show. Sometimes his southern accent is
a little shaky, but that's understandable coming from an Italian. Gooding
Jr., as aforementioned, is good, but shouldn't try so hard. It's like
a great actor once said: "Acting is easy, as long as you don't get caught
Men of Honor is a well-made film that could be enjoyed by almost anyone.
There's some naughty language, some gratuitous scenes, and some controversial
subject matter, but in my experience that means it's more likely to be
The "Special Edition" DVD is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, enhanced
for widescreen TVs, with English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, English and
French Dolby Surround, and English or Spanish subtitles. The picture and
sound are both superb, which is to be expected of a DVD but which, unfortunately,
doesn't always happen.
As well, there are a multitude of extras that will keep you busy for
a while. They include an alternate ending (which I don't quite understand
considering it's a true story); deleted scenes; commentary by the director,
star, and producer; featurettes and documentaries; a music video; and
of course, the trailer and TV spots.
Men of Honor, from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
128 minutes, widescreen (2.35:1), enhanced for 16X9 TVs, 5.1 Surround
Starring Robert De Niro, Cuba Gooding Jr., Hal Holbrook, Michael Rapaport,
and Charlize Theron
Produced by Robert Teitel, Bill Badalato
Written by Scott Marshall Smith, Directed by George Tillman Jr.
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