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Overall Rating

Awesome: 18.75%
Worth A Look: 14.06%
Average: 31.25%
Pretty Bad34.38%
Total Crap: 1.56%

5 reviews, 34 user ratings

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Men of Honor
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by Greg Muskewitz

"It never goes beyond average. Been there, done that."
2 stars

Men of Honor is just like the non-algebraic equation of The Little Engine That Could, only the engine variable is replaced by Black Boy: The Little Black Boy That Could. Itís another Oscar-would-be hopeful like Pay It Forward, where to largely rewarding and rewarded actors (Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding, Jr.) are stuck in melodramatic blah.

Applying the equation to the plot, the little black boy who quit elementary school to help his father keep their sharecrop, who joined the Navy to become a diver, and then to be the first with one leg. A hero on all sides. This is all very treaded material. We know that racism was prevalent during the 1940s to the 1960s when this took place, but is there ever any doubt that Gooding wonít rise to the challenges and overcome? Itís formulaic, predictable and clichť. Only ennui is evident in this umpteenth, mega-millionth, or je ne sais quoi retelling of this material, despite the fact that itís based on something true. It becomes as hyperbolic Hollywood as Erin Brockovich. And if thatís any sign of how well this will do, all I can do is sigh.

Men of Honor is not a bad movie, but considering how many times this has been turned into repetition, itís basic and banal. If you dig movies like this, it propensively goes by the numbers, but never distinguishes itself from the muddle of the rest, therefore, it gets no recognition or recommendation. Itís canned empathy and amplified melodrama. Been there, done that.

The same stands for the performances. Gooding is well cast for this type of role, but they donít use him for his effectiveness. He seems too restrained; aside from the racism lecture we get here as seen in numerous other movies, Goodingís control is ephemeral. De Niro does De Niro, corners of his mouth pinned down, eyes wide and all encompassing. He offers nothing new and isnít given the opportunity to make it interesting. Charlize Theron, who has been on the screen all too much lately, does another uninvolved role, showing no emotion beyond whatís written in the parentheticals in the script (ďGwen smiles. Gwen cries. Gwen opens her mouth in surprise.Ē). Theron is so far removed that itís simply a line-reading. Michael Rapaport fares along the better, but not for much time.

Director George Tillman, Jr. did a much better job with Soul Food, his debut picture. The interest of the characters is what pushed on in that movie. Here Tillman just falls trap to a script (by newbie Scott Marshall Smith) that doesnít know how to define itself. Tillman doesnít do bad, but he does ordinary, and in this case, ordinary isnít good enough.

I donít want to down play the real life accomplishments achieved by the real Carl Breashear (whom Gooding portrays), because those accomplishments were and still are groundbreaking and venerable. Unfortunately we only get a hackeyed view of what they were, and in that presentation, itís average all around. And that isnít good enough.

Final Verdict: C.

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originally posted: 11/11/00 12:14:03
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User Comments

1/19/19 Dan This is the worst review I have ever read. Maybe you should go chat with some real ND's 4 stars
12/22/14 brian pardoe Ridicuolous review you've given. Inspired by a true story - it doesn't need novelty 5 stars
11/12/09 cuba gooding jr my fav movie of all time 5 stars
11/02/09 tinr29 nice but its too melodramatic 2 stars
10/13/08 Shaun Wallner Awesome story! 5 stars
9/30/06 Tamara D. Leonard Awesome movie. One of my favorites. I can watch it over and over, never tiring of it. 5 stars
8/18/05 ES boring, uninspired blah, two hours I want back 2 stars
8/03/05 rosalyn its was so nice movie 4 stars
5/22/05 Elizabeth should Talk about hate 3 stars
4/06/05 Ronin A good movie indeed 4 stars
10/14/04 sidhant petwal its a movie which inspires to be the best, to give the best in you and never give up 4 stars
8/25/04 Collins Shiri It is worth watching over and over again. The viewer gets emotionally involved to a large e 5 stars
4/21/04 Kayla Walkom This was an awesome movie. The first time that I watched it it blew me away. 5 stars
4/20/04 raquel i thought this movie was a great movie and shows that if u work hard u can acheive anything 5 stars
10/13/03 John Bale Predictable well worn territory not saved by hard working actors. 3 stars
8/08/03 Sylvanna It wa a great film. 5 stars
8/05/03 Andrew Minor Minor Flaws, Brillant film 5 stars
7/03/03 R.W. Welch Obviously hyped for dramatic effect but a basically a strong story. A bit strung strong out 3 stars
6/10/03 Jack Bourbon I couldn't believe I was renting it. I was shocked to actually enjoy it. 4 stars
3/04/03 Jack Sommersby Unexpectedly winning and touching. The two stars really shine here. 4 stars
2/18/03 Joesco Forget the cynics - Brashear is a hero and De Niro & Gooding are brilliant 5 stars
12/21/02 palaboy101 triumph in the face of adversity 5 stars
12/16/02 Panu Peiponen pretty awesome 5 stars
1/08/02 Andrew Carden Tries To Be As Serious As Meant To Be, but Fails. 2 stars
11/27/01 malcolm a bit melodramatic but very good. an emotional film. 4 stars
11/14/01 phil m. afficiando Comic book version of what was a compelling story in real life; too much baloney. 3 stars
4/21/01 Monday Morning If it wasn't a true story I'd think it was too hokey...but hell, let's be nice for once. 4 stars
12/14/00 Jules Predictable, but moderately entertaining. 3 stars
12/10/00 vessejoigt Good flick 4 stars
11/21/00 Tdis72 Not as bad as I thought it was gonna be, but not great either! 3 stars
11/13/00 poetchuck No cliches left for any other film to use this season 2 stars
11/12/00 Jojo The Idiot Circus Boy I've seen one legged porn with more plot then this. 1 stars
11/12/00 kohawk ending of movie was a wanna-be Scent of a Woman.Pretty crappy? pretty corny. 3 stars
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  10-Nov-2000 (R)


  22-Feb-2001 (M)

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