The Navy Diver is not a fighting man, he is a salvage expert. If it is lost underwater, he finds it. If it's sunk, he brings it up.
A review by Mike Shea Movie Rating: ( * * * · · ) DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )
This movie had me excited about movies again. For some reason I was really looking forward to a nice, mainstream movie with some good acting, a little action, some period costume design and an interesting story. I did get that, but I got nothing else. Men of Honor felt like a cookie cutter drama. It has the very stable plot motivator of a man facing great odds to get where he deserves to be. It plays both the race and the "based on a true story" card, so if you say you don't like it, you are claiming to be a communist, a racist and stupid all at the same time. So I guess I have to like it.
Men of Honor has a lot of good points to it, mainly the acting. Michael Rappaport who proves once again that he is willing to play the role of the village idiot. His acting ability is excellent and he isn't afraid of being portrayed as the loser. This is a hard role to take and even harder to do well. He does it perfectly. Keep an eye on this actor, he is true talent.
The story and set design for Men of Honor are both very good. The period costumes from the uniforms to the diving suits all felt authentic without being overdone. The story holds true, almost to a fault. It seems that every character is so severe in their performance that our hero has no where to go but in the direction they point him. From the intense personality of his father, driving him to succeed at all costs to the crazy commander of his training facility. It is obvious that he has only way to go.
Unfortunately the movie makers felt that adding a romantic sub-plot to the story would help. I know, you are going to pull the "true story" license on me, but lets face it, they could have made it a minor piece of the story than the huge drama they ended up making. I wanted to see diving and I wanted to see great scenes between De Niro and Cuba. I did not want to see a library romance or an argument about duty over family. It reeked of cliche.
The DVD of Men of Honor was well put together. It had a clean 2.35 to 1, 16x9 enhanced picture and a Dolby Digital 5.1 sound track. There is a slew of extra features and a commentary with many of the cast and crew including Cuba and the director. There was no DTS track available.
Men of Honor wasn't a bad movie. I did find myself enjoying it even though I was being led by the nose through it instead of discovering some of the motivations myself. The acting, story and costume design is all top notch, but the simple way it is all laid out makes me feel as if I didn't have a choice but to like it. Compared to the other crap out there it is pretty good, but it isn't the most brain tinkering movie I have ever seen. Worth a look.