Friday, June 13, 2014

Movie Review: Courageous

Courageous by Sherwood Pictures


Recommended For: Ages 10 to Adult (Interest level)

Rating: PG-13 (for some violence and drug content)
  Being about cops, there are some chase sequences and fights as they capture drug dealers, but I did not find the violence to be gratuitous or the content offensive.

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, David Thomson, and Shane Fuller are confident and focused. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood.

While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they're quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God ... and to their children?

Filled with action-packed police drama, COURAGEOUS is the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Viewers will once again find themselves laughing, crying, and cheering as they are challenged and inspired by everyday heroes who long to be the kinds of dads that make a lifelong impact on their children.

Protecting the streets is second nature to these men. Raising their children in a God-honoring way? That's courageous.

Though I'm not a father and never will be, I would be among the first to say that Courageous is a movie you don't want to miss. It has some hilarious moments and some tear jerking ones, and a message we can all take something from, even though it is primarily directed at fathers. The film explores what it truly means to be a father, and why it is so important. Again, I say you don't want to miss Courageous.

Technical 4/5

Watching this movie, it's hard to believe that it was made by the same people who made Flywheel. Where that film screamed amateurish, Courageous shouts professional. The filming and editing appear on par with a professional movie, and while it's not a big special effects film, the ones it does have, (mainly car chases) do not look fake. The acting is miles ahead of Flywheel and Facing the Giants. The reason I didn't give technical 5 out of 5 is because there are a few small lapses in the acting quality. The pastor that officiates the signing of the fathers' resolutions says his lines as if he's not used to acting, and a select few of Javier's lines felt a teeny bit either awkwardly written or said to me. There are also a few bits of dialogue that seem slightly contrived, but still, nothing major enough to take away from the enjoyment of the film.

Setting 5/5

Like the other Sherwood Pictures films, Courageous is set and filmed in Albany, GA. It is portrayed as a very real life, modern, somewhat small town, and it seems entirely realistic. Just as a side note, pay attention to the audio when Adam Mitchell is watching TV. There's a reference to Fireproof.

Plot 5/5

This is the reason the Kendricks brothers' movies got popular before they had the resources to make professional quality films. Not only has it got just about everything in it, humor, sorrow, inspirational moments, non-preachy lessons, it's just plain a good story. It is essentially about being a good father, telling it through a major character arc, but there are other storylines woven throughout, such as Javier's struggles to support his family and the cops' job chasing and trying to capture drug dealers. I never found the story to drag, and it has the right balance of action, drama, and heart to make it a story that is well worth watching and will be long remembered.

Character Development 4/5

The characters are well developed, much better than the characters in Red Dawn. (I had to say it, I hate both the original and the remake of that movie.) Adam Mitchell, as the protagonist, has the biggest character arc, but the rest of the men, Shane, Nathan, David and Javier, also have distinct personalities. My only complaint is that I would have liked to get to know their families better. The family members with the best development are Adam's wife and kids, Javier's wife, and Nathan's daughter. I suppose it probably would have messed up the pacing and storytelling to develop the others more, and it isn't really necessary, I just would have liked to see more of them. SPOILER I would have loved to see more of David's little girl, she's just so cute, but she only gets two little scenes. END SPOILER

Courageous is an excellent movie, and I highly recommend it.

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