Sappy se­quel on war hero

San Francisco Chronicle - - MOVIE REVIEWS - By David Lewis David Lewis is a Bay Area free­lance writer.

“Un­bro­ken: Path to Re­demp­tion,” one of the sap­pi­est “se­quels” ever made, con­tin­ues the true story of the orig­i­nal, har­row­ing “Un­bro­ken” directed by An­gelina Jolie — and ap­proaches a haunted avi­a­tor’s rocky jour­ney to spir­i­tual sal­va­tion as if it were a Hall­mark movie of the week.

Louis Zam­perini is a World War II hero who, af­ter years of tor­tur­ous im­pris­on­ment in Ja­pan, has re­turned to his home­town of Tor­rance (Los An­ge­les County) to start his life over. But he has very se­ri­ous is­sues — al­co­holism and PTSD — and he is not deal­ing with them. This is fer­tile ma­te­rial, some­thing that could be akin to “The Best Years of Our Lives,” but the movie lands in “Leave It to Beaver” ter­ri­tory.

It doesn’t take long for the emo­tions to ring hol­low. When Louis (Sa­muel Hunt) meets Cyn­thia Applewhite (Mer­ritt Pat­ter­son) in Florida, it’s al­legedly love at first sight, but we gag as they trade cutesy one-lin­ers. We have no idea what they see in each other, be­sides that he’s a dash­ing war hero and she’s a beau­ti­ful young woman. Ev­ery frame of their re­la­tion­ship — the heart of the film — comes off as phony.

Equally un­con­vinc­ing is the in­ner turmoil of Louis, a sit­u­a­tion made worse by some cheesy war flash­backs. Ev­ery­thing in this movie is san­i­tized and po­lite as pos­si­ble: PTSD and al­co­holism for a fam­ily val­ues au­di­ence. The film didn’t have to be this way to achieve its Chris­tian mes­sage; in fact, all the fake mo­ments only un­der­mine that mes­sage.

Di­rec­tor Harold Cronk gets more con­fi­dent in the fi­nal scenes, when Louis at­tends a tent re­vival led by Billy Gra­ham (his son Will Gra­ham, con­vinc­ing) and finds his spir­i­tual bear­ings. But for the most part, we’ve al­ready checked out — be­cause the path to get­ting to that re­demp­tion has been so in­suf­fer­able.

Tony Rivetti Jr., SMPSP / Pure Flix

Cyn­thia Applewhite (Mer­ritt Pat­ter­son) and Louis Zam­perini (Sa­muel Hunt) find their good life haunted by Louis’ World War II ex­pe­ri­ences shown in cheesy flash­backs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.