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Military training films are becoming so common that they are becoming a
genre unto themselves. Among the more prominent we have, `Officer and a
Gentleman', `Top Gun', `GI Jane', and now `Men of Honor'. The fact that
this one happened to be true doesn't change the fact that the formula is the
same. This film is probably most like `GI Jane' since it focuses on the
The story is actually quite inspirational and is probably the best human-interest story among those mentioned above. Carl Brashear (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) is unquestionably a man of great courage and principle, and his strength of character shines through brightly in this film. Unfortunately, director George Tillman has tunnel vision in presenting the characters and eschews character development of various characters other than Brashear in favor of showing Brashear in a constant state of adversity. Billy Sunday (Robert De Niro) is a central figure, and except for the initial scene, the fistfight and a couple of scenes with his wife, we don't know much about him. For instance, Brashear sees the scars on Sunday's palms and we are to assume that he worked a plow, but there is no follow-up on that point. Mr. Pappy (Hal Holbrook) gets only one short scene by which we can judge him. The rest of his screen time shows him pacing around and ranting. If a director is going to make a human-interest story, he needs to humanize the characters.
Cuba Gooding Jr. gives an outstanding performance as Brashear. This is probably the best I've seen him. This is a role and a character that is far more complete than any part he has played before, and he rises to the occasion. In `Jerry Maguire', Rod Tidwell was a fascinating, but one-dimensional character with the depth of a rain puddle. Brashear is much more complex and grounded, and the issues he faces are life crises, making the part far more challenging. This is an excellent recovery from Gooding's last role in `Chill Factor', a film so dreadful that it was almost an act of professional suicide to take the part.
After a stint trying his hand as a comedian (`Analyze This', `The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle', `Meet The Parents'), Robert DeNiro is back to his dramatic roots with an outstanding performance. DeNiro isn't a bad comedian, he is just such a great dramatic actor that it seems like he shouldn't waste his time doing comedy. DeNiro endows Billy Sunday with a rock hard personality belying a tortured soul. It is a pleasure watching him work.
It seems every film I watch lately has Charlize Theron in it. I saw `The Legend of Bagger Vance', `Men of Honor' and `The Yards' right in a row and I was beginning to wonder if she had a part in every film in 2000 (actually, she only did five). This was a minor role for Theron, but she carried it off well and managed to stay with DeNiro step for step. David Keith, who co-starred with Richard Gere in `Officer and a Gentleman', has a cameo here
The DVD has some interesting special features, including reflections by the real Carl Brashear and some deleted scenes.
I enjoyed this film despite the hackneyed plot and the one-dimensional presentation. I rated it a 7/10. I'm a sucker for underdog stories and I have a fondness for stories where strength of character is the central theme. This film is particularly strong in both areas and brings us two memorable acting performances that compensate for some of the director's shortcomings.
"Men of honor" - true story about a proud and persistent black navy diver (fabulous Cuba Gooding Jr.) is definitely a great movie that both touches and entertains and it's part of the absolute cream of the new millennium cinema. Wonderful acting is the main reason to make this movie something truly special and pretty enjoyable, splendid experience. Charismatic Robert De Niro is marvelous as rough, fierce and pitiless chief Billy Sunday - role is practically written for him. This film alongside with fantastic "15 minutes" (2001) are two of the latest proofs that he's still one of the very finest actors of our time. On the other hand "Men of honor" includes a fine performance from Cuba Gooding Jr. who has been one of the most promising young black actors since "Boyz n the hood". "Men of honor" goes straight into the company of "Jerry Maguire", "As good as it gets" and "Instinct". Cuba Gooding Jr. is a skillful and fantastic actor and I'm prepared to get lots of more terrific movies from him. "Men of honor" has also quite an excellent story-line and probably the most exciting diving sequences of the movie history. This is a great, fascinating movie and I can only recommend it.
This film is an excellent military movie. It may not be an excellent Hollywood Movie, but that does not matter. Hollywood has a reputation of sacrificing accuracy for good entertainment, but that is not the case with this movie. Other reviewers have found this movie to be too slow for their taste, but as a retired Soldier I appreciate the pace the movie crew deliberately took to tell their story as completely as possible given the two hours and nine minutes allotted. The story itself has been told and retold several times over, but it remains for a professional soldier and an African American at that to report on the story as presented by the movie crew, and as it presents the US Navy to the world. The story of Brashear's work to become a Navy Diver, and his life as a Navy Diver beyond his graduation, is not the only story that is presented. There I also the story of how Master Chief Petty Officer Sunday defied the illegal order of his Commanding Officer that Petty Officer 2nd Class Brashear not be passed in his test dive no matter how well he did, and paid the price of a loss of one Stripe and a change of assignment. It also told the true story how Brashear found the third Hydrogen Bombs lost in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Spain in the 1950's, and how he saved the life of another seaman who was in the line of the snapped running line that would have snapped him in two if Brashear had not shoved him out of the way and took the shot himself. This was a complex story that was worth telling, and I will admit that two hours and nine minutes was not enough to tell the full story, and I can tell from the deleted scenes on the DVD that the crew tried their best to tell a story as full as possible. As a professional soldier, I was proud to see such a great story told in such a comprehensive manner, and to see the traditions and honor of the navy preserved in such a natural and full manner.
This one is a great one! Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding have teamed up to make a powerful and very influential film. This is the true story of the first black US Navy diver and the obstacles he faced in attaining his certification at the hands of a racist Master diver. Along the way, he must also face plain old bigotry from all of his classmates, none of whom want him in their class. They move out of the barracks when he arrives. Ultimately, he becomes certified and goes on to have a great career as a US Navy diver. Watch this one! It's a great tale of courage and honor. As the story unfolds, we get to watch racism slowly dissipate and everyone begins to respect men one at a time.
This well-acted story of the end of segregation in the military is told through the true experiences of Carl Brashear. Ultimately it is a story of human honor and dignity triumphing over smallmindedness, bureaucracy, and prejudice. Some of the scenes are deliberate attempts at crowd-pleasing, but they are nevertheless effective.
I loved this movie. It is a definite inspirational movie. It fills you with pride. This movie is worth the rental or worth buying. It should be in everyones home. Best movie I have seen in a long time. It will make you mad because everyone is so mean to Carl Brashear, but in the end it gets better. It is a story of romance, drama, action, and plenty of funny lines to keep you tuned in. I love a lot of the quotes. I use them all the time. They help keep me on task of what I want to do. It shows that anyone can achieve their dreams, all they have to do is work for it. It is a long movie, but every time I watch it, I never notice that it is as long as it is. I get so engrossed in it, that it goes so quick. I love this movie. I watch it whenever I can.
Men of Honor stars Cuba Gooding Jr., as real life Navy Diver Carl Brashear
who defied a man's Navy to become the first African American Navy Diver.
Sometimes by his side and sometimes his adversary there was one man who Carl
Brashear really admired. His name was Master Chief Billy Sunday (Robert
DeNiro). Sunday in a lot of ways pushed, aggravated and helped Carl become
the man he wanted to be.
I loved Cuba in this film. His portrayal here is as liberating and as powerful as Denzel Washington was in The Hurricane. Through every scene we can see his passion, motivation and stubbornness to achieve his dream. We can see the struggle within in him as he embarks to make his father proud. I also loved how the director created and brought forth a lot of tension in some of the key diving scenes. Brashear's encounter with a submarine during a salvage mission is heart-stopping and brilliant.
The only fault I could see would have to lie in the supporting cast. Cuba and DeNiro's characters are very intricate and exciting to watch. Which does make you a little sad when they have to butt heads with such two-dimensional supporting characters. The evil Lt. Cmdr. Hanks, Sunday's wife (Charlize Theron), the eccentric diving school colonel (Hal Holbrook) and Cuba's love interest are the characters I found to not have very much depth. What could have made these characters more substantial and more effective was a little more time to develop them. Why was that colonel always in his tower? How come Sunday's wife was so bitter and always drunk?
Another curious question has to be this. What happened to Carl Brashear's wedding? I mean if this film is chronicling this man's life wouldn't his wedding be an important event? Maybe it's just me. Men of Honor, however, is a perfect example of the triumph and faith that the human spirit envelops. This film will inspire and make you feel for this man's struggle. Which I do believe was the reason this powerful story was told. My hat goes off to you Carl Brashear. I really admire your strength.
TIllman Jr.'s drama about the first African American Navy Master Diver (Gooding Jr.), who defies all odds and achieves his goals despite a strict embittered trainer. The screenplay is not bad, a bit extreme at times, but the direction and acting is first-rate, and this film is inspiring and achieves what its supposed to do. I liked DeNiro in the lead, although its not on par with his masterful works (taxi driver, godfather and all the others) it is as good as his other good performances such as in King of Comedy or Angel Heart. DeNiro is always convincing and believable here, very good performance, Gooding Jr. is not bad, definitely one of his better performances. --- IMDb Rating: 6.6, my rating: 9/10
The inspiring story of Carl Brashear (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), a black man who
grew up in poverty in Kentucky and then joined the US Navy, aspiring to be
the first black Master Diver in Navy history. We are shown the series of
struggles from boyhood on that Brashear has to overcome to make his dream
come true (and then to keep it alive.) Not the least of the challenges was
Master Diver Bill Sunday (Robert DeNiro), the head trainer at the diving
school the Navy sends Brashear to, who is not especially sympathetic to
Brashear's goals, but who ultimately becomes an unlikely friend and
This is a good movie; fast paced and with a lot of action, although not an "action" pic in the normal sense of the word. There's a very human story here as well, and an interesting study of racism and the struggle to overcome it; there's also a sense of the struggle that took place in the 1960's between older and younger naval officers (the "old navy" vs the "new navy.") The performances are quite good - particularly Goodings'. I thought DeNiro was perhaps a bit over the top in his portrayal of Sunday (although, who knows, Sunday might well have been this extreme kind of loose cannon) and the portrayal of Sunday's wife Gwen (by Charlize Theron) also made me question whether these parts were "jazzed up" to provide entertainment value.
A good movie, though. I never once wondered if it was worth tuning into.
Familiar but triumphant true story set in the 1950s about a man and his determination to defy the odds. Gooding gives a rock solid performance as an ambitious Navy diver whose iron will leads him to fight discrimination and try to become the first ever colored master diver. Along the way he matches wits withand eventually gains the respect ofhis belligerent, hard-nosed superior (De Niro). Considering the film's definite Rocky formula you'll probably be a step ahead of the story at every turn, but it's well-directed, acted with such great conviction, and has a finale so powerful and moving that you almost have to go along for the ride. A compelling and gripping story of will and determination. ***
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