Unbroken: Path to Redemption
World War II POW Returns to U.S. with PTSD in Faith-Based Sequel
Unbroken (2014) was a tale of survival chronicling the ordeal of Olympian/Air Force bombardier Louis Zamperini in a Japanese POW camp during World War II. Directed by Angelina Jolie, the hit biopic was adapted to the screen by the Coen brothers from Laura Hillenbrand’s (Seabiscuit) best seller of the same name.
Unbroken: Path to Redemption is also based on Hillenbrand’s book, but doesn’t have a creative team with as impressive a pedigree. The cast has been totally overhauled, too, with Samuel Hunt now starring as Louie.
Unbroken 2 picks up where the first film left off. The original closed with liberated Louie kissing the ground upon landing back in the States, implying a pat, happily ever after ending.
Yes, he does meet and marry the girl of his dreams, Cynthia Applewhite (Merritt Patterson). The two settle in California and start a family. However, Louie remains haunted by flashbacks to his torture at the hands of Corporal Mutsuhiro “The Bird” Watanabe (David Sakurai), a sadistic guard at Sugamo prison.
Despite being celebrated as a war hero, Louie’s suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder prevents him from being a good husband and provider. He becomes an angry, abusive alcoholic before a desperate Cynthia drags him to a Billy Graham (played by his grandson, Reverend Will Graham) Christian revival being staged in a tent.
The charismatic Baptist preacher’s plea to, “Just reach out and take the hand of Jesus, and every problem will be washed away,” resonates with Louie. When the sinner sinks to his knees, you know salvation can’t be far behind.
Need proof? Stick around for the closing credits’ highlight reel of the two subsequently sharing the stage on the evangelical circuit.
Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and disturbing images
Running time: 98 minutes
Production Studio: Universal 1440 Entertainment / Matt Baer Films
Studio: Pure Flix Entertainment
OPENING THIS WEEK
Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun
For movies opening September 28, 2018
Hell Fest (R for violence, profanity and sexual references) Slasher flick about a masked serial killer wreaking havoc at a horror-themed amusement park. Co-starring Amy Forsyth, Reign Edwards and Tony Todd.
Little Women (PG-13 for mature themes and teen drinking) A modern retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s coming-of-age classic about four sisters’ unbreakable bond and optimism in the face of life’s challenges. Cast includes Elise Jones, Melanie Stone, Sarah Davenport and Allie Jennings.
Night School (PG-13 for profanity, drug references, violence and pervasive crude sexuality) Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish co-star in this madcap comedy revolving around a bunch of misfits forced to attend classes to get their GED. With Rob Riggle, Taran Killam and Romany Malco.
Smallfoot (PG for crude humor, mature themes and action) Animated comedy about a yeti (Channing Tatum) who is convinced that elusive creatures called humans actually exist. Voice cast includes James Corden, LeBron James, Danny DeVito, Common and Zendaya.
INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS
All About Nina (R for pervasive profanity, graphic sexuality, nudity and brief drug use) Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays the title character in this romantic dramedy as a troubled stand-up comic, new to L.A., who turns her life around with the help of a new friend (Common). With Beau Bridges, Camryn Manheim and Jay Mohr.
Bad Reputation (R for profanity, sexual references, drug use and brief nudity) Reverential rockumentary revisiting the career of punk icon Joan Jett. Featuring commentary by Miley Cyrus, Debbie Harry and Michael J. Fox.
Free Solo (Unrated) Rock climbing documentary following Alex Honnold’s attempt to become the first person to scale Yosemite’s 3,000-foot tall, El Capitan Wall solo, with no ropes or safety gear.
Monsters and Men (R for profanity) Crime thriller, set in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, revolving around an eyewitness (Anthony Ramos) who is torn about whether to release his cellphone video of a police shooting of an unarmed black man. With Nicole Beharie, Chante’ Adams and Giuseppe Ardizzone.
The Old Man & the Gun (PG-13 for brief profanity) Robert Redford portrays Forrest Tucker in this biopic recounting the career criminal’s audacious escape from San Quentin and series of bank heists at the age of 70. With Casey Affleck, Sissy Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits and Tika Sumpter.
The Padre (R for profanity and violence) Cat-and-mouse crime caper about a con artist (Tim Roth) on the run from a cop (Luis Guzman) and a U.S. Court Justice (Nick Nolte). Cast includes Marie Paquim, Hailey Hermida and Benjamin Petersen.