25 mar. 2013

My Review: Love and Honor (5/10)


¨Military fly free.¨

Love and Honor is yet another lame attempt at trying to make a chick flick appealing to men by adding some action, which in this case happened to be the Vietnam War. The only problem is that the action scenes only take place during the beginning of the film and the rest of the story is a plain formulaic chick flick which happens to star young good looking actors in order to appeal to its audience. Love and Honor isn’t anything we haven’t seen before in hundreds of other rom-coms and in everyday TV series. This film is Danny Mooney´s directorial debut after having worked mostly as an actor in the industry. The script which is hard to believe wasn’t adapted from a Nicholas Spark novel, was written by Jim Burnstein and Garrett K. Schiff, but one has to assume that they were deeply inspired by him when coming up with this story. One of the main issues I had with the film (apart from the cheesy scripts and characters) was that it never felt to me that we were in 1969. The production design team never managed to transport us into that world, like other great films have done so (more recently Argo). I can see why some people might enjoy this film, especially girls, considering it is a chick flick and has some likeable young actors, but artistically it has little value. There are plenty of other great independent rom-coms that are worth checking out instead of this.

The story takes place in 1969 as we follow a group of American soldiers in Vietnam trying to survive the war. Mickey (Liam Hemsworth) is in charge of the radio equipment, while Joiner (Austin Stowell) has a special talent for recognizing explosive wires hidden throughout the place. He is the main reason why everyone is still alive, but there is a motivation for his attention to detail. Joiner is in love with Jane (Aimee Teegarden) and all he can think of is surviving along with his friends in order to return home safely and marry the girl of his dreams. Right before the soldiers are given a week off duty, Joiner gets a letter from Jane claiming she wants to break up with him. In order to win her back, Joiner decides to sneak back to Michigan during their week off. Mickey, an uncompromising young soldier, decides to help Joiner and make sure he returns without being caught. Thus the two soldiers arrive in Michigan and catch up with Jane, who is calling herself Juniper now and involved in an anti-war movement along with several other teens. Joiner wins her love back when Mickey claims they have disserted the war in protest, and ends up falling for one of Juniper´s friends, Candace (Teresa Palmer). The two men experience the surreal counter culture of the Vietnam War back home, and at the same time end up falling in love while the entire world has their eyes on men´s first voyage to the moon.

Whenever you don’t have a solid script it’s hard for the performances to be strong and credible. Liam Hemsworth and Teresa Palmer are very good looking actors and shared some chemistry, but the entire premise was so cheesy that it was hard to believe their story. Love and Honor ends up being yet another romantic melodrama that never explores the true value of the two words in the title. Aimee Teegarden and Austin Stowell served only as the back story for the main one, but they too lacked chemistry. As much as the producers wanted to appeal to a male audience, I think this film will only seduce young girls. It doesn’t do much for a male audience and it is just another formulaic cliché film that does nothing to break from the boundaries of the genre.
  
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