Thursday, July 10, 2008

MOVIE: STOP-LOSS



Stop-Loss is a 2008 American drama film directed by Kimberly Peirce and starring Ryan Phillippe, Channing Tatum, Abbie Cornish, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

After serving his tour of duty in Iraq, a young American soldier who is ordered to return to the front lines as part of the military's controversial stop-loss policy opts instead to go AWOL in a thought-provoking military drama. Sgt. Brandon King (Philippe) is a decorated Iraq War veteran who once served his country with pride. After his tour of duty comes to an end, King returns to his Texas hometown and attempts to pick up where he once left off with a little help from his family, as well as long-time best friend and war buddy Steve Shriver (Tatum).

But just as Brandon, Steve, and the rest of their war buddies begin to settle back into civilian life, Uncle Sam comes calling on them once again. Suddenly ordered back into active duty, the disillusioned war veteran begins to question not just his ties to family and his longtime friendships, but his capacity for love and his sense of honor as well.




Stop-Loss takes the misery that a lot of soldiers are facing after coming back from Iraq and turns it into a piece of crap drama for the young crowd. If you're going to make a movie about the Iraq war and its effects on the young soldiers, at least try to make it good. This movie is just plain horrible. It is not even in the realm of the realistic and you need to be at least a little if you are making an anti-war film.

In the film, as soon as the soldiers get back from the war, as soon as they step off the bus, all of a sudden they act crazy and insane. Indeed, a lot of soldiers are coming back from the war and suffer from a lot of different things. Some get help and others can't. You see on the news a lot lately of a soldier killing himself or someone else. The soldiers in Stop-Loss suffer from this immediately and within a few days of getting back from home, one is in jail and the other on the run. This movie feels like it doesn't know anything about what the common soldier feels like when they return home. It doesn't even take the story of the main character being stop-lossed seriously. He goes on the run, kicks the shit out of some thugs, hooks up with his best friends girlfriend and then decides to go back. It tuns a serious topic into stylized garbage for the teenage crowd.

There is one scene that is almost good. When the main character decides to visit one of his army buddies in the hospital. This scene is played seriously of course but it comes off as awkward and as a scene that you know is just trying to make you cry. "Oh wow, people with no legs and one arm can play a game of pool! My mind is in awe." This scene could have been a good scene but instead is trying for my tears and instead it gets my middle finger. The ending makes no sense whatsoever. What the main character finally decides to do just doesn't add up to what the whole entire film was trying to show. Why did he decide to do this? Because the filmmakers are morons!

It's strange that the film has a ton of good actors in it and yet they act like they had to do the film because they owed someone a favor. I haven't listed the whole cast above but if you go to the film's IMDB page you can see what a talented cast is in this movie but I can't prepare you for how bad they are in it. Even the film's director made Boys Don't Cry, a really good movie, and this is her follow up to that, which was made almost 10 years ago.

Instead of this garbage I recommend Home of The Brave. Yes, it has 50 Cent in it but it also has Samuel L. Jackson and Jessica Beil, who can be a good actress in the right role. That film deals with the same issues that Stop-Loss does but takes them more seriously. It's not a great film but its a lot more meaningful than a film that tries to make the war seem like a music video.

Stop-Loss is a 2 out of 10.

The DVD has your standard features like director's commentary, behind the scenes stuff, deleted scenes and how they made this piece of crap even though I don't know why you would want to watch any of it.


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