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Overall Rating
1.97

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 0%
Just Average: 19.35%
Pretty Crappy58.06%
Sucks: 22.58%

5 reviews, 1 rating


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Annapolis
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Does roughly to the real Annapolis what 'The Skulls' did for Yale"
1 stars

I am almost certain that many people will accuse “Annapolis” of being nothing more than a shameless chunk of propaganda contrived to inspire impressionable minds to join the military at a time when the news serves as a daily reminder that such a decision might not be the swiftest of moves. Actually, if it had been a shameless propaganda vehicle, I might have had a little more respect for it because that would have suggested that it had both a point and a purpose behind it. Instead, the film is just another worn-out rehash of familiar material that seems to have been put together for no other reason than to give audiences a chance to see what “An Officer and a Gentleman” might have been like without such pesky distractions as foul language, nudity or characters that anyone might care about.

James Franco, a talented actor who really needs to start picking better projects if he doesn’t want to condemn himself to a life of signing “Spider-Man” crap for fanboys at conventions, stars as Jake Huard, a tough-but-soulful type with a distant father and a dead mother who spends his days in a dead-end job in a shipyard and his nights boxing for pennies in front of the local louts. Despite being a rebel who plays by his own rules and who never takes the advice of others (which is fine when it comes to boxing, though less so when it comes to welding), Jake dreams of one day attending the prestigious Annapolis Naval Academy, an establishment described in the trailers as one of the toughest such institutions in the world. While I have no doubt that I couldn’t survive there for more than a day or so, I suspect that there are plenty of other places–West Point for one–that might argue that claim, especially when we see that one of the higher-ups of the school is played by none other than Donnie Wahlberg. He’s the one who shows up at the shipyard to personally tell Jake that, since “a couple of kids decided they’d rather have fun at college,” he has been admitted into the new class starting the next day.

Apparently, one of those dropouts was the previous tough-but-soulful type since Jake is placed in a squad that seems to consist entirely of familiar cliches–a hothead, a by-the-book twerp, a fattie, a girl who seems ready to burst into tears at a moments notice and a sadistic superior who seems to have based his entire act on having watched movies that based their entire acts on R. Lee Ermey’s work in “Full Metal Jacket.” Jake and the others are all under the stern eye of hard-headed leader Midshipman Lt. Cole (Tyrese Gibson), a guy so tough that, if I understand correctly, he served three years in the Marines and then went to the Naval Academy–possibly after realizing that if he was going to one day be killed in combat, being in the Navy would mean that he’ll die with clean clothes. However, the superior that Jake would rather be under is Ali (Jordana Brewster), whom he flirts with in a bar (he thinks she is a hooker in a running joke that starts off as painfully unfunny and only grows worse with time) only to later discover that she has the power to order him to do push-ups (not the good ones) whenever she wants.

The story spans the course of Jake’s first year in school and Dave Collard’s screenplay makes sure to hit upon every convention of the genre that you could possibly think of. Jake screws up early on and his entire squad pays for his mistakes–this leads, of course, to the heart-tugging moment when he is to be punished by himself and the rest volunteer to join him. The tubby kid struggles through the physical challenges and is driven to the point of despair when it appears that he has failed. Most significantly, there is the mutual antagonism that brews between Jake and Cole, the kind that can only be solved in a boxing ring during the annual Brigade Championship tournament that winds up dominating the finale. The only vague twist on the proceedings is the presence of Ali; not only is she an expert boxer who winds up training Jake in secret for his bouts, she is also slack enough regarding the rules of fraternization to give us the surreal sight of a plebe dancing in a bar with his superior. There are so many cliches on display, in fact, that the film doesn’t quite get around to ever making a single reference to the fact that there is actually a war currently going on, a subject that you would think would weigh heavily in the minds of most of the characters–at least more so than the outcome of a damn boxing match.

“Annapolis” was directed by Justin Lin, the young Asian-American director who made somewhat of a splash a couple years ago with his good-kids-gone-bad melodrama “Better Luck Tomorrow.” I wasn’t a particularly great admirer of that film–it seemed just a little too slick and eager-to-please for its own good–but it had enough of a distinctive touch to suggest that he might one day develop into an interesting filmmaker. Unfortunately, none of that touch is on display in “Annapolis”–he has made his film so obviously in the mode of the soulless Jerry Bruckheimer super-production of your choice that one of the few surprises came during the end credits when I discovered that Bruckheimer had nothing to do with it. Unless he somehow regains his bearings and tries to put his obvious technical skills in the service of something that actually means something to him (and since his next two projects are “The Fast and the Furious 3" and the American remake of”Oldboy,” that doesn’t seem too likely), his career is going to wind up squandering whatever promise it may have once held in the service of utterly anonymous studio product–in other words, he is going to become another John Singleton and one of those is quite enough.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=13772&reviewer=389
originally posted: 01/27/06 00:11:23
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User Comments

1/16/09 Aesop Chain this piece of crap to an anchor and push it over the side... 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  27-Jan-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 27-Jun-2006

UK
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