This powerful film tells the story of four U.S. soldiers nearing the end of their tours of duty in Iraq. Shortly after learning their unit will soon return home, they are sent on one final humanitarian mission and the unit is ambushed. With many lives lost, the surviving troops suffer both physical and psychological injuries. Now, as they return to the United States, four soldiers must face memories of the past as they look towards the future and return to civilian life.
For more about Home of the Brave and the Home of the Brave Blu-ray release, see Home of the Brave Blu-ray Review published by Sir Terrence on November 18, 2007 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
The back cover of Home of the Brave describes the movie in this way.
When a mission in Iraq is derailed by an explosive ambush, a small band of US. soldiers find themselves fighting for their lives. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and Jessica Biel, Home Of The Brave is the gripping, action-packed tale of a chaotic battle that will leave these heroic Americans forever changed.
However this movie is much more about the people than about the war, and the war itself occupies very little of the movie.
The movie starts off in Iraq during the height of the Iraq war. Field surgeon Will Marsh (Samuel Jackson), maintenance clerk Vanessa Price (Jessica Biel), and two infantrymen Jamal Aiken and Tommy Yates (Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and Brian Presley) get news they are returning to the ship, but are first sent on a humanitarian mission. On the way to their destination, they are ambushed by a group of insurgent fighters. Marsh is deeply affected by the carnage he sees, Price's hand is severely injured in an explosion of a roadside bomb, Yates watches his best friend get killed, and Aiken accidentally kills a innocent bystander.
Upon returning home, all have trouble blending back in with the real world. Marsh begins to drink too much as a result of recurring dreams of war, Price returns to being a mom, and has a hard time coping with her permanent injury. Both Aiken and Yates appear emotionally damaged and haunted by scenes of the war. None seem to be able to return to normalcy once they return.
The picture quality of the 18mbps(avg), MPEG-2 encoded, 1080p video was good, but not the best I have seen on Bluray. Colors appeared desaturated and lack the punch and dynamics of some of the best film on HD video I have seen. Black levels were fairly deep, and shadow details seem up to snuff. The contrast looked a little pumped to me, often at the expense of fine detail. Flesh tones where not a problem, as everyone seemed to look natural and not overly blush.
The picture appeared free of artifacts, clean and stable, but inconsistent. Some parts have great sharp images, and at other times appeared soft, out of focus, and lacking in fine detail. I never got the sense that I was looking at images with depth, as everything looked pretty two dimensional to these eyes.
The audio is featured in Dts HD Lossless Master Audio, but also has a legacy DD 5.1 track. I only had access to "core" Dts at 1.5mbps. During the battle scenes early in the movie, the sound field was filled with explosions and whizzing bullets heard both in the foreground, and the background far behind my speakers (sometimes appearing to come from the other side of my walls!). All of the different weapons appeared to have their own sonic signatures, which contributed to the realism of the battle. The LFE channel was used very effectively, giving power and weight to the many explosions. Dialog intelligibility was excellent throughout the film, never sounding buried in effects or forced. As the movie progressed, it became more quiet and subtle with the surrounds sounding mostly ambient. Music was used to a great effect to enhance the story.
While I found this movie fairly good, the story telling did not flesh out enough of who these characters are. It seemed somewhat rushed. I could not feel the emotion from the characters themselves, but I felt emotion for the tough situations they were going through. War leaves scars that extend far beyond the battle itself. The film really brings this point home. The character development could have been better, but the film did make its point quite well.
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