The Red Right Hand

Coming Home Is The Real Battle

Irwin Winkler
Samuel L. Jackson
Jessica Biel
Brian Presley
Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson

My God, I have seen some stupid films recently (yesterday's Epic Movie fiasco still fresh in mind) but none that started out so well. The opening sequence shows a burned-out Iraq. Tour orders are issued, these soldiers are going home; similar to Jarhead, the marines bond, poke fun at one another and talk about their hopes and prospects when they finally get back. Unfortunately, the day before they leave, their convoy is ambushed and each member of the main cast experiences lasting trauma. Squad Medic, Will Marsh [Jackson] has to perform and operate under extreme conditions; Vanessa Price [Biel] loses her hand after the vehicle she is driving takes heavy RPG fire; Jamal Aiken [50 Cent], Tommy Yates [Presley] and Jordan Owens [Chad Michael Murray] pursue the ambushers on foot. In a panic, Jamal kills an innocent woman, Tommy is shot in the leg and Jordan is ripped apart by enemy fire; he dies in Tommy's arms. It's not Black Hawk Down but the execution of the action is praiseworthy; right up until Jordan gets shot. Don't get me wrong, Chad Michael Murray was annoying as hell, it's a good thing that his character died but as the first bullet hits, we cut to Tommy's face. His eyes widen and he runs in slow-motion to his dying friend shouting, "Tommy! Nooooo!" I mean, for crying out loud, are they still using that in movies? If it's one way to make a successful spoof or cause an audience to giggle, it's a slo-mo running sequence, bullets spraying everywhere, as some jock runs to his friend, screaming his name, followed by a drawn out, "No!" Please note, the longer the 'no' the bigger the laughs. Our heroes find themselves back home, traumatised and unable to cope with the world they've found themselves in; spending months discussing what they would do if they were at home, having finally returned, they've changed and now cannot be anything else.

You knew this film would be made, it will be made hundreds of times over but the problem isn't the predictability or the preachy overtones, it's the fact that we've seen all this before about twenty years ago. That's right, it's a Born On The Fourth Of July wannabe with absolutely no class, taste or hope. The acting is pretty abysmal as Jackson, desperate to find the perfect role model character, flips from a poor depiction of an introvert to over-the-top lashing-out. Jessica Biel is trying to make her way into more serious roles but can't quite convey the amount of emotion necessary for this character. Brian Presley is completely forgettable and might as well not have been involved; every actor/actress he works with upstage him completely, even the Christina Ricci cameo pulls more interest than he does. Then there's 50 Cent. Hmm... 50 Cent. Not an actor. Doesn't have it in him to become an actor. Never will be an actor at this rate. Still, gets the kids in and isn't that important? Using media idols to draw children in to see films about relevant issues, such as the war in Iraq? Well, I suppose, but if the children you're raking in listen to 50 Cent's music I can only imagine a cinema full of gun-toting nine year olds shouting, "Hell yeah! Kill that bitch!" at the screen as Mr. Fiddy accidentally shoots a civilian.

The film is technologically sound, the depiction of Biel's stumpy arm is very impressive but it really doesn't matter because the script is so terrible. It really is a wonder how and why (*kerching*) any of these people (*kerching*) would sign up for something this shallow (*kerching*), cliched (*kerching*) and downright stupid (*kerching* *kerching* *kerching*). I guess we'll never know why some actors take bad jobs. The one thought that went through my head was of an annoying protester outside a cigarette conglomerate office, warning you of the risks of smoking. Sure, the dangers are there but the delivery is so poorly done that you really don't care and simply ignore them.

Release Date:
US - 2nd March 2007 UK - TBA 2007

The Scene To Look Out For:
Anything with dialogue. There are no real conversations in this film, just endless speeches; a continual barrage of "You don't know what it's like" and "You weren't there!" In the end, you don't listen and pay attention, you just become bitter and start to realise that the screenwriter is nothing more than a sixteen year old emo-kid who has watched Deer Hunter too many times and is trying to use a script to say his Daddy didn't love him enough. Waste. Of. Everybody's. Time.

Notable Characters:
A character for all the wrong reasons, really. Will Marsh has a son and like most young Americans, he's anti-war and anti-Bush. His Father, being the staunch military guy that he is has a few clashes with him but nothing dramatic or really that interesting. It's a bit of a wasted opportunity but the reason I highlighted this character is simply because I wanted him to piss his Dad off so much that he would end up striking him down with great vengeance and furious anger by shooting him, disowning him or doing something dramatic enough to shake up the storyline of this sleepy, dreary, Spokane Washington-based, made-for-TV, flaming pile of shite. Oh, if you were wondering... he didn't.

Highlighted Quote:
"You want us to come back like nothing ever happened. You don't want to get your hands dirty with the details"

In A Few Words:
"The last ten minutes of Jarhead mixed with Born On The Fourth Of July formula with the word 'Iraq' replacing 'Vietnam.' Shockingly poor"

Total Score:

Matthew Stogdon