Who's in It:
James Franco, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster
The Basics: Franco is the guy who wants to make his Dead Momma proud by becoming a Naval officer. So he goes to Annapolis and fixes his Determination Stare on everyone, but they all still think he's a loser. And he kind of is, really, because he's always screwing up and getting everyone else in his squad, or whatever they're called, in trouble. Then they all find out he's a great boxer, and that's when it becomes one of those stupid cheer-for-the-underdog movies in which he has to "show them who he is." Yeah, that's an actual piece of dialogue.
What's the Deal? What you learn from this movie is that everyone at the Naval Academy at Annapolis is really, really, really boring. Even when they're in the boxing ring pounding the crud out of each other, which is most of the time. Their secret is that they win bouts by putting their opponents to sleep. If Mr. T had thought of that, he might have beaten Rocky.
Just Because One of Them Is Black and One of Them Is White Doesn't Mean They're Opposites: This is Exhibit A in the case against putting Franco and Gibson in a movie together. They both do a lot of glowering, and they both have those severe, handsome faces. They're basically the same guy. And since there's nothing interesting story-wise going on and all the dialogue was created by a software program called Military Clichés for B Movies, the whole thing turns into one big angry staring contest.
In a Big Contest With Himself: Hey, James Franco, I know you're better than this. You were on Freaks & Geeks, and you were funny. Don't let them turn you into a big block of wood in terrible, hack-y movies like this.
And Then a New Kid Shows Up: Donnie Wahlberg who's a reasonably talented character actor now and who doesn't embarrass himself here at all as a commanding officer doesn't deserve to be dogged forever by the fact that he was one of the New Kids on the Block, and sang "Hangin' Tough" with a straight face, and was name-checked in Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch's hit song "Good Vibrations," and had a doll made in his approximate image, and had his picture emblazoned on thousands of fluffy heart-shaped pillows. But I'm going to dog him anyway. It's just fun to do, that's all.