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Case Number 23141

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Courageous (Blu-ray)

Sony // 2011 // 129 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 17th, 2012

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson is not courageous. He screams like a small child when he's scared. Which is all the fricking time.

Editor's Note

Our review of Courageous, published December 31st, 2011, is also available.

The Charge

Honor begins at home.

Opening Statement

From the guys behind Fireproof and Facing the Giants comes another well-intentioned, yet regrettably half-baked God-centric effort.

Facts of the Case

Courageous tells the story of four cops from the small Southern town of Albany. They are, in fact, courageous, chasing down car-jackers, body-slamming gang-members, and generally doing coppish things. Sadly, tragedy strikes one the guys, and his family is faced with a devastating personal loss. Propelled by this heartbreak, the friends decide to recommit themselves to fatherhood, signing resolutions to be better dads and stalwarts in their homes. Meanwhile, a Spanish guy builds a shed.

The Evidence

Here's what Courageous and it's brethren are: movies for a very narrow audience. They're for churches or small groups at a men's retreat. These are movies for the converted.

Released from those confines, it's just impossible to consider Courageous any kind of a functional film. The jokes are corny, the runtime is bloated, the action is lukewarm and sporadic, and the message is heavy-handed. I'm sorry, but it's this kind of amateurish filmmaking that gives serious Christian works a bad name.

Full disclosure: This is all coming from a card-carrying member of the Alpha and Omega fan club. If the goal is to get people on board with the soul trail, I just don't see what flaccid fluff like this does to draw in an audience and take the espoused worldview seriously. Again, as a film that appeals to the narrowest of demographics, I suppose you can call Courageous a mild success. But I demand more of my Christian auteurs and the message they carry demands more. (If you want to see high-end art for the reverent, track down Of Gods and Men.)

Drilling a bit deeper, it becomes obvious that Courageous has been designed as more of a Bible Study aid than anything else. Like "The Love Dare," championed in Fireproof (also for sale: "Fireproof Your Marriage"), the fatherhood resolution given screen time here has been designed as a tool for Believers. And, really, that's all well and good. It's a great idea for dads to sack up and become better men for their families, but this is all a bit too transparent. If ideas like these work for people, awesome. It just doesn't make for thought-provoking cinema.

If you're willing to sign up for duty, Sony's Blu-ray is solid. The 2.35:1/1080p video treatment is clean throughout, despite the generally unimaginative scenery that whizzes by. Audio: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio with little to do, save for pumping out generic action music during the big shoot-out at the end.

Extras include a filmmakers' commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes, a making-of featurette (in HD), a pair of segments on the Biblical angle the film takes, a goofy "Courageous in 60 Seconds" gag, and a digital copy.

Closing Statement

Courageous is not really a movie. It's small group curriculum. So…

The Verdict

Guilty. BTW, Internal Affairs would like to have a word with the Kendrick brothers.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 90
Audio: 90
Extras: 80
Acting: 60
Story: 65
Judgment: 62

Perp Profile

Studio: Sony
Video Formats:
• 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
Audio Formats:
• DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
• DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (French)
• English
• English (SDH)
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 129 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
• Blu-ray
• Drama
• Religious and Spiritual

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Deleted Scenes
• Featurettes
• Gag Reel
• Digital Copy


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• Official Site

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