Plot: What’s it about?
I admit when being asked to review a film like USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage, my expectations are somewhat limited. It also comes as little surprise to me that it stars none other than Nicolas Cage. I’ve joked before about how he never seems to turn down a film role, so his appearance here doesn’t surprise me in the least. What is somewhat surprising is that the film, while far from great, is certainly a very watchable affair. So long as expectations are in check, it can offer some decent entertainment value. I was reminded a bit of a lower budget Pearl Harbor. This film even stars Tom Sizemore who has seem to all but vanish from existence. Surprisingly, Cage isn’t the headliner here as his role is somewhat sidelined. Make no mistake, he gets his share of screen time, but he’s not the primary focus.
It’s 1945 and Cage plays Captain Charles McVay, he commands the USS Indianapolis. One day while patrolling Philippine Sea, the ship is torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. There’s little hope as there are several causalities and the fear of starvation and being eaten by sharks. There’s a rescue by the 5th day, but only some 300 survive. The battle scenes make up a large portion of the film, but the last half takes place in court where McVay is looked upon as the scapegoat so blame can be placed on him. We get various side characters and a subplot with two childhood friends who fall for the same woman. This element feels tacked on and only extends the running time. It’s not a huge flaw, but feels unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. Still, the film kept me fairly involved and moved at a steady clip. Cage doesn’t give a great performance here, but he’s passable enough. The other actors handle their roles accordingly. As I mentioned, the film is not great, but it’s far better than I expected.
Video: How’s it look?
The film looks just fine with the AVC encoded 2.35:1 ratio. Don’t expect the best of effects, but that’s more of the film itself than the transfer. The image is still quite satisfying. Colors are rich and balanced and facial details are striking. The print is pristine without any issues as well. All in all, fans should be pleased with the results here.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Audio is also fine as vocals are strong crisp and range is good. The DTS HD track has a nice balance to it during the action scenes as well. The rear channels kick in when prompted to help provide and engaging track. The earlier moments are good as well where we see the characters interact in bars and socialize and dance. The track serves the film well.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- The Making of USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage – The obligatory EPK is found here with the stars of the film talking about their parts. We’re also treated to some scenes from the movie as well as some behind the scenes foortage. This is about as routine as it gets.
The Bottom Line
I wouldn’t advise anyone to rush to watch this film, but it provides enough entertainment value where you won’t feel like you’ve wasted too much time. It’s certainly better than I would’ve expected. Maybe if you see it on cable, check it out then.