Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Annapolis

Reviewed by: Joshua Starnes and Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: PG-13

Starring:
James Franco as Jake Huard
Tyrese Gibson as Cole
Jordana Brewster as Ali
Donnie Wahlberg as Lt. Cmdr. Burton
Vicellous Reon Shannon as Twins
Roger Fan as Loo
Wilmer Calderon as Estrada
McCaleb Burnett as Whitaker
Jim Parrack as A.J.
Brian Goodman as Bill Huard
Katie Hein as Risa
Chi McBride as Coach McNally

Special Features:
Commentary by: Director Justin Lin, writer David Collard, editor

Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary

"Plebe Year: The Story of Annapolis" featurette

"The Brigades" - An in-depth look at the boxing sequences, including training, choreography and camera techniques

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 103 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

"Filled with intense action, Annapolis is an inspirational tale of courage and honor that will keep you riveted. As hard as it is to get into the most elite military academy in the country, surviving behind its walls is beyond belief. Young Jake Huard (James Franco) has always known he has what it takes to make the grade. But once inside, everything Jake thought he knew is challenged in ways he never could have imagined. Standing between him and his lifelong ambition of becoming an officer in the U.S. Navy is his company commander -- Midshipman Lt. Cole (Tyrese Gibson), a relentless and merciless battle-seasoned Marine. Thrilling and exhilarating, Annapolis reaffirms the power of believing in your dreams."

Annapolis is rated PG-13 for some violence, sexual content, and language.

The Movie:
Jake Huard (James Franco) has spent his whole life looking across the bay at the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, wondering if he's good enough to go, good enough to become a United States Naval Officer. After years of waiting his perseverance pays off and he finally gets a chance to brave the rigors of Annapolis.

Which is strange when it turns out "Annapolis" is a sports film, and mediocre one at that - hitting all the sports film standards - as Jake spends a fair portion of the film training for the inter-brigade boxing tournament as a means of asserting his self-worth.

There are the usual tropes about perseverance and buried deep within are some insights into what it takes to be a good officer, and the responsibility of the instructors to be as hard as possible to weed out potential bad officers. But "Annapolis" doesn't bother to do much more than trot the ideas out, never mind developing them, before it returns to being a fairly unoriginal and uninspired sports film which could still have been salvaged with charismatic actors or witty dialogue, but unfortunately has neither.

"Annapolis" has the seeds of a good, if derivative, film in it, but gives that up in favor of being a mediocre boxing film.

The Extras:
This DVD offers your basic bonus features. First up is your standard commentary delivered by director Justin Lin, writer David Collard, and editor Fred Raskin. Commentary is also included on a batch of seven deleted scenes. Most of these deleted scenes involve the non-boxing Naval Academy scenes. There's a different introduction to the school where we see students getting their hair cut and tattoos photographed. Another scene shows the students taking a diving test (and Loo freezing up on the diving board). There's also more interaction between Huard and his father which fleshes out both character a little more. Rounding things out are a scene of Huard visiting his mother's grave (and leaving her a lit cigarette (!)) and him visiting the comatose 'Twins' in the hospital.

Also included is your standard 'making of' featurette entitled "Plebe Year: The Story of Annapolis". They discuss the script, the casting, the direction, and other such standard info. The bonus features are rounded out with "The Brigades", a closer look at the boxing sequences including training, choreography and camera techniques.

The Bottom Line:
Annapolis is a boxing movie disguising itself as a military drama. Unless you're a big James Franco fan, you're probably going to want to find a better boxing movie or a better military training movie.

Order this DVD @ Amazon

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