18 September 2012 | jdennist
Unendurable Persecution/Victimization Fantasy
LAST OUNCE OF COURAGE is so over-the-top that one is tempted to brand it a parody: the heavy use of military march music to suggest patriotic resolution, the ham-fisted speechifying, the slimy cigar-smoking villain...but then there are the elements which are clearly meant to be funny, like the fey theater director (ha, ha) or the bumbling biker gang (who look tough, but are, of course, just a bunch of softies).
But what really makes the film a chore to watch is how weak a piece of propaganda it is. The villains never make a remotely rounded case for themselves; the (hilariously exaggerated) actions on the part of those who try to repress Christmas and religious expression are based on vague fear alone, and while vague fear has inspired many a misguided action, when there's a message to be conveyed (I assume that's what they were trying to do), there needs to be either something concrete to react against, or an actual nuanced exploration of the issues. In a general sense, liberals seem to be the antagonistic force here, but the film doesn't take an actual stand against anything.
It's also one of the most pandering films I've ever seen, using the Army, the Bible, Christmas trees, motorcycles, the word "freedom", the American flag, and the cross as grossly blunt symbols of what this film means to honor. But it's so empty-minded that these symbols do not elevate the film or its themes; they just underscore its total lack of substance.
The acting doesn't help. Marshall Teague was far more convincing as a psychotic henchman in ROAD HOUSE; he has one line in particular that would turn off this film's target audience. The character of Bob Revere is a hard one to really like (he's awfully self-righteous), and Teague's performance doesn't help matters. Jennifer O'Neill, a long, long time after SCANNERS or SUMMER OF '42, can do little with the role of Teague's wife. Fred Williamson, as the aforementioned villain, seems to realize how awful the film he's in is, and manages to bring a little more pizazz to his one-dimensional role. Not enough to make it a memorable performance, really, but he's definitely the best thing in the film.
Add to the leaden script and flat performances a cheap production and sloppy directing, and you've got one big steaming pile of film. Not recommended. Oh, wait--it IS "Chuck Norris approved". Make of that what you will.