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Randy's Review: 'Last Ounce of Courage'
Movie tackles issues of lost freedoms
A small town patriot and former war hero struggles with the loss of his son, Tom, in war, then finds himself leading the charge to recapture the lost freedoms his son died to defend in "Last Ounce of Courage."
Writer and co-director Darrel Campbell plays the role of a middle school play director in this tale that focuses on the tragedy of a father's loss coupled with the encroaching loss of personal rights - in this case, the freedom to celebrate Christian holidays in the country.
Bob Revere (Marshall R. Teague) is a small-town pharmacist and part-time mayor who begins the movie seeing his son off to the service. He and wife, Dottie (Jennifer O'Neill), stand at the bus station with his son's pregnant bride, Kari (Nikki Novak), as the bus leaves.
Correspondence is strong and positive as Tom writes and sends video to his loved ones back home. Kari delivers their son Christian, the family members celebrate the holidays apart, and Tom counts down the days until he is reunited with those he loves. Unfortunately, that day never comes.
Instead, two military representatives arrive at the Revere home in Mount Columbus, Colo., where Kari and infant Christian are also living, with news of Tom's passing in combat.
The news is too much for Bob to manage. Kari and Christian leave a short time later to begin a new life in California. And life goes on in the small community.
Fourteen years later, Kari and Christian (Hunter Gomez) return and move in with the Reveres once again. Bob is distant but Dottie is thrilled to have them both back home. The small town has changed. Gone is the Jesus Saves cross, which once reached out from the wall of the local mission. Gone are the Christmas decorations in the town's square. The Christmas play at the middle school has been replaced by a winter production with aliens following a supernova to a pot of gold and a king on earth.
Christian begins attending his new school and is immediately called to the principal's office for carrying a Bible in school - a bit of an exaggeration perhaps - and is taken to task for his lack of understanding toward others.
When Christian begins learning more about his father, and what he died for, the teenager begins questioning why everyone is sitting by and watching as religious freedoms are being taken away. Inspired by his grandson, Bob reemerges from his funk and reintroduces Christmas to the community.
A Washington, D.C., civil rights group leader, Warren "The Hammer" Hammerschmidt (Fred Williamson) makes it his mission to stop the outrage of the public celebration of Christmas in this small town.
At times the writing is a bit corny and somewhat over-the-top, but the message is very real. I would suggest things aren't quite as bad as depicted in this film, but there's no doubt that some of the film's focus is eye-opening. It begs the question, "Are the people in this country sitting back and simply looking on as the minority interest of a few change the long-held traditions of the country with regard to religious freedom and nationally recognized holidays?"
As is suggested during the movie, religious freedom is just one of many areas where the rights of many have been restricted by the few, but such issues need to be battled for one at a time.
The movie is emotional and thought provoking, despite sometimes silly dialogue.
And, as it shows in the credits, it is "Chuck Norris Approved."