Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Out of the Fight Review: An Emotional Drama About The Time After Service

Directed by: Steve Moon Starring: Randy WayneJordan JudeChris MullinaxJudy NortonLily ThomasRobert MianoTisa KeyRon ChevalierCorie RobinsonCarl AtwaterNathan Evans

Release date: October 2, 2020
Running time: 97 minutes
Starring: Judy Norton, Randy Wayne, Robert Miano, Chris Mullinax, Jordan Jude

US Army Sergeant Jason Pate (Wayne) returns home after three tours of duty in Afghanistan. The battles he has endured have led to minor injuries to his body, but the toll taken on his mind are immeasurable. As he attempts to adjust to life at home with his wife Emily (Jude) and their four year old daughter Savannah, he struggles with the things he has missed, the effects of the war, and the ability to find meaning and purpose of his life in the civilian world. Jason begins to turn to alcohol and pills to ease his pain, but will a chance encounter help him to manage everything that he brought back with him?

Directed by: Steve Moon Starring: Randy WayneJordan JudeChris MullinaxJudy NortonLily ThomasRobert MianoTisa KeyRon ChevalierCorie RobinsonCarl AtwaterNathan Evans
Out of the Fight is more of a character drama than an action film, which is a good thing.  Although there is a little action in this film to frame Jason's experiences, most of the meat of the film takes place back in America after Jason's deployment.  The action sequences themselves are surprisingly hit or miss.  There are some tense gun engagements but the lack of strong sound and issues with the actual gun battles put a damper on these scenes.  But thankfully, the majority of the film focuses on Jason's inability to adjust to life back in America, as well as the demons that he brought back with him from his service, and how he and those around him deal with these issues is really what this film is about.  The dramatic aspects are the most interesting parts.  There are some very good dramatic moments as Jason deals with his demons, but those are counteracted by some scenes and delivery that just feel forced.  And there are some really good characters, such as the police officer Randy Mitchell (Mullinox) who looks after Jason while he is adjusting back to life in America.  But this aside, despite the heavy subject matter, the overall acting can also be hit or miss.  I do wonder if Out of the Fight strove to use veterans as their characters, as many of the individuals with less polished delivery also looked like they could be current or former soldiers.

But what is really important about this film is the look into what happens after military service.  There have been plenty of movies highilghting soldiers in the line of duty, but this film looks at what happens after that "glorious" time.  And it also breaks down some of the walls and conceptions about what that time can be like.  It does a good job of showing the contrast of what can happen during your deployment and back at home, and how that can affect soldiers.  And really, it is important that these issues be discussed as many of our fighting men and women are coming back home and dealing with this exact scenario, and having something that showcases the physical and emotional toll that can have on them is important to see.  And speaking of men and women, although Out of the Fight has a relatively diverse cast outside of the main characters, I do wish that there were a few more opposite gender characters in the film.  The vast majority of the soldiers and former soldiers were men, and the vast majority of the spouses and significant others were women.  The military has a large number of female soldiers, and hearing more about their experiences and seeing them represented on screen would have helped with accuracy. 

However, at its core Out of the Fight is an emotional drama that highlights those that serve and the effect that the service can have on the physical and emotional well being of the veterans and their loved ones.  

Rent it.
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