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Movie Review: Annapolis

By Gary R. Hess. Category: Movies

Last night I watched the film Annapolis, a film which I have heard mixed reviews about. Honestly, it wasn't anything that I was expecting. The trailer actually shows a battleship exploding and people jumping into a pool. Yeah, neither happens. So what does happen? Well, let's go over the basics first.

USA: PG-13
UK: 12

The next section includes spoilers. Please skip ahead to the review if you do not wish to read it.

Story line:
The story centers around a boy named Jake who is fresh out of high school. Jake applies to join a Naval Academy. He is accepted and has a going away party with his friends. While there, he is giving a lot of slack by one of the commanding officers. He is told he just isn't good enough and is likely to kill one of the men under his command. He struggles in his classes and is pushed much harder by the CO (Cole) than any of the other cadets.

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Jake befriends Arkansas (nicknamed Twins by one of the COs because he is overweight). Arkansas quickly nicknames Jake "Mississippi" because without Mississippi, Arkansas is the worst in the Union. They learn teamwork by helping each other through their difficulties: Jake helps Arkansas with the obstacle course and Arkansas helps Jake gain weight for the boxing tournament and helps him study by lending him audio notes.

Towards the end of the movie Arkansas fails the obstacle course by only four seconds, a huge improvement since the beginning. Arkansas attempts to commit suicide. Since the Cole didn't allow Arkansas another chance, Jake is angered and tackles Cole. Jake is granted the chance to compete in the boxing tournament and take revenge, but Cole is one of the finest boxers. Jake is knocked down twice, then in the third round he is able to bring Cole to his knees. The match ends with Jake punching Cole, close to a victory. The judges grant the match to Cole who was the clear leader after the second round.

There's many side-stories to the film, but these are the main points.

In all honesty, this film could have been much better. The film began as a Full-Metal Jacket remake but as the climax neared it turned into a boxing flick. What began with military drills, training, and academics became a film about Jake working towards his boxing goal. No more did the film show the struggles of his classmates or the everyday training the cadets went through.

Not only did the direction change but the protagonist is almost not worth routing for. Jake is a guy who doesn't want help from anyone. He is a go-at-it alone type guy. It isn't until Arkansas gives him audio notes does Jake appear to show any teamwork. Even then he is alone. There is even a point in the film which Jake punches Cole in the back of the head as he is getting out of the boxing ring. This isn't exactly someone who I would want to lead me in hard-times.

The Arkansas side-story is also a bit out there. Yes, he is smart. Yes, he is overweight. So why isn't he put in fat camp like what would happen in real life? He would be put on a strict diet and workout plan. It is almost ridiculous. As well, he failed by four seconds. It is Cole's duty to not allow him to try again. It is the Academies rules. Cole comes off as a guy who loves the military, not someone who should be looked down upon or routed against.

All in all, I would give this film two stars. It isn't great, but it isn't necessarily piss poor either. Annapolis is a boredom killer. Nothing more, nothing less.