Some of the best movies reveal a powerful message through the stories they tell. “Last Ounce of Courage” is not one of those films. It forgoes multi-dimensional characters, a believable setting or even a slightly interesting conflict to send its message to a specific target audience.
“Last Ounce of Courage” tells the story of Mayor Bob Revere (Marshall R. Teague), a war veteran. As he and his family overcome the loss of their son during his military tour, Bob meets his 14-year-old grandson Christian (Hunter Gomez), who runs into trouble with the public school principal after bringing a Bible to class. Frustrated that he cannot openly practice his religious beliefs, he asks Bob what his father fought and died for. Bob begins a campaign to bring Christianity back into the upcoming holiday season and boldly raises a Christmas tree in front of the town courthouse.
“Last Ounce of Courage” wastes it’s time with subplots that are cliché and pointless for the most part. Bob’s daughter-in-law Kari’s (Nikki Novak) romance storyline is unoriginal, there is a biker gang that serves absolutely no purpose and there are many minor characters who use awkward dialogue, such as a trucker who tries to rap Christmas carols.
Overall, the entire cast’s performances are terrible. Teague holds decent supporting roles in many other films such as “Roadhouse,” “The Rock” and “Armageddon,” but his performance in “Last Ounce of Courage” is unenthusiastic. When Bob stands up to the villain Warren Hammerschmidt (Fred Williamson) during a press conference, he shows no subtle or significant tones of anger or sharp, clever defiance. Instead he rattles his lines off blandly.
Almost all of the cast plays the same simple, hardworking Christian character trying to stand up for their rights. They all portray these characters with monotone line delivery and expressionless faces.
The only exceptions to this cookie-cutter cast are the two primary villains, but even they play as outlandish one-dimensional caricatures. The first is Hammerschmidt, who is portrayed as a Capitol-Hill crony zealous in his attempts to punish public displays of religious worship. The second is Renaldo Boutwell, (Darrel Campbell) an eccentric Broadway director working on a school play involving a sci-fi Christmas story with alien Wise Men. Boutwell is played by one of the directors, Campbell, who wrote for various hit TV shows, such as “Days of Our Lives,” before making his directorial film debut in “Last Ounce of Courage.”
“Last Ounce of Courage” hardly stands as a story because of its limp conflict. The ‘good guys’ seem unstoppable in their practices of freedom of speech and religion in a setting that frowns upon it. And of course anyone who stands against the idea of placing religious iconography in public places and government buildings is called an easily offended hothead or a fool, but is given little chance for rebuttal.
The characters act as if there is an evil, overarching conspiracy to deprive the people of their rights to practice their religion. But all the movie depicts is a lone Hammerschmidt sabotaging Bob’s efforts and throwing out the line, “Separation of Church and State.” “Last Ounce of Courage” fails to depict a substantial antagonists. It keeps the story lukewarm and gives the characters few opportunities to fully develop.
“Last Ounce of Courage” disappoints and dulls. It may have a feel-good message about freedom and the courage to stand for your beliefs, but this tiny nugget has to be mined from a red, white and blue tangle of propaganda.
Overall rating: 1 star
“Last Ounce of Courage” bores audiences with its little character development.