This very visual film about Russian Jews fleeing and hiding in forests from murderous German
soldiers and their Russian puppets during World War II unfortunately misses the mark. Like 'Schindler's List,' this is a story of a strong-willed man who takes personal charge and responsibility for a large group of Jews threatened with anhiliation. Here the savior is himself a Jew whose family was decimated. Unlike SL, where your heart breaks for the heroic and haunted Schindler and his charges, 'Defiance', based on a true story, devolves into an action-adventure film. It is less about a persecuted people fleeing for their lives and more a two-dimensional depiction of an individual who leaves no one behind, spats with his brother, and creates a small army. And the climactic in-the-nick-of-time 'cavalry' scene feels oh-so Hollywood. Still, if viewed with lowered expectations, it is an engaging and entertaining film.
Here's a rarity - a character-driven superhero (or maybe super antihero) movie with charm,
surprises, and an impactful ending! And nasty wit; there's a prison scene that still make me chuckle when I think about it, but you might want to cover the youngster's eyes. And be forewarned, if you're a language prude, there is some up front use of a**hole among other choice words. But somehow Smith makes all of this seem like good clean fun. So, if you're a Will Smith fan or if you're superhero addict, this is a must-see. Or if you just plain like a good redemption yarn, this amusing and exciting film is for you.
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