In some ways, filmmaker Spike Lee has done it again, as there are some
very good parts to this 2008 World War II story. Unfortunately, at 160
minutes, there are some parts that are quite bad, and there is a lot of
drag in this story based on a James McBride novel. I seriously doubt this
will be considered one of Spike's best.
This story was inspired by a massacre in 1944 at Sant'Anna di Stazzema
in Italy. To pay back the town for Italian partisan activity, the Waffen-SS
basically wiped out the whole town, killing countless civilians.
The story focuses on four American soldiers, members of the all-black
92nd Infantry Division, known as Buffalo Soldiers, who were trapped near
the village, and fought to repel the Germans during the subsequent attack.
As you would expect from this director, there is an examination of the
racial prejudice that the Buffalo Soldiers endured, and this part was
actually quite interesting for the most part, and based on history. The
fighting scenes were also quite well done.
I really feel that this movie suffered from length. There was an easy
30 minutes, maybe more, that could have stayed on the cutting room floor
without hurting this movie. I was also disappointed at the graininess and
low quality of the print, probably done on purpose, which was very obvious
in the Blu-ray version. Even so, I'm not sorry I saw it.