Any potential spoilers in my reviews must be highlighted to be visible.
Plot Outline: "Annapolis" is a drama about a young man, played by James Franco, whose unexpected acceptance into and attendance of a prestigious Naval academy is both because of and at-odds with the low expectations people have had for him (and themselves), his entire life.
Tyrese Gibson's character is a senior officer who challenges the main character in almost every way.
* most of the acting
* the lead character's internal struggles
* somewhat complex relationships between characters
* lack of novelty (i.e. similarity to AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN)
* poor marketing
This story has been done before (and perhaps better) in AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN, but it's not like "Boy meets girl; boy loses girl" hasn't been done a time or two hundred.
Franco's character has a lot of growing to do and a network of family and friends that he both loves, and needs to outgrow.
Tyrese Gibosn's character, among others, are senior officers meant to weed out the weakest and send them packing. Franco has to figure out if he truly deserves to be there.
When you really get down to it, this movie is young people finding out who they are and, in some cases, discovering that they may have misidentified their enemies and allies. And then, there's the fact that some people qualify as both.
It's a decent story.
The acting was adequate, in most cases, and outstanding in a couple.
James Franco did a great job chiselling himself and demonstrating some of his range. Although he didn't blow me away, he showed that he could do more than portray a whiney rich brat opposite Tobey MacGuire's Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
Tyrese Gibson didn't demonstrate much range of emotion, in this movie, but he played his character with an intensity with which I would not have credited him. His athleticism, menacing aspects, and inherent nobility were always present. This wasn't a singer doing some acting on the side. This was just an actor doing his job.
Vicellous Reon Shannon (The Hurricane), Donnie Wahlberg (Saw II, New Kids On The Block), and Jordanna Brewster (The Fast and the Furious) are other members of the supporting case. Wahlberg, like his brother, Mark, and co-star, Tyrese, is a very competent lyricist-turned-actor who quickly and easily disappears into the character he's portraying. The other actors were competent, although I none of them blew me away.
The moments between Franco's character and his father kinda broke me up a bit, but I'm a sucker for male bonding/father-son moments. That's my baggage, so I'm not sure how objective my perspective is here.
I don't have a lot to say here.
The story was competently told. The boxing parts were somewhat choppy, at times, but were quite well-choreographed other times.
It's too bad the marketing folks didn't know what to do with this film.
Instead of depicting it as the drama it is, they used canned, assembly-line marketing ads which down-played the story and substance of this film. They really did these filmmakers and actors a disservice.
** EDIT: And after all that talk of others doing "these filmmakers and actors a disservice," I screw-up Tyrese's last name. Thanks to remnants of u for the correction.
It's Tyrese Gibson, not Tyrese Beckford, in this movie. (Sorry, ladies.) **