It is more rare than not that I know nothing about the movie I plan to watch. I like to know what I’ve gotten myself into story-wise and as regards MPAA-rated content, and I admit, I like my spoilers (most the time). This is one I knew zip-o about. I went into the video store for something else, spotted this one on the shelf where the cover art seemed to tell a story not unlike something I’d enjoy, much like that of a Hallmark film. Find out what this one is all about below.
Connor (Kellan Lutz) is a rebel. Passionate about the sport LaCrosse, the high-school senior has been benched more times than his coach cares to think about for repeated offences and a reputation as an uncooperative team player. Connor’s normal, simple world is about to change. His career marine father is moving his family – again. This time the family of four – Connor, his little brother and mother (Gabrielle Anwar) are moving from the sunny beaches of California to the east coast and Arlington Virginia. Fitting in at a new school is not the easiest thing for Connor because of his propensity to pick fights but his father has pulled a few strings to get him into the private school he attended as a teen, and it is one with one of the best LaCrosse programs in the country which will hopefully lead to his playing on the Navy team in college. When the coach proves unwilling to play Connor because of his transfer, Connor learns he must start to demonstrate to everyone that he can play with his teammates instead of against them – then his dad is called up for another six-month tour of duty… only this time, he never returns.
Top everything else off with a dash of teenage romance between Connor and the “prettiest” girl (Ashley Greene) in school (who also happens to be the coach’s daughter – there’s a coincidence) and this becomes a typical little drama full of angst. Having said that… this is actually an interesting tale that tells one of redemption and overcoming grief in tragedy. The story itself seems to “grow-up” along with its protagonist, making the movie a decent study for an hour-and-a-half. I’ll confess I was a bit disappointed in it during some moments mainly resulting in the lackluster pace that the story moves. Perhaps that isn’t justified in saying because I knew next to nothing about the movie, but still it is blatantly obvious in a number of scenes that the story could have benefited from better pacing.
Starting out, the film isn’t promising. There is a voice-over setting up the story and it is sweet but we are left wondering what three Indian men running around have to do with the story – naturally all of it explains itself but I still think the opening could have been stronger. As mentioned earlier, about midway the plot gets caught up and seems to slow dramatically which isn’t exactly “boring” but it could have used a little extra nudge to “move along.” It is a really fine line in a movie such as this because as an aspiring writer, I understand the emphasis on allowing time for healing but I also know that you should keep your viewers vested in the story and if nothing else, hold their interest. I was never bored with A Warrior’s Heart but it does stumble once in a while. Fortunately for these two stars of a certain vampire trilogy (still not typing it out *wink* - this tagline even references the saga), their performances have more depth that Taylor’s recent attempt at a leading role. We are still treated to a fair amount of teenage trivialness but Kellan actually turned in a decent, admirable performance given he played a seventeen-year-old (note to casting directors: please start casting actors that can actually pass for a high-school student, because young face or not, Kellan does not cut it). Limited screen time prevents Ashley from really shining but her character is cute with Connor plus another reason this movie jumped out at me was the name Gabrielle Anwar (Burn Notice); seeing her in this role was a real switch – and those who watch her USA show know just what I mean when I say this.
If you are looking for an escape from norm or a family movie that has potential, check into this one. It isn’t exactly award-winning – technical issues pop up in the form of conversations that are not just a bit stilted but also the sound seems to echo, it isn’t difficult to understand but it was a flaw nonetheless – but production issues aside, this one is worth looking into. The film demonstrates a triumphant story of a young man stepping up with the help of many to become a man his father would have been proud of – the kind of man Connor needed to be in order to live a life as a productive human being without regrets… a life that was heading toward disaster. There is also a subtle (very subtle) inclination that the story centers on Christianity – whether or not it might have wanted to explore that concept further is never clear. A Warrior’s Heart is more of a quiet impact but nevertheless it has something important to say.