An invitation to a prescreening of a major motion picture is not something that happens to me often. Okay, so it has actually never happened before Tuesday night when a friend asked if I wanted to tag along to an advance showing of “Courageous,” a cop movie scheduled for release on September 30th. You should know that the invite did not come from a law enforcement friend, but from a pastor, which was a clue that this was not going to be a typical cop flick.
The synopsis of the film goes like this:
As law enforcement officers, Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes, and their partners are confident and focused. They willingly stand up to the worst the world can offer. Yet at the end of the day, they face a challenge that none of them are truly prepared to tackle: fatherhood.
While they consistently give their best on the job, good enough seems to be all they can muster as dads. But they’re quickly discovering that their standard is missing the mark.
They know that God desires to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, but their children are beginning to drift further and further away from them. Will they be able to find a way to serve and protect those that are most dear to them?
When tragedy hits home, these men are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, their faith, and their fathering. Can a newfound urgency help these dads draw closer to God … and to their children?
Courageous is from Sherwood Pictures, the same group that delivered Fireproof and Facing the Giants. If you liked those, you are really going to like this one. This movie works; the action scenes have a real feel, the jokes will make you laugh out loud and there are scenes that brought men in the theater, discreetly, to tears. If you are a Dad you will almost certainly relate to one of the five main characters. These five, all in various stages of fatherhood, four of them cops, resolve to be better fathers and then struggle to keep their commitments and hold one another accountable to them. The Courageous message is Robert Lewis’ Men’s Fraternity and a Promise Keepers conference packed into an entertaining and compelling movie. It is an important message that every Dad needs and this movie brings it very well.
But, no matter how good the message, it is often hard for me to watch police movies without dwelling on those painful moments when tactics or procedures become ridiculuous or cheap cop stereotypes appear excrutiatingly on screen. You know those scenes – when you discover how little the moviemaker knows about police officers or law enforcement and didn’t care enough to listen to a cop before putting goofiness on film. I was pleasantly suprised that Courageous does not have this problem. Building searches on screen always bug me, so I won’t even mention that, and the big gunfight would have gone a whole lot better if just one squad car had a shotgun or rifle in it, but that is still a real problem for officers in some places. The only time the movie really departed tactical reality was with “the slingshot.” Watch for this one, but don’t try it at work, unless you are more interested in a workers comp claim than catching a bad guy.