Like a pastor so caught up in the moment that he can't see that the air conditioning has given out and the congregation wants to go home, the film travels far beyond its dramatic climax, aiming for an altar call finale.
The performances are effective all around with director Kendrick quite moving in the central role of Adam, the veteran officer, who suffers a horrific family tragedy that sets much of the film's plot in motion.
The many topics raised - gangs, drugs, immigration, absentee parents, poverty - are examined with didacticism and platitudes instead of by mining their inherent complexities.
Dares to preach its highly controversial message in order to inspire the faithful while risking the ire of critics and non-believers. Its message? Fathers, man up.
Yeah, it's still a preach-to-the-choir movie, but this choir doesn't really see itself on the big screen very often, so don't begrudge them a film where the action hero cop stops and prays for guidance before big gun battle. It happens.
It has some occasional rough acting, is too episodic for its own good, and could have been trimmed by a good 30 minutes. Even so, it's the group's most accomplished offering to date and that's saying something. (Movie Review for Parents also available)
A valiant effort, but Courageous is such a clumsy motion picture, incapable of delivering its critical messages without displaying some of the most cringe-inducing filmmaking of the year.