Blu-ray Review: LAST FLAG FLYING

Last Flag Flying is based on Darryl Ponicsan’s book of the same name. The movie was directed by Richard Linklater from a screenplay by Ponicsan and Linklater and stars Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne, Cicely Tyson and Yul Vazquez. 

Last Flag Flying reunites three Vietnam War veterans 30 years later when one of their sons tragically dies in the Iraq War. In 2003, thirty years after they served together in the Vietnam War, former Navy Corps medic Richard “Doc” Shepherd (Carell) reunites with former marines Sal Nealon (Cranston) and Reverend Richard Mueller (Fishburne) on a different type of mission: burying Doc’s son, a young marine killed in the Iraq War. Doc decides to forgo a burial at Arlington National Cemetery and, with the help of his old buddies, takes the casket on a bittersweet trip up the East Coast to his home in suburban New Hampshire. Along the way, Doc, Sal and Mueller reminisce and come to terms with shared memories of the war that continues to shape their lives.

When Doc loses his son, he locates Sal and Richard to tell them what has happened. The three former Marines haven’t seen each other since the Vietnam War so they have a lot of catching up to do while they take care of Doc’s son. The funeral arrangements end up becoming sort of an unnecessary circus thanks to the sleazy government and its secrets but Doc and his friends handle it in a stubborn kind of way. Long story short, the military lied to Doc about how his son was killed in Iraq and when he  finds out he decides to bury him at home in New Hampshire instead of in Arlington National Cemetery.

By the way, Doc is the quiet type, Sal is an obnoxious loud mouth and Richard is the reluctant reverend who is there for his friend. All three men are likable characters in completely different ways. Needless to say, there’s three completely different personalities that take this road trip together and this is a major part of the movie’s charm. This reunion isn’t all about tragedy for Doc because once he reunites with Sal and Richard, the three friends begin to reminisce about the war and the brotherly bond that they share. Fun memories resurface as they share their stories and this also serves as some much needed therapy for Doc while he deals with the tragic loss of his son and ultimately putting him to rest.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc has a light blue finish and features the movie logo. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Last Flag Flying was a touching story about honor, tragedy, respect and friendship. I’ve been a Richard Linkater fan for a long time (since Dazed and Confused first released) and it amazes me how he can tackle so many different kinds of topics and turn just about all of them into an interesting watch. This one deals with the military and the loss of loved ones but he finds a way to throw in just the right amount of humor to go along with this sensitive subject matter. Of course, he also has Steve Carrell, Bryan Cranston and Laurence Fishburne to help him and these three actors deliver some outstanding performances. This movie isn’t for everyone but it’ll sure appeal to anyone who has served in the military as well as their families and friends because these are the people who will really get it and understand what’s happening here. This one is for the Patriots. Last Flag Flying will be available on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) on January 30th and is worth checking out.

Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Run Time: 125 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition 16×9 Widescreen (2.40:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

Special Features: The extras include two featurettes, three deleted scenes, outtakes and a digital copy of the movie.

  • “An Unexpected Journey: Making Last Flag Flying” Featurette (15:48)
  • “Veterans Day” Featurette (05:41)
  • Deleted Scenes (05:38)
  • Outtakes (09:11)
  • Digital HD Copy

 

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