The Four Feathers

Bomb Rating: 

They should have titled this "Lawrence of Arabia Lite", because it's pretty clear that's what these amateur jerk-off filmmakers are shooting for. They expect us to believe that Heath Ledger could walk into the Sudan and pass for a native. I kept screaming out in the theater, "That's no Sudanese! It's Heath Ledger with some Underoos wrapped around his head!" but nobody else seemed to notice.

Heath's character, Harry Faversham, ends up in the Sudan after quitting the British army because he's chicken. He's also about to get laid by Ethne Eustace (Kate Hudson). I think if I had to choose between fighting a war in the desert and getting in Kate Hudson's pants, I'd choose the latter as well. Unfortunately, there's some stupid British code of honor dictating that it's better to go to war than to get into a hot babe's pants, and Harry is disgraced and given four feathers to symbolize his cowardice. Harry is left at home while his best friend, Jack Durrance (Wes Bentley), goes off to war.

Harry decides that he doesn't want to be seen as a coward, so he wanders off to the Sudan for who knows what reason. He's resigned his commission and doesn't speak a word of the native language, but seems to think he's just going to run into his buddies and do something heroic. Fortunately for Harry, he meets Abou Fatma (Djimon Hounsou), who not only speaks English, but seems to want to protect Harry from harm. From then on, every time Harry is on the brink of death, Abou shows up and saves him like some kind of giant black tooth fairy.

Since director Shekhar Kapur needs a villain, he quietly turns Jack into one, which is rather annoying since Jack isn't the coward. Jack serves his country, gets injured, then when he tries to make a move on Ethne, suddenly he's the bad guy. Naturally, Harry saves all sorts of people and returns home after Jack and Ethne are engaged, which gives Jack an opportunity to perform that "I'm such a good guy, here's your girl back" routine because he knows that Ethne doesn't really love him.

It doesn't help matters that the woman these two morons are in love with has two expressions: the "look, it's a chipmunk" expression and the "look, somebody killed my chipmunk" expression. Though she manages to at least vacillate between the two, it's just another distraction in this sandy wasteland of a movie.

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