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Review: A disappointing 'Allegiance' goes AWOL

'Allegiance,' about National Guardsmen called up for duty in Iraq, loses track of its own point of view in favor of more generic storytelling.

January 03, 2013|By Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
  • Shad "Bow Wow" Moss, left, and Aidan Quinn in the movie "Allegiance."
Shad "Bow Wow" Moss, left, and Aidan Quinn in the movie "Allegiance." (XLrator Media )

Set in 2004, against the backdrop of a National Guard unit being called up for active duty in Iraq, "Allegiance" is an intermittently compelling but ultimately disappointing drama that loses track of its own point of view in favor of more generic storytelling.

The guardsmen are portrayed as neither gung-ho bozos nor know-nothing yokels, but rather people conflicted between country, commitment and the specifics of their own lives, as a year or more of fighting in a foreign war is a much bigger obligation and hazard than one weekend a month close to home.

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The press notes for the film herald the military service and Ivy League credentials of both writer-director Michael Connors and producer Sean Mullin, which seems to imply that the story comes from experience or direct knowledge. This makes it all the more disappointing that the makers of "Allegiance" don't stay true to what's distinctive in their own premise. They back away from a more unique story of soldiers' experiences before their deployment; instead, the action devolves into a fairly standard chase plot, with a few soldiers assisting another in going AWOL.

Actor Shad Moss, formerly known as Bow Wow, still exudes a slight puppyish quality that makes him seem out of place in the role of a young father. As a soldier who may have used his privilege and family connections to get a transfer that will keep him stateside, Seth Gabel (familiar from the short-lived TV satire "Dirty Sexy Money") is more convincing.

mark.olsen@latimes.com

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