If you have seen the first “Saints and Soldiers” film, you know it was made to honor those who fought for freedom. “Saints and Soldiers: Airborne Creed” is an addition to the franchise and, like the original, is based in historical fact.
The 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment was part of operation Dragoon, an offensive that took place two months after D-Day in August 1944. The soldiers parachuted in early and did not hit the targeted drop zone, yet are credited with defeating German forces.
“Airborne Creed” is the story of three of these soldiers.
After his jump, Curtis (Jasen Wade) finds himself nowhere near the drop zone or his fellow soldiers. As he is trying to find anyone from the American forces, Germans locate him. He realizes he is surrounded, surrenders his rifle and is treated roughly by his captors. He's saved, though, by a quick-thinking American, Rossi (Corbin Allred), who is an accurate shooter.
They in turn find Jones (David Nibley), who outranks them and takes charge. Jones decides they need to complete their mission and meet up with the rest of the battalion. They estimate that they need to travel 13 miles over German-held ground. While traveling, they encounter German soldiers and team with French resistance fighters.
In “Airborne Creed,” the filmmakers again succeed in their goal of showing the human side of war. Some may think this version of the franchise is an LDS film, but only in the sense that it was made by Mormon filmmakers. The focus is on how soldiers deal with surviving the atrocities of war. Religion is only mentioned because Jones was going into the clergy before he joined the military.
Then there's the inevitable question: Is this new film as good as the first one? Each of the soldiers' stories is compelling, but “Airborne Creed” is less believable than the first film. There are some shots and scenes that appear staged and quickly thrown together. But cast members do a wonderful job playing their roles and connecting with the audience. Each of the main actors draws the viewer into his life.
The PG-13 rating comes from the violence associated with war. Parents, if you are taking kids to this film, note that you will see hand-to-hand combat, guns and explosives in a war scenario. Death is shown, along with the fear of being placed in a deadly situation. There is some kissing, but no nudity or objectionable language.
“Airborne Creed” is a war movie, plain and simple. It honors those who are willing to be soldiers who put their lives on the line for the rest of us at home. If you were a part of the military at any time, this film thanks you for your service.
Shawn O'Neill is the Family Man Movie Reviewer on BYU Radio. His reviews can be heard on byuradio.org and on SiriusXM channel 143.