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Assault at West Point

Assault at West-Point: The Court-Marial of Johnson Whittaker is a movie based upon the true-life story of John. F. Marszalek. Cadet Johnson was unlucky enough to be from African-American descent in 1880. Not only that, he was the first ever ‘black’ young man to attend West-Point, which has always been considered as THE best military academy and one of the most famous and prestigious American institutions.

Fourty years after the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, Johnsons peers aren’t ready for a nigro (sic) in their midst who they are considered to see as their equal. Quite the contrary, they harrass him continuously. Johnsons peers prefer to see him not graduate, so they undertake action: they gag him, beat him, kick him and leave him for dead.What follows is unbelievable in these days and ages. Cadet Johnson himself is court-martialled, accused of faking his own beating in order to dodge the final exams. And although the perpetrators were hooded, Johnson knew who attacked him. At the trial, Johnsons attorneys fight over the strategy of their defense. The white attorney will show himself as a bigot, whilst the other attorney, played by Samuel L. Jackson (prior to Pulp Fiction), is a big over-zealous in the fight against the power of The White Man.

Assault at West-Point is somewhat of a slow-paced historical melodrama that is very politically charged at the start of racial integration in the United States of America.

Sound and Vision:
The movie was recorded in 1993 and released in 1994, so don’t expect state-of-the-art eye-candy. Au contraire, the DVD has a lot of grain, but I’ve got to say that it’s not that disturbing. After all, you cannot expect more than this, it’s an old movie. Still it remains bizar to watch a DVD in a 4:3 format.

As far as the sound is concerned, well… it’s a courtroom-movie which means you’ll get dialogues all the way. No carchases or explosions. The Dolby 2.0 does its work and you don’t need a fancy soundsystem.

Yeah… right

Assault at West Point is a genre movie for the fans. Samuel L. Jackson wasn’t at his peak when performing this roll, but he remains very enjoyable. Fans of courtroom suspense should probably rent or buy a more recent Tom Cruise movie (The Firm, A few good men, …) and stay away from this one because of lack of suspence. Personally I found the best element of the movie, the fact that it shows Caucasian Americans who mistreated their fellow citizens (African Americans) for centuries

Our Score:

posted in: Dutch Filmworks, DVD, Reviews

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