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Todd Robinson
Sebastian Stan, William Hurt, Christopher Plummer
Writing Credits:
Todd Robinson

A Pentagon staffer investigates a strangely delayed award of the Medal of Honor to a hero from the Vietnam War.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 116 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 4/21/2020

• “The Women of The Last Full Measure” Featurette
• “Medal of Honor Ceremony Shoot” Featurette
• “That Others May Live” Featurette
• “USAF Museum Screening” Featurette
• “The Music of The Last Full Measure” Featurette
• William Pitsenbarger Tribute Gallery
• Trailer & Preview


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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Last Full Measure [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 20, 2020)

With 2020’s The Last Full Measure, we get a story about the Vietnam War, but with a twist. Inspired by true events, the film refers to “Operation Abilene”, a mission that took place in spring 1966.

As part of this action, US Air Force Pararescueman William Pitsenbarger (Jeremy Irvine) saved dozens of fellow soldiers. Unfortunately, Pitsenbarger didn’t survive this event.

Fast-forward to 1999, and ambitious Pentagon staffer Scott Huffman (Sebastian Stan) finds himself with the less than exciting task to research a request for Pitsenbarger to receive the Medal of Honor. As Huffman investigates, he finds a curious conspiracy to deny Pitsenbarger the award from over the decades.

Movies like Measure can become tough to criticize because they offer such noble, well-meaning projects. When a movie wants to bring honor, it feels like booing Santa Claus territory to say that the end result doesn’t really work.

Unfortunately, Measure doesn’t really work.

As admirable as it seems, Measure lacks real drama, and not because any half-sentient viewer can predict that Pitsenbarger will eventually earn the Medal of Honor. Of course, we know the film will reach this conclusion, so this doesn’t exist as a spoiler.

Instead, we crave an interesting story about Scott’s path. Alas, Measure can’t find much merit beyond its honorable intentions.

The movie intersperses Scott’s investigation with shots from Operation Abilene, and this meshing doesn’t pay off as desired. Although the flashbacks act to illustrate the actions of the veterans we meet, the movie fails to integrate the two sides especially well, so the jumps can feel jarring.

Much of Measure seems pedantic, as the film exists more as a long series in lessons about the War and its aftermath. We meet Pitsenbarger’s fellow soldiers and hear their stories without a smooth throughline.

This means that the narrative tends to feel jittery and without great clarity. While the various tales build the overall plot, they seem too episodic.

Measure also fails to add drama to Scott’s mission. Along the way, we hear about the risks he dares with his investigation, but these come with no weight.

Threats arise and then dissipate without an impact. Scott overcomes the various odds in a strangely simplistic manner that damages potential drama.

Measure does come with an excellent cast. In addition to Stan, we find Samuel L. Jackson, William Hurt, Christopher Plummer, Ed Harris, Amy Madigan, Diane Ladd, Peter Fonda, John Savage and other notables.

All offer more than competent work, but none can overcome the basic limitations of the screenplay. Though they add credence to the project, they don’t find enough room to develop their characters in an especially compelling manner.

I don’t want to come down too hard on Measure, and not just because I respect its goals. Even with its drawbacks, it remains a respectable, watchable drama. I just don’t think it finds the beating heart at the core of this potentially dramatic tale.

Footnote: we find comments from veterans during the end credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C

The Last Full Measure appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. I thought the transfer replicated the source well.

Sharpness worked fine. A few shots seemed slightly soft, but not to a problematic degree, and the majority of the film appeared accurate and well-defined.

I saw no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also caused no concerns.

Measure went with a mix of amber and teal. That was fine for the movie’s visual design, so I found the hues to seem appropriate.

Blacks were dense and deep, and shadows fared well. Low-light shots delivered appropriate delineation and clarity. All in all, this became a satisfying presentation.

I also felt pleased with the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Measure. A solid soundfield, it just barely lacked the ambition to reach “A”-level.

Not surprisingly, the mix came to life best during the war sequences. Bullets, explosions and the like zipped around us and made sure that we felt as though we were part of the action.

Even during more passive sequences, the film offered a good soundscape. Music showed nice stereo presence, while environmental elements popped up in logical, natural locations. Although the mix only soared on occasion, it still formed a solid sense of atmosphere.

From start to finish, the flick boasted excellent audio quality. Speech was crisp and concise, with good intelligibility and no edginess.

Music sounded bright and dynamic, and effects were very strong. They demonstrated fine clarity and accuracy, and the mix also featured positive bass response. This was a consistently engaging track.

A few featurettes appear, and The Women of The Last Full Measure runs one minute, 10 seconds. It just shows clips from the movie and acts as a promo.

Medal of Honor Ceremony Shoot goes for seven minutes, 28 seconds and provides behind the scenes footage from that scene as well as brief comments from veterans Ed Peters, Fred Navarro, and Johnny Libs. It becomes a decent addition.

Next comes That Others May Live, an eight-minute, one-second piece that brings notes from Peters, Navarro, Libs, veterans Kenneth Alderson, Ken Mize, Israel Pacheco, David Marchetti, David Milsten, and Enlisted Heritage Hall Museum curator William Chivalette.

“Live” offers memories of Operation Abilene. Given the presence of the actual participants, it boasts a strong punch.

USAF Museum Screening lasts six minutes, 11 seconds and presents clips from the movie’s exhibition with veterans and Pitsenbarger family in tow. It’s not great, but it’s interesting to see some of these real people.

After this we get The Music of The Last Full Measure. It goes for eight minutes, 16 seconds and delivers info from composer Philip Klein and writer/director Todd Robinson. We learn about the score in this moderately informative program.

A William Pitsenbarger Tribute Gallery presents a running collection of stills. It spans four minutes, 52 seconds and shows 51 images. These mix shots of Pitsenbarger with other elements related to his legacy and the film. It winds up as a good compilation.

The disc opens with an ad for The Peanut Butter Falcon. We also find the trailer for Measure.

As much as I respect the intentions of The Last Full Measure, the end result feels a bit tepid. The movie means well but lacks the expected drama and emotional impact. The Blu-ray brings very good picture and audio along with a mix of bonus materials. Expect a watchable but somewhat disappointing film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 3
0 3:
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