Samuel Hunt and Merritt Patterson star in “Unbroken: Path to Redemption.” (Universal)

Samuel Hunt and Merritt Patterson star in “Unbroken: Path to Redemption.” (Universal)

‘Unbroken’ a fussy correction to its predecessor

“Path to Redemption” picks up where Angelina Jolie’s 2014 film faded into text.

  • Friday, September 14, 2018 1:30am
  • Life

By Katie Walsh

Tribune News Service

“Didn’t we already get an ‘Unbroken’ movie?” you might ask, about “Unbroken: Path to Redemption.” Is it even possible to have a sequel to a biopic? Faith-based film production company PureFlix thinks so. “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” serves as a bit of a coda to Angelina Jolie’s 2014 film about the amazing World War II survival story of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini, a minor corrective.

Both films take Laura Hillenbrand’s biography as inspiration and adaptation material, but “Path to Redemption” picks up where Jolie’s film faded into text. All the truly dramatic events from Zamperini’s life like the 1936 Berlin Olympics, being shot down in the Pacific and surviving on a raft for 47 days, his time in a Japanese prisoner of war camp and being declared dead — all that is shoehorned into an opening credit sequence depicted in newspaper clippings. For “Path to Redemption,” the action starts back home, after the near-death experiences and hero’s welcome.

“Unbroken: Path to Redemption” is a story about PTSD and the difficulties of normal life after surviving events that are very much not normal. The highs and lows go away, and plopped back in suburban Torrance, Calif., war hero Louis (Samuel Hunt) finds himself at loose ends and at the bottom of the bottle, the only way he knows how to cope with the terrifying flashbacks he endures of his crash, the raft, the prison camp and the Japanese guard that tormented him, “Bird” Watanabe (David Sakurai).

There’s not all too much story to fill in the gaps left untold by Jolie’s film, but “Path to Redemption” zeroes in on Louis’ struggles to adapt back to life, even after getting married to his wife, Cynthia (Merritt Patterson), and having a daughter. It’s an endless cycle of nightmares, drinking and career failures until Louis inches closer to rock bottom. It’s not until his wife convinces him to attend a tent revival hosted by Billy Graham (played by Graham grandson and preacher, Will Graham) does Louis see another way out.

The journey from rock bottom to seeing the light is one we’ve seen before, and “Path to Redemption” doesn’t break the mold, relying on melodrama and stereotypes to get us where we’re going. The hardest thing for Louis to do is let his guard down, let go of his ego and ask for help in a humble way. It could be Jesus Christ or anything spiritual that happens to show up on the day you’re ready to let it all go. It just happened to be Billy Graham for Louis.

But with all the focus on the bottom, “Path to Redemption” misses a lot of the good stuff at the top. The film is bookended with a trip back to Japan in 1950, photographed by Time magazine, where Louis demonstrates the power of forgiveness, a tenant of his faith.

Hunt gives it as all as the tortured Louis, but Patterson is the heart and soul of the film, giving a far more interesting performance as his long-suffering wife.

While “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” provides some of the best production value for a PureFlix film to date, its focus on one moment in a life of incredible moments makes it feel unnecessarily prolonged, and a fussy correction to a film about Zamperini that already exists.

“Unbroken: Path to Redemption” (2 stars)

Based on Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling book, “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” begins where the hit 2014 movie “Unbroken” concludes, sharing the next amazing chapter of the unbelievable true story of Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini.

Rating: PG-13, for thematic content and related disturbing images

Now showing: Alderwood Mall, Everett Stadium, Galaxy Monroe, Mayrsville, Cascade Mall

Talk to us

More in Life

Sugar beets with fresh leaves in the garden. The Red Veined Leaves of Beetroot (Beta vulgaris).
Love it or leave it: The gardener’s to-do list for August

If you do this month’s chores, you’ll no longer be referred to as a “yardener,” or a casual gardener.

The 13-inch-high antique wooden San Rafael figure with wings and holding a staff and a fish sold at a Cottone auction for $9,600. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
Wooden figure of San Rafael the Archangel made circa 1763

Fra Andreas Garcia, an 18th-century Mexican Franciscan friar and folk artist, carved and painted the figurine.

"Blackadder" hummingbird mint features flower spikes of dark red-purple peppered with tiny mauve blooms. (Rick Peterson)
Great Plant Pick: Agastache ‘Blackadder,’ giant hyssop, hummingbird mint

The highlight of this clumping perennial are the flower spikes of dark red-purple peppered with tiny mauve blooms.

Everett indie rockers Moondoggies will perform for A Dick's Drive-In Summer Series at Wetmore Theatre Plaza on Aug. 6. (Jason Neuerburg)
Get ready to rock ‘n’ roll outdoors in Everett this August

The events Music at the Marina and Dicks Drive-In Summer Series have eight outdoor shows set through August between the two of them.

This year’s Quilts on the Beach is scheduled for July 31 at Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island. (Cama Beach Quilters)
Home and garden events and resources around Snohomish County

Home and garden events and resources around Snohomish County

Hamilton-Beachbum Zombie served at Latitude 29 in New Orleans — and now your own home bar. (Randy Schmidt)
He cracked the Zombie code. Now he has his own Zombie rum

A new spirit from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry is here to reanimate your tiki cocktails.

Bright beautiful background of ripe fruits. Organic healthy food.
On Nutrition: Fructose: The simple sugar with a bad reputation

You shouldn’t fear fructose, which is found naturally in fruit. But you should reduce or limit added sugars.

What do ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ digestion look like in the loo?

There are many benefits of balanced digestion and many risks associated with imbalanced digestion.

Ask a Pediatrician: How high should SPF of kids’ sunscreen be?

The broad-spectrum sunscreen, which will screen out both UVB and UVA rays, should have a sun protection factor of at least 30.

Most Read