Director Carey Scott’s “Faith of Our Fathers” (Pure Flix) is a well-intentioned but awkwardly uneven account of Christianity’s impact on two generations of families.
Still, a faith-promoting message of an evangelical stripe pervades the proceedings — no bad thing these days, especially for adolescents who are more usually bombarded with secular narcissism at the multiplex.
In 1997 California, John Paul George (Kevin Downes) — a humble, God-fearing postman who’s preparing to marry his fiancée, Cynthia (Candace Cameron Bure), discovers a box of military items that had belonged to his late father Steven (Sean McGowan). In circumstances that remain unclear to John Paul, Steven was killed in Vietnam just after his son’s birth.
Intrigued by a letter about Steven’s platoon-mate Eddie (Scott Whyte), John Paul sets out to find his dad’s erstwhile comrade and learn the truth about his death.
The search brings him to Mississippi, where he encounters Eddie’s hillbilly son, Wayne (David A.R. White, a co-writer along with Downes and Harold Uhl). Like Steven, Eddie, it turns out, perished in combat.
Needless to say, the boy has issues, and zero interest in resurrecting the past. But John Paul is insistent. In exchange for access to Eddie’s letters, John Paul agrees to accompany Wayne on a trip to Washington to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and seek “closure.”
As they bond, flashbacks recall the friendship shared by their fathers, also oil and water: Steven, pious and Bible-reading; Eddie, a master of ridicule.
Slowly, we’re shown, Steven’s sincerity won Eddie over — and the whole platoon with him. Even the skeptical Sergeant Mansfield (Stephen Baldwin) came around, later telling John Paul, “Your father taught me that men don’t have to die when they die.”
Despite hokey dialogue and contrived situations, “Faith of Our Fathers” deserves some credit for its godly and patriotic outlook. The film contains brief scenes of mostly bloodless combat. (A-II, PG-13)