The movie opens with a struggling scene where Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel), the new cop in town, struggles to save his stolen pickup truck. T.J. (T.C. Stallings), a local drug dealer, has stolen Nathan’s truck from a gas station. Nathan is not concerned about the vehicle. He’s concerned about his infant in the back seat. He holds onto the pickup’s steering wheel for dear life while dangerously hanging outside the truck.
The theme of control, through the analogy of holding onto a steering wheel and not letting go, prevails as five fathers learn what it takes to be men of courage. These five men all share their experiences and are witnesses to the mercy of God, causing them to decide that it is no longer their desire to be “OK fathers,” but instead to promise to be the leaders of truth in their households. This resolution is written by one of the four police fathers, Adam Mitchell (Alex Kendrick), who loses his daughter, and signed by all four police officers, including a friend, Javier Martinez (Robert Amaya), causing a cascade of honor and marital respect that is beautifully told through each family’s story.
Adam Mitchell has served as a police officer for a while and has seen the worst in people. Unable to separate work from family, Mitchell has to learn the hard way what it means to appreciate the moments with his family.
I knew the movie would be heartfelt and tried my best not to cry, but the scene where Mitchell buys a CD and dances outside a bank to relive a moment he feels he missed while his daughter was alive, brought three or four wet ones bombing down my cheeks.
Ben Davies plays David Thomson, who is the rookie on the police force. While Thomson was in college playing ball, he impregnated a girl and left her. Four years later, Thomson is a cop, and his illegitimate daughter lives 30 minutes away and has never met her biological father.
Kevin Downes plays Shane Fuller who is Mitchell’s partner on the police force. Fuller loses grip of “life’s steering wheel” while having to juggle fatherhood, alimony, and other expenses.
Ken Bevel plays Nathan Hayes who is the new cop in town. As the new cop, Hayes makes quite an introduction to the police force after struggling to regain control of his stolen pickup.
Finally, the hilarious Robert Amaya plays Javier Martinez. After becoming unemployed, Martinez cries out to God for help to provide for his family and Martinez meets Mitchell and the other officers who all take a liking to him and help one another out.
Again, through each of these persons are episodes of tribulations that send the audience on a roller coaster. The fathers are seen as calm and prepared to enter any peril while at work, but are cowards when it comes to fatherhood. Their inability to connect with their families only changes after tragedy.
During the middle of the film, the five fathers decide to stop being “OK fathers and take on the responsibility of ‘spiritual leaders.’” As spiritual leaders, they are willing to lay their life down for their wives, and will instill in their children a love for God and virtuous behaviors.
So, I dare you to watch “Courageous,” and encourage you to accept the mission of being more than OK, by being God–like.