A major disappointment. Lee manages to frame a handful of effective scenes, but not enough to make James McBride's heavy-handed and hackneyed script work. Surprisingly hokey and sentimental, the performances are uneven and it goes on way too long. Lee is almost always an interesting filmmaker, but this is definitely one of his weakest efforts.
This is a story worth telling, but it wasn't told well imo. It's too long and unfocussed, although it does have its moments, and in those moments we get a clear glimpse of what might have been.
The final battle scene in the village is great though.
By how empty and boring the final product was (with the exception of a couple of moments, the movie lacked any genuine emotion), it's hard to believe this was a project of passion from Lee (he had wanted to tell this story basically ever since 'She's Gotta Have It' got distribution). There's a lot more life in his recent director for hire gig, 'Inside Man'