Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Miracle at St. Anna


Spike Lee is an uneven filmmaker, to say the least. Lately, except for some good documentaries, I can’t say I’m too impressed with his work. Which is a shame, as this is a story that needs to be told, but better than this.

The history of the Buffalo Soldiers, all-Negro cavalry units of the US Army, stretches back to 1866. In World War II, as most people know, most black soldiers and sailors peeled potatoes, cooked, drove trucks and such. Not the 92nd Infantry Division. Like the celebrated 442nd regimental combat team, composed of Japanese-American boys (except for the officers, of course), they saw a lot of fighting. This is a story of one unit who went up against the Germans as they were massacring almost the whole population of a small Italian town for hiding members of the Resistance. Four men get separated from the others, hole up in the town and try to survive.

It’s a very old-fashioned war story, and I have no idea how accurate it is, though I suspect it’s really mostly made up. It went along okay for a while, but in the end it degenerated into a shoot-‘em-up I didn’t believe for a second. It’s really too bad. These guys deserved better, just like the Tuskegee Airmen deserved a better movie that the pretty awful Red Tails.