If you are a fan of movies based on true stories that are inspirational, you may want to check out the new film “Unbroken: Path to Redemption.” The film is a sequel to the 2014 film “Unbroken”, but features an all new cast. The story follows Louis Zamperini (Samuel Hunt) upon his return from being held as a prisoner in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Zamperini, along with other prisoners at the camp endured torment until their eventual release.
The Olympian finally returns to his home in California where his family warmly greets him, but after attempting to settle back into a normal life, he has constant nightmares about his main tormentor, nicknamed The Bird (David Sakurai), and even has visions of the war criminal in his waking hours. While on tour to raise money for war bonds, Zamperini’s heavy drinking has caught up with him, and he is ordered to take a vacation in Miami. While in Miami, he meets Cynthia Applewhite (Merritt Patterson), who captures his heart and the two are soon wed. The two begin what they hope will be a happy life, but after Zamperini’s failed attempt to try out for the upcoming London Olympic games fails, he once again seeks solace in the bottle. Zamperini has also had trouble finding a steady job, and he and Cynthia have basically been living off the money his family was given when he was thought to be dead. The only good news the couple seem to be able to celebrate is the upcoming birth of their daughter. After his daughter is born, everything appears to be a bit better for Zamperini, but more failed attempts at finding work cause hims to sink further into alcoholism. Cynthia is at the brink of moving out with their daughter and divorcing Zamperini, but due to encouragement from a sweet neighbor in their apartment complex, and her deep faith in God, she has a change of heart.
Cynthia keeps encouraging her husband to give up drinking for the sake of their daughter, less bringing shame to the household when she grows older. Cynthia has also attempted to get her husband to attend church with her, and despite all her failed attempts, he eventually attends the Los Angeles Crusade of Billy Graham. It is during this meeting, Zamperini is so touched he gives his life to God and his world is forever changed. The Olympian even travels back to Japan to confront his former tormentor, with the original intent of killing him, but after his life altering experience, he leaves him a copy of the Bible, as Zamperini displays the ultimate in forgiveness. Even though he never directly meets The Bird, he does get to shake the hand of many of his former tormentors from his prison camp, who are now being held in a prison by America.
The movie ends on a wonderfully positive note, and the former Olympian and University of Southern California track star, eventually founded an organization to help at risk youth, which continues to be run by his family today. The actor portraying Zamperini does a wonderful job capturing the struggles of the troubled veteran, and is the center and heart of the film. One can’t help but cheer for the former Olympian as he struggles to find a place in the world after the war. The supporting cast also proves to be effective, and the onscreen chemistry between Hunt and Patterson is effective. If you need to be uplifted, “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” is the film for you. Just bring a few tissues. (Rated PG-13)