If the life of Carl Brashear, the first African-American to become a diver in the U.S. Navy, was really like it is depicted in the highly-scripted "Men of Honor," he would have seen coming, well in advance, every hardship he would ever have to face.

He'd have known whenever a bigot was going to shove him or called him a name. He'd have known when he'd meet the girl of his dreams. And he'd have gotten out of the way of that Russian sub which tangles his underwater gear in the climax of the third act.

It's hard to sit through "Men of Honor" without being pulled out of the story by the nagging feeling that creative license runs wild and unchecked throughout this blatantly fictionalized screenplay. But even if it is 110-percent predictable, the picture has two things going for it that help eke out a slight victory over its rigid, transparent structure -- solid performances from Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding, Jr.

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