Troubled by the thought of fighting in a war he doesn't believe in, a young British officer resigns from the army. Branded a coward by his friends and fiancée, he embarks on a dangerous rescue mission in the Sudan to restore his reputation.
A sexy young cast, a director hot off the back of Elizabeth, a massive budget, a classic novel that gave birth to several exciting movie adaptations... Things should not have gone so badly wrong for The Four Feathers that it is now forced to slip quietly into UK cinemas during a weekend dominated by The Hulk.
Its much-delayed release could easily (without too much of a stretch) be blamed on the global situation - when Her Majesty's troops are fighting a controversial war, is the mood right for a film that questions dying 'for Queen and country'? But the simple truth of the matter is that The Four Feathers is a ham-fisted piece of storytelling.
Aesthetically, it's beautiful. Every single shot is astonishingly well-crafted. Narratively, however, it's a disaster. Huge gaps in the story make it impossible for the audience to invest their emotions in the characters or get caught up in the adventure.
With so many cinematic blueprints to draw from, how can this be such an uninvolving mess?