Without its topical pretext and overzealous patriotism, Allegiance would be just another generic action film. Set in 2004, writer/director Michael Connors's first feature is only tentatively concerned with the tension that arises after National Guard units are ordered to deploy to Iraq. That mandate forces Sergeant Reyes (Bow Wow, no longer Lil'), a talented medic, to serve abroad against his will. So Reyes's fellow soldiers scheme to return him back to his wife and young son. Their plan forces Lieutenant Sefton (Seth Gabel) to forsake his own exemption and start actively caring for the other members of his unit. Initially, Connors has Reyes's friends, all black and Latino, sneer at the white, self-interested Sefton for having a powerful military father who would bail him out if he got in real trouble. But the film's interest in exploring class and race in the service vanishes once Sefton becomes an action hero while trying to get Reyes back to his family. A throbbing Hans Zimmer–lite soundtrack overscores scenes in which faithful soldier Lieutenant Chambers (Pablo Schreiber) devolves into a teeth-gnashing baddy. Even Sefton's pivotal moment of duty-bound conversion feels trite because Connors's Allegiance doesn't dare anything beyond what other minor actions flicks are already pledged to. Simon Abrams
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