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A Matter of Honor (1995)

As the head rugby coach at a small college, John Bull teaches his players to live and play with integrity. But when an old nemesis returns to campus, what price are he and the team willing to pay for honor?


Fred P. Watkins


Craig Cosgray


Credited cast:
Allen Arkus Allen Arkus ... Raider
Jackson Bostwick ... John Bull
Karl Kimbrough ... Referee
David Michie ... Deano
Briggan O'Bryan Briggan O'Bryan ... Pepperdine
Hank Slaughter ... Michael DeRosa (as Leon Slaughter)




As the head rugby coach at a small college, John Bull teaches his players to live and play with integrity. But when an old nemesis returns to campus, what price are he and the team willing to pay for honor?

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and some moments of violence and sensuality

User Reviews

Freshness Missing From Derivative Yarn.
26 September 2007 | by rsoonsaSee all my reviews

This production is labelled by its fabricators as an intentional reflection upon the highly successful 1989 film DEAD POETS SOCIETY, and several sequences are baldly copied after the original, but its narrative is quite thin, while its principal actors lack the requisite enticement required to approach the finesse of its purported model. As a professor of history and rugby coach at imaginary St. Cyr College in north Texas, John Bull (Jason Bostwick) has transliterated his taste for studying military strategies utilized by Napoleon Bonaparte and his generals to the athletic field where his personal adherence to the principles of honour and discipline have helped in bringing many victories for his rugby teams engaged in college league competition. Additionally, Bull has begun a romantic relationship with the newest member of the St. Cyr. faculty, professor of chemistry Victoria Bennett (Rebecca Gray), whose youthful spirit has patently improved staid John's emotional life, although it is somewhat difficult for a viewer to know this because of Bostwick's stiff execution of his part. John stores a good deal of distaste within him for a former teammate from his own rugby playing days, Nick Raider (Allen Arkus) whose competitiveness turns upon a doctrine of winning no matter the cost, therewith directly opposed to that of highly ethical Bull, from whom Raider had purloined his fickle girl friend, later marrying her. Raider contrives to arrange for a scrimmage between a professional club that he coaches and John's St. Cyr squad whose playing captain, Michael (Leon Slaughter), through his acceptance of Raider's challenge believes that he and his team will be defending Bull's honour, while the pro coach has in mind an assault upon his old foe's reputation. As must be expected, the professionals outplay St Cyr's youths, a contest marred by Michael's death from a broken neck, a result of an intentional foul delivered during the scrimmage and Bull's good name is sullied as a result of the incident. He is generally condemned for the tragedy, and soon after Michael's demise Bull finds himself largely devoid of students since eighty of them withdraw from his class. In addition to this, he is informed by the college dean that his services will not be required beyond the current semester, and Veronica ends their affair as she also believes that he is responsible for the death of Michael, who was a physical analogue for her own late brother. In the face of all of this, John challenges Raider to a duel in the traditional manner, using as weapons black powder flintlock pistols! An obviously minimal budget will excuse many weaknesses revealed within a production, but not to the extent of those in evidence from this clumsily constructed work that lacks a consistent point of view, instead being an attempt to combine romantic melodrama and a sporting flavoured tale, providing only an unattractive narrative that is woefully short of sequences that might interest a viewer. There would seem to be an insufficiency of coherent insight behind a disarranged script that reeks of triteness. Bostwick and Arkus offer Johnny One-Note performances. Most of the cast and crew are Texans, with many of the players having primarily stunt experience. Gray does her best with the clichéd lines furnished to her. Post-production editing is weakly accomplished, and a blaring, often nonsensical, score frequently overrides mumbled delivery from players. A number of camera compositions are quite creative, but this cannot compensate for what is essentially a disconnected work, presenting little of which those involved might be proud. Similarly, there are several rather brief yet interesting rugby action scenes that are too few to allay the muddled monotony of the storyline.

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Dallas, Texas, USA See more »

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