Another Christian drama from Sherwood Pictures Ministry (the same people who made Fireproof and Facing the Giants), Courageous is about four policemen who are trying to bust up a local drug ring. After the Sheriff reveals a link between fatherless children and criminal activity later in life and a horrible incident occurs in one of their families, the story shifts to the policemen taking up the Sheriff's challenge to be better fathers. As the story unfolds, each of the police officers is shown striving to be the best father he can be according to The Bible.
Officer Adam Mitchell (Alex Kendrick) hopes to reconnect with his son, Dylan (Rusty Martin Jr.). Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel) attempts to form bridge of trust between himself and his teenage daughter as she navigates through dating (or not dating). Divorcé Shane Fuller (Kevin Downes) tries to be a good role model to his son, while David Thomson (Ben Davies) begins a journey to rediscover his old girlfriend and the child he had with her. During all this, another family enters the scene and Javier Martinez (Robert Amaya) makes a late addition to the challenge as he battles living life honestly in a corruptive workforce.
Widely regarded as a major step in quality over all previous films by Sherwood (not just with the script but also with the overall filming itself).
- Adult Fear:
- When Nathan is getting gas for his car, a carjacker attempts to steal his car, which has Nathans infant son in the back seat.
- Imagine letting your daughter go to her friends birthday party and she ends getting killed in a car accident. Adam also has to live with the fact that he kept putting off time with her and never doing things like dancing with her or attending her dance recital.
- An Aesop: This being a Christian drama its inevitable.
- As the Good Book Says...: The characters spend a good bit of time discussing what The Bible says about being a good parent.
- Bad Butt: Due to being a Christian film, the cops are often shown doing pretty spectacular things, minus the profanity and the smoking, drinking etc.
- Bilingual Bonus: Javier's Lunch Order of Doom
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Inverted. Javiers boss wants him to fudge some numbers, and Javier and his wife struggle and pray mightily over it. When Javier steps up and refuses, his boss promotes him for his honesty.
- Death of a Child: The death of Adams daughter is a big turning point in the film. The tonal shift goes from a goofy cop film to a heartbreaking drama after shes killed.
- Dirty Cop: Shane is revealed as having stolen drugs from the evidence locker in order to resell them to make some extra cash.
- Disappeared Dad: Officer Thomson is this having left his child before she was even born to flee responsibility.
- Daddy's Girl: Adam Mitchell's daughter before she dies... Also, Nathan Hayes' daughter, Jade.
- Everyone Has Standards: When two members of Dereks gang think about shooting Nathan and David, Derek holds back the leader as hes preparing to shoot Nathan.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Well, in a film about cops... yeah.
- Good Parents: In contrast to all the other fathers' issues with their families, the Martinez's seem to have things together in that regard.
- Mood Whiplash: This movie can go from tear jerking to hilarious and back again over the course of just two or three scenes.
- Nothing but Hits: Taken to another level with nothing but Southern Christian hits.
- Novelization: A novel version (written by popular Christian author Randy Alcorn) was released alongside the movie. The novel version includes several new characters, a Massive Multiplayer Crossover featuring the Holts (from Fireproof) and new recruit Brock Kelley (from Facing the Giants) and the revelation that drugs sold by Shane were what the driver that killed Adam's daughter Emily was high on).
- One Steve Limit: Subverted and Played for Laughs with Javier.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Adam Mitchell's 9-year-old daughter Emily gets killed by a drunk driver.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: At the end. they're not cops for nothing!
- Papa Wolf:
- Nathan fights a guy thats trying to steal his truck with his son in the back seat.
- In the climax, one of TJs gang try to capture a little girl to use as a hostage. The moment she cries out for her father, he comes outside and helps Adam fight off the gang member.
- Police Are Useless: Subverted. Not only are the police useful on the job, they're trying to be useful in their whole lives too.
- Prefer Jail to the Protagonist: Officers Fuller and Mitchell have to take a captured burglar/drug holder to the jail while Javier is in the back. Mitchell deals with it by calling Javier the leader of the Snake Kings and instructing the guy to yell for help if Javier tries to kill him. Javier ramps up the paranoia by rambling creepily in Spanish. By the end of the ride, the formerly belligerent youth can't wait to reach the "safety" of a jail cell.
- Product Placement: The Chick-Fil-A menu that was one of the Crowning Moments of Funny in the movie.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Nathan Hayes comes across as this to the teenagers in his life, despite what they initially think.
- Secret Test of Character: Javier is convinced that refusing to fudge the numbers will cost him his job...
- Shoutout: At one point, Adam's watching TV and the dialogue about a local fire sounds oddly familiar...
- The Cynic: Shane Fuller often plays this role in conversations, but usually gets talked down or convinced that he's being... well, the cynic.
- The Everyman: Adam Mitchell is meant to fill this role so what does that say about The Everyman when he wields a gun in an epic shoot-out with some nasty gangbangers?
- The Idealist: In contrast to Shane Fuller, Nathan Hayes is often this to the group. Somewhat of a Reconstruction of the trope, as he's definitely looking on the bright side, but he's also not sitting back waiting for good things to happen.
- The Unfavorite: Dylan seems to feel this way in the beginning.
- Twerp Sweating: Played with. Nathan Hayes wants Jade's potential date to sweat, but he doesn't fall into the trope at all, choosing instead to argue with Nathan. Turns out to be a mistake on the kid's part, and good judgment on Nathan's, considering that Derek, the aforementioned kid, is a recent gang initiate involved in the shootout where Nathan was targeted.
- Writer on Board: Did we mention it's a Christian movie intended to teach An Aesop about being a good father?