Review: ‘Not Yet Begun to Fight’ chronicles struggle of wounded vets

Guide Collin Brown shows Navy SEAL Elliott Miller (ret.) how to place the line in a scene from "Not Yet Begun to Fight."

The documentary “Not Yet Begun to Fight” follows war veterans on the mend from different physical and psychological traumas as they take up fly fishing. Retired Marine Col. Eric Hastings, a Vietnam vet, co-founded the Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation, a Bozeman, Mont., retreat that provides a six-day recreational program that supplements the rehabilitation regimens for wounded service personnel.

Along for the ride are Marine Capt. Blake Smith, who survived a helicopter collision that left him paraplegic; retired Navy SEAL Elliott Miller, who was shot and lost his ability to speak; Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Hupp, wrestling with post-traumatic stress disorder; Marine Cpl. Erik Goodge, who lost his right eye in a blast; and Army Sgt. Erin Schaefer, also paraplegic. This turns out to be the perfect companion piece/illegitimate sequel/rebuttal to “Act of Valor,” the Navy SEAL recruitment commercial turned feature-length patriotic claptrap.

“Not Yet Begun to Fight” is barely an hour long, but it justifies a theatrical release with a lyrical meditation on nature and war reminiscent of “The Thin Red Line” and “Beau Travail.” The juxtaposition of untouched wilderness with broken bodies in “Not Yet Begun to Fight” adds urgency to its lofty existential conundrum (and mercifully helps the film avoid turning into a glorified infomercial for Hastings’ organization).

Ultimately, though, it’s slightly disappointing that directors Shasta Grenier and Sabrina Lee confine the movie to just the weeklong fly-fishing expedition, sidestepping a few worthwhile tangents — such as the veterans having to re-learn everything through physical therapy — that could have been expanded on.



‘Not Yet Begun to Fight’

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour

Playing: At Laemmle Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills