This is the story of the first African American troop in the U.S. military, during the Civil War, immediately after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. There are many things to like about this film: the portrayal of the blacks were not all heroic and the idea of a black troop was not presented as a strictly wonderful thing. Some of the issues, like racist troop pay, were brought up. Denzel, as usual, was marvelous, and Morgan was good, although he didn't have much to do apart from offer meaningful face expressions. Matthew Broderick, as has been mentioned often, is completely miscast. I have never seen a less convincing fit of rage in my life. On the other hand, the film was gorgeous. In general, a solid film.
But it is too sentimental, too patriotic, too noble for my taste still. The ending is so precious and is packed with meaning that isn't borne out by the rest of the movie. I do wish I had some patriotic racist friends to recommend it to, though.