The Cristeros War is a conflict that few people outside of Mexico have ever heard of. It came right after the Mexican Revolution much like the War of 1812 followed American Revolution - does anyone really remember what the War of 1812 was all about?


After the Mexican Revolution, the new government had an anti-clerical position but never enforced any of the new laws. After several coups and counter coups until President Plutarco Elias Calles got in office and began religious cleansing - basically killing anyone Catholic.


At first it started out with priests, but moved to catholic supporters.

The resistance fighters were disorganized, initially following leaders with no military experience: A priest Father Vega (Santiago Cabrera), a violent ranch hand named Victoriano 'El Catorce' Ramirez and Father Aristeo Pedroza (Jose Carlos Montes). They understood fighting, but didn't understand organized war.


It wasn't until the revolution hired a former general from the revolution, Enrique Gorostieta Velarde (Andy Garcia). Velarde was retired and in the pharmacy business which he found boring.


But he was known as a great tactician and leader of soldiers, which is what the Cristeros needed. Though he was an atheist he gladly took their gobs of cash and declared himself in the war.


Velarde and the other "generals" rarely saw eye-to-eye, but after he saved their hides a few times they grew to respect him.

Had the film stayed focused on the war and fighting it probably would have been better than it was. Instead director Dean Wright decided to add an unnecessary sub-plot with velarde and a young boy named Jose (Mauricio Kuri) who left home to fight with the Cristeros.


After Jose witness the federales murder of his family priest (portrayed by Peter O'Toole) he quickly matured and left home to join the fight with a friend.


But Jose was to young to join, so Velarde assigned the two boys to chores around the rebel camp.

This was Wright's first film as director, most of his previous experience came as a special effects guy. But he shows solid talent directing the many battle scenes - and there are a lot of battle scenes.


Casting was solid even with Andy Garcia as Velarde. At first he comes off as a mac-daddy character, until I read (and saw) that Velarde was a pretty boy general! The use of Eva Longoria was strictly momentary eye candy as her scenes are regrettably few.


With the strong cast and the adept direction, the only real issue is the useless inclusion of the Velarde/Jose relationship - that should have hit the editing floor as it drags the film to it's two hour length.


"For Greater Glory" succeeds in enlightening the general populous to an event that otherwise was long forgotten.   -- GEOFF BURTON