Set during 2004 when George W. Bush enlisted the National Guard to fly overseas for Iraqi War, Allegiance follows Lieutenant Danny Sefton, a member of the National Guard, risks his career by helping a fellow soldier, Specialist Chris Reyes (Bow Wow), a crucial medic, to go AWOL before he and his division get deployed to Iraq. Why does Chris want to go AWOL so desperately? He wants to be with his cancer-stricken young son, but Lieutenant Colonel Owens (Aidan Quinn) refuses to allow him to be transferred to another unit so that he wouldn't have to be deployed. Danny does get a transfer because, after all, his father happens to be a U.S. Senator. Will Chris successfully escape to visit his son? Will he, Danny or other National Guard members avoid getting into trouble?
The plan that Danny hatches to help Chris go AWOL undetected isn't particularly clever, elaborate or fool-proof enough to lead you to believe that it would actually go smoothly. Writer/director Michael Connors fleshes the characters of Danny and Chris out gradually, but they could have been given more of a back story so that they're not merely stock characters. Danny does go through dilemmas that are initially provocative, though, so it's a testament to the toothless screenplay that Allegiance never becomes truly powerful or insightful. During the first few minutes of the film, you get a chance to spend a little bit of time with Danny and fiancée, Leela (Reshma Shetty), as she drives him to the military base, but what about scenes showing Chris and bonding with his son? If Connors were to include those scenes instead of just rushing right into the second act, Chris' plight would have packed much more of an emotional wallop. What about including a back story to Colonel Owens? Without one, he comes across as one-note and even a bit cartoonish rather than a fully-rounded, complex character. Connors should have let the characters breathe more with life, details and even simply having them engaged in more conversations with one another so that'd be somewhat memorable. Additional comic relief would have been beneficial, too.
While it's refreshing to watch a military drama that doesn't rely on action, CGI or heavy-handed preaching as a means of entertainment, Allegiance ultimately bites off more than it can chew, lacks bite and feels a little undercooked.