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Movie Beat: Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon help balanced, entertaining "12 Strong"

Movie Beat: Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon help balanced, entertaining

(You best believe that drone cameras fly around every moment of combat to maximize those production values.) The movie is such a swirling, explosive, and machine gun-happy bit of action pap, it's nearly too easy to forget that's it's a true story.

For Hemsworth, the movie highlighted real-life superheroes.

A long-brewing passion project for producer and noted military fetishist Jerry Bruckheimer, 12 Strong is the true story of the first American soldiers who went into Afghanistan following 9/11, and it is the least interesting version of that story imaginable: a monochromatic experience of beige men running through grey terrain, occasionally punctured with explosions or stretches of turgid dialogue about honour and the brotherhood of warriors. He immediately asks to go into combat, forms a team of soldiers, and lands what his superiors think is next-door to a suicide mission.

There is pride and pain in serving our country, and "12 Strong" did a pretty good job at showing the reality of war and what it means to truly fight for freedom.

"12 Strong" recalls both a tragic defeat and a triumphant success in modern American history. When it follows the soldiers on the ground, it loses the thread with constant quick edits and shaky cam footage.

The best parts of the film focus on the bond between the fighters, initially just the Special Forces team but eventually also the way they earn the respect and trust of the Afghans fighting against the cruelty of the Taliban. First Class Sam Diller and stone-faced Michael Shannon as Chief Warrant Officer Cal Spencer getting more than one definable characteristic. Fuglsig stages the various firefights between the American/Afghani and Taliban forces capably; also, a lot of the action seems to be practical, eschewing obvious or cartoonish green-screen or CGI.

More news: Movie stars join California women's march

"That's because many foreign governments have unsuccessfully tried to fight wars in the region, and they have always retreated". Seeing as this is something that the American soldiers did not witness, they could not have told Doug Stanton, the author of the non-fiction book this is all based on, about it, so this extra layer of evil has to be the creation of screenwriters Ted Tally and Peter Craig and it comes across as a little much.

This leads to another potentially unsolvable problem, which is that the Taliban is represented as a almost faceless villain within the context of the film. As a basic plot 12 strong is unique but the overall execution fails miserably and could be avoided at the cinemas. We're given motivation to hate the Taliban with that exhausted screenwriting trope, a perfunctory scene of violence against women, which is to justify the airstrikes the Americans call in again and again.

Another reason this film was well written was in its portrayal of the antagonists. Watching them execute innocent women is wildly unnecessary. This presents more than one predicament and the audience is left wondering - is this a trap? Seeing as the Americans never come to the aid of the specific family whose matriarch is murdered, you could literally cut the vicious scene out of the film without changing anything but the runtime.

What separates "12 Strong" from the pack, however, is its ability to introduce and stay with a band of brothers worth caring about. We get hints of the soldiers feeling slightly regretful that they leave their wives and children behind, just as there are hints that the wives and children aren't able to hide their heartbreak in spite of knowing what they signed up for, being married to soldiers or being fathered by them.

The movie was filmed on in New Mexico and opens nationwide today. There's never that claustrophobic intensity that gunfire induces, with most action sequences coming across as repetitive.


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