Category: History, Action
Actor: Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon
Director: Nicolai Fuglsig
Produced by: Alcon Entertainment
Director Nicolai Fuglsig and a movie based on Doug Stanton’s famous “The Soldiers”, 12 STRONG also stars Michael Peña, Navid Negahban, Trevante Rhodes, Geoff Stults, Thad Luckinbill, Austin Stowell, Ben O’Toole, Austin Hebert, Kenneth Miller, Kenny Sheard, Jack Kesy, Laith Nakli, Fahim Fazli, Yousuf Azami, Said Taghmaoui, Elsa Pataky, William Fichtner and Rob Riggle. Is it a movie you are expecting? There is something interesting about this movie, you and moviebox.live explore through the review 12 Strong.
Trailer 12 Strong:
Perhaps just not quite strong enough
Story was ordinary. Nothing you haven’t seen thousand times before. Pretty straightforward from the beginning till the end, but it worked. Dialogue was mostly sharp and clever, with a few missteps here and there. As it was yet another “based on a true story” there were moments, quite a few, that felt way overly glorified. Artificial even. But perhaps that was a necessary evil to create more meaning for characters. Which, speaking about the devil, brings me to the compulsory over the top villain, because bad guys have to be maxed out on all aspects of vile behaviour.
Acting was solid for the most part. Great cast all around. Hemsworth pulls his weight and the team follows. At times even blindly, which is fine, because the enemy (because they’re bad) shoot like stormtroopers. However, the next time I’d recommend taking more cover, and wearing a helmet couldn’t hurt either. Perhaps they’re too pretty and wanted to show it off?
Which brings me to visuals. Action was engaging and tense, nothing bad to say about that. Some key explosions felt a little flat though. Camerawork was enjoyable. Nothing too fancy and therefore unnecessary. No crazy “shaky cam” during the chaotic battle scenes, but a mandatory shell-shock sequence, which seemed a tad too familar.
The score and sound is decent. Both serving their purpose, but don’t really go that extra mile. In a film such as this there probably isn’t any need to. Unless one likes to challenge themselves to find out exactly how many guns are firing all at once during a scene or a take. If that’s even possible. No memorable song to listen to when riding into a battle either. Well. It really wouldn’t be much of a covert operation, crawling between the rocks, “Valkyries” blasting from the boom-box.
Same goes for directing. It’s a job done well. All in all. And despite some minor gripes, the film is enjoyable for the most part. But I cannot help but feel like it fell a tad short. It seemed a bit too clean and cut out. What was coloured in was kept exactly within the lines. I guess that’s that “based on” aspect. Life itself is much more colourful, it doesn’t care about borders. It’s ragged, jagged and jaunty. Quite like the truth. And there are many true sides to any true story.
*** WATCH 12 STRONG ONLINE FREE ***
That Final Charge on Horseback Saved It All
About a month after the NYC attacks of 9/11/2001, a 12-member US Army Green Berets code-named Operational Detachment Alpha 595 (ODA 595) were chosen to be sent on a covert mission to Afghanistan. As part of Task Force Dagger, they joined forces with General Abdul Rashid Dostum (Navid Negahban) of the Northern Alliance to reclaim key Taliban-held cities there.
The members of ODA 595 all had to ride horses because of the inhospitable terrain and distance they needed to cover. This was no problem for their charismatic leader Capt. Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth), who grew up on a ranch, but this was his first time in actual combat. The other members, like Cal Spencer (Michael Shannon), Sam Diller (Michael Pena), Ben Milo (Trevante Rhodes), Vern Michaels (Thad Luckinbill), etc, had to master their horse-riding skills overnight on top of their combat skills in order to keep up with their dangerously harrowing mission.
When they get to Afghanistan, it took some time for the war action to get going, as our heroes still needed to acquaint themselves with their unfamiliar allies. While the intense battle scenes took us in the middle of the gunfire and explosions, there was point when the action actually became repetitive as we would see the same strategy of attack (get coordinates of the camp, launch airstrike to decimate the enemy, engage the remained on the ground) for all the Taliban encampments, with just a little dramatic variation here and there for the sake of distinction.
The centerpiece battle scene however was only upon us by the final thirty minutes or so of the film. This was the grand charge of Nelson’s ragtag troop ON HORSEBACK to attack the superior numbers and firepower of the Taliban troops. That was an elaborate but very well-executed battle sequence for which this film would be remembered for. It was certainly unique, exciting and exhilarating to watch, worth the whole price of admission in itself.
This was a good war film even if the 12 Americans all seemed to lead charmed lives despite the overwhelming odds stacked against them. On the other hand, the Taliban were all portrayed as cruel religious fanatics, as there were scenes commenting on their inhumane beliefs and practices particular about women. A strong all-American patriotic sentiment swelled at the end, fully expected in a true to life story of modern heroism as this. 6/10.
Thor wins, of course. But not the movie so much or The US in Afghanistan.
Yes, Thor wins the battle but has lost the war ever since. Chris Hemsworth plays a stalwart, heroic Captain Mitch Nelson in the docudramaed engagement by Special Forces in Afghanistan after 9/11. On horseback, much less. The movie is called 12 Strong and 12 American soldiers did succeed in beating back an Al Qaeda warlord. Not one American soldier was lost.
This feat, through a pass that would be considered Thermopylae at any time, was successful because of the cooperation of Afghan warlord General Dostum (David Negahbon), a joint venture that surely must have set the model for our endless and fruitless attempts to bring justice to that rogue country. No country has achieved success in over 2000 years, a testimony to the difficult warfare well described in this film.
Beyond the rocks and hills are no memorable lines (ironic because the writers penned superb Silence of the Lambs and The Town) and no twists of fate. 12 Strong just trudges forward to a mountain pass that promises death except for the dashing captain’s Lawrence-like rush to save the day.
In other words, this is another B war movie with not even 1940’s stirring wisecracks or satisfactory twists. I should note that hints of writing greatness occur when the captain and the warlord engage each other in philosophical repartee. Too little.
The obligatory goodbyes to family and children are there at the beginning and at the hellos in the conclusion. This formulaic stuff does not a great film make.
That’s all folks except the waste of Michael Shannon as Chief Warrant Officer Hal Spencer. While Hemsworth can never seriously be wasted because of his heroic mien and film provenance, Shannon is too good an actor to be given such a lean role.
If you want to make some sense of the Byzantine world of Mud-eastern battle, then see 12 Strong. If you want solid filmmaking, re-see Saving Private Ryan.
Finally a war movie where you can root for the heroes
Finally a heroic war movie with lots of action that is an interesting true story and the viewer can root for the hero because they are on the right side of history. There have been a lot of war movies recently that are on the depressing side where everyone but one is killed, or it’s an anti war movie where the futility of war and being on the wrong side for the wrong reasons, or they are up against overwhelming odds and put up a valiant fight but fail. 12 Strong isn’t one of those being set in 2001 before things got all muddied in Iraq.. The story is simple and clearly explained and the mission is easy to understand. They are the first force to go after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 2001. As things progress the battles become more and more intense from planes dropping bombs then scary gun battles to tanks vs horses to a grand finale that is a true Western style horses and guns blazing all out battle. The cast is good – Chris Hemsworth doesn’t overwhelm the screen so he is convincing enough. Michael Shannon plays a soldier quite well too.
There are a few slightly cheap things about the beginning and ending, it’s not as slickly done as a Peter Berg movie. Nevertheless it’s a good solid almost old fashioned in concept war movie that leaves you with a good feeling.
Not that Strong…
12 Strong tells the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11; under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down the Taliban. 12 Strong was a big disappointment from me both in terms of story and characters but also as a war film in general since it takes like 51 minutes to get in the action part and when it does it’s direction of the action parts was dreadful to sit threw since we’re talking about a 2hr film with 25 minutes tops of action sequences. The perfomances are also bland and kinda boring to watch and Chris Hemsworth’s overall character development and the rest of the men as well wasn’t what i expected since i didn’t found myself invested on any of them or their families and when the film goes there it does a bad job with it. Also it feels like Rambo III at times if Rambo III was a 2hr film of people talking to each other now don’t get me wrong i didn’t expect action all the time but i expected well written characters to care about for example watch Hacksaw Ridge or Saving Private Ryan and you’ll get me. Overall this is another January film and i’m afraid the worst of 2018 (so far). [0/10]