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  1. Published on: 31/01/2018 03:25 PMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: The true story of the first Special Forces team sent into Aghanistan after 9/11.

    War films based on true stories are usually the best ones, especially if done in the right way.

    From the trailers it certainly looked promising, and the star power definitely pushed my expectations up a bit more.

    What I got in the end could well be one of the surprises of 2018.

    When a film has a mission/expedition, and the build-up to the actual story can get me excited, then that's a great early sign that it's winning me over. It managed to do exactly that. But it wasn't getting me totally invested.

    However the more well executed set-pieces that came, the more it was having me thoroughly entertained. There was also a pinch of comedy in some of the side-plots that run throughout. I think that just nicely eased the constant tension of the main story and gave you something different to react to. Though what was really impressing me, was the strength in the characters and their development. By the time the finale came round, I was just loving it more and more and it ended with a fitting emotional and uplifting vibe.

    On a weird side-note, the way this story was structured, I think this would be a great video-game.

    There were a lot of committed performances. I know a lot of people don't see Chris Hemsworth, they just see Thor. But for me, Hemsworth became his actual character in this one and carried the film really well. He had a fully-fledged arch and and had a solid development.

    As for the supports, not only was there one stand-out, but I think it stole the entire film by the end. Navid Negahban's character was a revelation. At the very start, I just thought his character would just be there for exposition. But the more dialogue he was given and solo screen-time to develop his characters motives, I was seeing a much more integral part of the story emerge.

    The rest of the cast did a good job when needed. Michael Shannon is always a safe pair of hands, and did well when required. If you liked Michael Pena in Fury, then expect more of that in this. It was nice seeing Rob Riggle be given a serious role and use his military background to great effect. Even William Fichtner is in this, which is never a bad thing. My final mention goes to Trevante Rhodes. It was great to seeing him involved, as I remember him well from his performance in Moonlight.

    There a lot of powerful scenes, both from a visual and dialogue standpoint. A lot it reminded me of The Last Samurai, particularly Hemsworth's relationship on-screen with Negahban's character, as it was similar to Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe's chemistry.

    I also really appreciated the sets being out on location as that gave the set-pieces a lot of weight and gravitas.

    The only thing I would have liked more if I was being picky, was more development on the political side. I noticed that they did not seem to bother covering that part of this war. But that didn't seem to be the directors intentions. Concentrating on the human side of this story worked well, kept me invested and made it a thoroughly entertaining experience. So I therefore ignored that minuscule gripe.

    I must mention that I can see some people maybe finding the ending a bit too feel-good and predictable. Thankfully, I didn't mind that and I actually thought it worked rather well.

    This a really nice surprise and is a wonderful addition to the 9/11 related films. I would probably rank it 3rd, behind Fahrenheit 9/11 and the brilliant United 93.

    Maybe it was due to my middling expectations, but I think it having good re-watchability will shun those thoughts aside.

    There is a strong sense of realism in its set-pieces and in the production in general that certainly influenced my score. I left the film feeling proud that people like them exist in the real world, and what they did was pretty brave and heroic.

    What made it work the most, was how that they depicted the risks and dangers really well, and you felt for them in that situation.

    The comradery and sense of brotherhood between the soldiers I felt was fairly strong and what you would expect with a troop. I have to again mention Hemsworth's efforts. If you feel he is just a one-trick pony at playing Thor. Watch him in this, you will be surprised.

    Rating: 8/10
     

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