12 Strong Movie Review
12 Strong was a good film that focused its energy on the heroics of the portrayed soldiers rather than the grim harshness of the enemy. While there's enough shown of the actions of the Taliban to give you an idea of their cruelness, it was nothing compared to more graphic heartbreakers such as Lone Survivor and American Sniper.
The film follows Captain Mitch Nelson and his small team of 11 men as they are deployed to Afghanistan. They must work alongside an Afghan warlord and his army in order to take down the Taliban. This team of 12 soldiers was the first to be deployed after the 9/11 attacks and went down in history as the "horse soldiers".
I do commend writers Ted Tally and Peter Craig for telling this story in just two hours time and keeping the flow of the story steady. Director Nicolai Fuglsig did a good job for this being his first major motion picture. The only issue I had with his directing style was that he showed you the images and the story but he wasn't able to grip you and emotionally rattle you. As I said before, this was his first major film so maybe he just needs a few more under his belt before he truly grasps his comfort zone. It was still a wonderful effort and I encourage him to keep trying.
The film as a whole, though, was good. It wasn't too graphic nor too over-the-top. It focused on the story of these men and told it like it was. It was very straightforward which, in this case, was a good thing. It allowed you to see that even the bravest of men are regular people like you and I who took a stand when no one else would whether it be because of fear or inability.
The acting was well-done. While Chris Hemsworth has made a name for himself as Thor or The Huntsman, he also proves here that he's capable of much more and I look forward to seeing where he takes his career after his Marvel contract is finished. Michael Pena joins Chris as a fellow combatant. Pena is by far one of the most overlooked actors today. He proves time and time again that he has a wide range and is a versatile actor. Michael Shannon also joins the cast, toning down his usual intensity to give us a vulnerable husband and father who's putting everything on the line to fight for his country. It was also nice to see William Fichtner again, albeit I never thought I'd ever see him bald. William's always been more on the odd side so seeing him in a biographical war film was interesting. Last but not least is Rob Riggle. Now, honestly, I've never been a big fan of Rob. His comedy has never been that humorous to me and if you had asked me yesterday what my favorite role of his was, I honestly wouldn't have been able to tell you. Now I can say that my favorite role of his was 12 Strong. He was real and in-your-face and stole each scene he was in. Fun fact: Rob Riggle plays Colonel Max Bowers, the battalion commander of the 5th Special Forces Group featured in the film. Riggle actually is a former Marine and served directly under the real Bowers during the same time period the film is set. I gained a huge respect for Riggle through this film and I hope he keeps up the good work.
In conclusion, the film is definitely worth seeing. It may not have had much emotion, but it did have a lot of heart and there were a ton of lessons that we could take away from it. I give the film a 3 out of 4.
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© 2018 Alec Zander