12 Strong (2018) – Review

After the horrific events of September 11th, 2001, the United States determine that the Taliban in Afghanistan were responsible for the attack on their citizens and assets so act swiftly to respond. Consequently, a special forces team made up of 12 men, headed by Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth), is tasked with assisting the Northern Alliance in their fight against the enemy by providing foot support along with coordinating air support. It’s worth noting that this review was based solely on the movie I watched at the time and not the true story it was based off.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Director: Nicolai Fuglsig
Writers:  Ted Tally, Peter Craig, Doug Stanton
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Michael Pena, Navid Negahban

It has to be said that the movie does an extremely good job at providing the viewer with the relevant background as to why the mission was about to take place immediately after the atrocities of 9/11. In fact, a large portion of the opening half of the flick was devoted to this – it demonstrated the emotions felt by each of the men and their families as they were preparing to be deployed for such a serious mission. Many of the wife’s were even resentful of the fact that their husbands were risking their life to go and fight for the country they love with the potential of never returning.

Rather interestingly, the combative scenes appeared in all shapes and sizes, ranging from small and quick clashes with the enemy all the way to large scale assaults that involved thousands of troops, often with the allied soldiers outnumbered considerably. There was also a solid sense of suspense built through significant parts of the story, as the Americans had to put their trust into the unknown on more than one occasion when working alongside fellow combatants or entering dangerous territory.

Much of the cinematography was fantastic – one shining example coming late on after a heroic battle scene where a single surviving horse is seen sprinting through the battlefield from above. Filming locations such as New Mexico, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan were used, and their beauty was certainly showcased in this one.

In terms of the cast, it wasn’t star studded by any means, but Chris Hemsworth did a brilliant job as the Captain of the squad, while Michael Pena, Michael Shannon, Geoff Stults, Trevante Rhodes and several others did well portraying the soldiers sent over to fight in Afghanistan. Navid Negahban also shone as the leader of the Northern Alliance, not the only actor you’ll recognise if you’re a fan of the long running TV show, Homeland. Something worthy of a mention too was the surprise of seeing William Fichtner with a freshly shaven head – Fichtner adopted the role of Colonel Mulholland, who spent much of his time overseeing the operation.

All in all, a movie jam-packed with air strikes and an endless amount of horse back riding through the sensational mountain terrain. A good watch but not quite on the same level as some of the movies in the same genre unfortunately.

“Odds are, we’re not all gonna make it out of this one…”

Captain Mitch Nelson – 12 Strong

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