Marcus Luttrell and his team set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah, in late June 2005. Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare.
Enemy territory of spoilers ahead!
Also, let me spoil the end of this review: I won’t be generous with this movie, so I’ll say this: I’m being critical of the movie as a movie, not as the personal experience of Luttrell and his company/co-workers/friends.
The story is, basically this: A bunch of broguys in the army, doing brothings, like brorunning go into a bromission, which is find if a VIP target is in a small village in the Afghanistan. The do, their radios didn’t work, they are found by some villagers that support that Taliban and are left with three options: kill the villagers right away, left the villagers tied to die of starvation or cold or left them go and face an army of Talibans protecting the village. The pick the 3rd option, things go wrong and Luttrell is… the lone survivor! (and… roll credits!)
But seriously, the movie rubbed me in the wrong way right out of the start: It starts with some cadets training to be SEALs. Yeah, yeah, it’s the hardest job in the planet, they are the most trained people in the planet, yadda, yadda, yadda. I get it. I don’t get it, though, that it shows those guys almost drowning, almost dying of hypothermia and for those who can’t get it have to be public shamed in front of other guys, and why should I care for them. Oorah, good for them. I couldn’t care less on how hard you survived some abusive physical training.
And then cue to those guys (now the actors) buy bros, doing bro things, like going bare chested, in the morning, talk to another bare chested bro, to ask about horses. Again, I know how I’m making it sound, and I’m making it sound on purpose, but I don’t mean in any shape or form damage the real guys image. It’s just the way the movie put it.
But hey, I had to endure 30 minutes of this absolute no pace at all of the story so hey, I can make as many jokes about this as I want.
But ok, this is a movie about waaaarrrr, so what it is about waaaarrrr? Well, it’s a bunch of fuck ups that actually made me feel sorry for Luttrell and his company for getting into it: Apparently they barely knew the terrain, the really didn’t know anything about the villagers and their habits, they knew communications would have problems and they did absolutely nothing to mitigate those problems. Oh yeah, and none of them knew how to talk to the villagers, just in case. Military intelligence my ass.
Actually, that’s the best 30 minutes of this 2 hour long movie: Their movements in the mountain, how the collect more information about the village and the VIP, how the find good spots, how those guys can sleep in the middle of this… This part is actually the good — and only good — part of the movie.
And then you have the shooting scene. And from the village of 10 or so houses, about 200 Talibans appear. At least 25 stay in the mountain to cut their escape route, about 50 are killed by those 4 guys and there is still a bunch that come back to the village. A little exaggeration of the movie makers, I guess. In no way, such remote village could hold that many people — and we are talking to extra people, we are not counting the people who already lived in the village.
And the shooting scene goes for another 30 minutes. And there is a lot of blood being splattered around. And there is a lot of talibans dying in a single shot. And there are those 4 guys being turned into pin cushions with so many bullets and cuts and whatnot, but they still fight ’cause MURRICA, FUCK YEAH! And there is so much blood in those 30 minutes that Dracula would have a hard on. And it’s boring, it’s hard to follow, the camera keeps shaking, and sometimes they put this “hey, look, this is the sniper scope!”, which cuts half of the screen space. And then you have “oh, look, this guy killed three talibans but oh, no, he took a shot in the shoulder, but now he killed more three but oh no, another shot in the leg now”. And it goes on, and on, and on, that after the first 5 minutes you get bored watching it.
Apparently there was some helicopter being hit by an RPG when they were almost saved, but I was skipping most of it to avoid the boredom of watching this nonsense that I partially missed it.
(Again, not saying that if Luttrell & co had to face that many people, take that many shots, still kill that many enemy soldiers while fighting for their lifes it’s pure bullshit; what I’m saying is that, for theatrical presentation, it’s bullshit.)
And the last 30 minutes is Luttrell being rescue by one of the villagers, getting caught by the Taliban VIP, almost dying, seeing the villagers raise against Taliban (in what, thinking now, it was a way of saying “see? Not all of them are bad!”) and his final rescue.
I won’t talk about acting, ’cause, again, bored to tears, I skipped most of it. The only thing I can say is this: Every time Taylor Kitsch was on the screen, every time he spoke sometime, all I could think of was “Wil Weathon?”
In the end, I have to give only 3 saved soldiers of a battalion of 10. Everyone else died in the hands of the enemy.