Moving quietly through the northern Afghanistan Mountains, the Navy SEALs have their eyes fixated on many villagers, searching for a particular target; a local leader of a gun party. This was one of many missions that the SEALs have taken on to try and find that one domino that would make the other pieces of Al Qaida fall along side. The problem here isn’t that our men aren’t prepared enough, rather it’s that we still know very little about the enemies of the state. I’ve mentioned before that the more random the attacks and crusades are of the group, the more unpredictable they become, giving us very little to plan.
One lesson in the military that’s tough to accept is that when you enlist, your signing a waver on survival. Sacrificing yourself to Uncle Sam gives the chance to prove how much of a hero one can be. Does being physically the strongest of the brigade make a hero? Is being the bravest make a hero? No. Those ideas only make one person a regular human. A real hero is simply a person who’s willing to put their own safety in place of others. A true story account of one guy’s courage is told in the military action thriller, Lone Survivor.
Marcus Luttrell (played by Mark Wahlberg) is a commander of his own SEALs is getting ready to take upon his next mission, Operation Red Wings. Their assignment will have them dropped in the mountains to kill a leader of Al Qaida, Ahmad Shah. The rest of the seals include Michael Murphy (played by Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (played by Emile Hirsch) and the newly joining Erick Kristensen (played by Eric Bana). They are like a band of brothers, as they joke and fool around like any set of friends would do.
Their quietly sent into the Mountains where they try to keep a quiet watch on their target. Things go well for a while until they find a team of goat headers are trekking the same are the SEALs are in. The three villagers are captured and a heated argument ensures about whether to kill the mission compromise, tie them up, or set them free. Despite objections from Luttrel, the captures are set free. The SEALs retreat further into the wilderness waiting for what they think will be just a few militias. It turns out that there are maybe a hundred men ready to open fire on the four SEALs.
I’ll address an immediate problem; the title. When you call your movie Lone Survivor, you’re likely to know what’s going to happen with the other SEALs. And honestly, I don’t think the movie cared as much for the side characters. It may sound like that I’m criticizing people that died for us, I’m not. It’s simply with how they were portrayed, and I didn’t get much personality from the SEALs except for Marcus Luttrell. Their actions are one thing, but personality is another, and all I got from a lot of the military characters were a lot of traits I’ve seen before like in Full Metal Jacket or Zero Dark Thirty.
The action feels real. Like in Zero Dark Thirty, Lone Survivor wanted to make sure capture the gritty atmosphere that was evident in the real War on Terror. Just a little reminder, this is a very bloody action movie, almost on the verge of being a horror movie. So understand that this is an unforgiving story about death as well as survival. Lone Survivor benefits from having real military working on this film, as it does feel like that I’m watching a documentary rather then a movie.
I’ll give this four military radios out of five. The Lone Survivor has traces of a good story along with some impressive war action. If I had gotten to know the side characters more, I would have said that this was one of the best of 2013. The best it’s not, but it’s a good standard action movie.