’12 Strong’ tells the heroic story of the first team of American soldiers dispatched to Afghanistan after the horror of the 9/11 terror attacks. The story was de-classified in 2014 leading to a subsequent book, ‘Horse Soldiers’. This film adaptation of the book stars Chris Hemsworth and is directed by Nicolai Fuglsig.
We start with the introduction of some of our cast, in their civvies, at home, and becoming aware of the attack in New York. The events lead to Hemsworth going back to work and wanting to lead his team of Special Operatives into the country, literally weeks after 9-11. They did in fact pave the way for the rest of the military to enter the country. Hemsworth and his team meet, trade gifts and gain the trust of Abdul Dostum of the Northern Alliance and together they storm the land held by the Taliban. The issue of the real character of Dostum is also a bone of contention, with the film underplaying the true violent and double crossing nature of the real life Dostum. The plus points of the production, are of course the performances from the leads, and the battle scenes, and in a war movie, that’s an important part of the recipe to get right. You have to care about what’s going on, and it has to look good on the big screen.
However, the production falls flat in a few other respects, and for me the bad out weighed the good. There is an awful lot of cliches in this film, and I just know that when Cinema Sins gets hold of this, they will have a field day with them. The script itself doesn’t help either. There are plenty of lines, that are delivered so awkwardly, I found myself finishing the line before they did during the dramatic pause. Hemsworth is terrific, I think he’s genuinely a nice guy and I would definitely have a beer with him. but he is so wooden here , probably due to the script, and his accent is all over the place. He is also so iconic in the Thor role, that every time he got called “Cap” I kept thinking I was in an alternate universe Marvel movie.
The big battle scene at the end of the film, throws everything at us. The Afghan troops all have Storm Trooper syndrome, and are really incompetent, Hemsworth and his men ride into the fray on horse back, straight through a hail of machine gun fire and rocket launchers. Now I haven’t read the book, but heart racing as the scene was, it just felt a bit over produced for the sake of a thrilling final reel. 12 Strong has a story that is important and relevant, there is no denying the bravery of the men involved, but I wonder how the movie would have looked if it had been handled by a different team?
Obviously it is easy to compare it to ‘Black Hawk Down’, or ‘The Hurt Locker’, and see that tonally there may have been a different approach, however what we get is a rip roaring adventure flick, that is great for what it is, but perhaps detracts slightly from the real story. If you are a fan of the genre, you have to go, if you prefer your war films to be a little more ‘Homeland’ than ‘Star Wars’, you might find this a little hokey.
Rating – 6/10
Question: What is your favourite Chris Hemsworth role other than his performances as Thor?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
Thanks for reading this review and please let us know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop us a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.