Lone Survivor– the title alone should tell you that this isn’t going to be the most upbeat, happy-go-lucky film. It also sorta-kinda spoils the end (although it does leave the question as to who the lone survivor is), but even if you try to come in prepared you’re probably going to get caught off-guard with this intense, well-choreographed war drama.
Mostly based on the written account of the real-life lone survivor, Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, Lone Survivor tells the story of a four-man squad of Navy SEALs tasked with capturing/killing Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd. As you might expect, this plan goes off the rails in a hurry.
Now, I’m not exactly the world’s biggest Mark Wahlberg fan, but it’s hard to argue that he didn’t act his ass off in this film. There’s a lot of care and respect put into the telling of this story, with everyone from the director to the writers to the actors having clearly put in a lot of time and care into the project. Director Peter Berg manages to create involved combat scenes that pull you in in a way few films do. Whenever there’s a stray bullet, an explosion, or an injury, you feel it. I’m no expert on real-life combat, but Lone Survivor paints a hellishly realistic picture of what it’s like. So realistic, in fact, that I can’t imagine what those poor stunt guys went through! There are multiple scenes of the SEAL team falling down the mountain side, hitting trees, branches, and jagged rocks, and I’m sure the stunt team had the cuts and bruises to match.
It takes a little bit for the action to start, but once it does, it doesn’t quit until the credits roll. On the one hand, the time mostly flies by without any significant lulls in the tension. On the other, there’s not exactly a lot of time for in-depth characterization. You learn a few bits about these guys, we get a sense of their brotherhood, but don’t expect it to be a character study. The main focus is on the portrayal of family amongst these guys.
It’s easy to not think about what the men and women in the military go through to protect our country, and Lone Survivor acts as a fantastic reminder of their sacrifice for us. It’s an excellent war film, taking time to pay homage to these heroes with not only its story, but with a closing montage of pictures and video of the real-life soldiers on which the film is based. Lone Survivor may not be the most fun flick out there, but it’s a respectful tale that’ll make you glad to be alive.
This is the Action Flick Chick, and you’ve just been kicked in the ass!
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