REVIEW Strong cast showcase diplomacy resolve in ’12 Strong
23 January, 2018, 07:50
"12 Strong" presents its conclusion as both a military and moral victory, albeit one whose inspirational qualities are lessened by the fact that winning the battle and winning the war are two very different things.
Another reason this film was well written was in its portrayal of the antagonists. They can veer from too sentimental to too macho and bloviating depending on who's in front of and behind the camera. "12 Strong" doesn't allow him the same range, which brings to mind another actor rising in prominence: John Cena, who made his silver-screen debut with "The Marine", another military drama, but has found far more success in comic roles.
With winter fast approaching, Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth) and his small squad of Green Berets and Central Intelligence Agency operatives have only weeks to cross hostile territory full of thousands of enemy soldiers and take control of the must-win city of Mazar-i-Sharif away from the Taliban. He raises his hand to assemble a team and get over to Afghanistan as soon as possible. You may remember Rob Riggle from The Hangover, The Other Guy and The Daily Show.
"There was huge mistrust", Negahban affirms, "because Dostum was looking at them as a bunch of kids trying to tell him how to fight and save his country and the Americans were concerned that Dostum and his men might be setting them up".
Dostum and Nelson form a tenuous bond that is tested throughout the film, as they trade the shield of modern technology for horses and mules to cross the treacherous landscape (New Mexico plays Afghanistan here).
By comparison, 12 Strong is in many ways a throwback.
Starring alongside Hemsworth and Negahban are Michael Shannon, Michael Peña, Trevante Rhodes, Geoff Stults, Thad Luckinbill, Austin Stowell, Ben O'Toole, Austin Hébert, Kenneth Miller, Kenny Sheard and Jack Kesy.
"Go do this, but you know, everyone dies here", he said, referring to the fates of numerous armies dating back to Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan and later the British in the 1800s and the former Soviet Union in the 1980s who have failed in Afghanistan.
Hemsworth went on to explain that he thought he knew the whole story about what had happened the weeks following the 2001 attacks on the United States, but while reading for the movie he realized that he didn't and became "fascinated by this story", which helped push his desire to star in the film.
"12 Strong" is based on the true story of 12 special force operatives who took on the unsafe task of fighting alongside Afghan warlords to take down the Taleban in the wake of 9/11.
The men complete their mission on horseback, a feat never accomplished before, and when you consider that the Americans were facing tanks, heavy artillery and Afghan soldiers familiar with the territory, that's pretty spectacular.
The Fifth Special Forces Group was trained for just such a mission - able to speak various languages and dialects, to engage in on-the-ground diplomacy, to work with civilian populations, to travel lightly, and use the tools available to fight in enemy territory. Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth) who is summoned from leave, like his fellow soldiers, is sent to an American base in Uzbekistan, and subsequently, to the opium-rich "graveyard of many empires".
Although based on a true story, "12 Strong" rings hollow due to its focus on lengthy action scenes rather than on character development and plotline.
LOS ANGELES: Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer are reuniting for a new film.
Chastain and Kelly Carmichael wrote the original treatment and "Crazy Rich Asians" scribe Peter Chiarelli is on board to pen the script. Chastain is attached to produce with her company Freckle Films, along with Maven Pictures.