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Film/TV 12 Strong

Published on January 26th, 2018 | by voxx


12 Strong

Out 26: January
Cert: 15
Length: 130 minutes
Rating: 3/5

Director: Nicolai Fuglsig

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Peña, Trevante Rhodes, Navid Negahban

Plot: In the aftermath of 9/11, a U.S Special Forces unit lead by their Captain, Mitch Nelson (Hemsworth), undertake a mission to Afghanistan to strike against the Taliban.

Bravery, power and strength take their hold through the plot of Jerry Bruckheimer’s produced true telling war drama, ’12 Strong’, based on the alleged declassified mission that would see CIA Paramilitants and American Special Forces join forces and invade Afghanistan after the events of 9/11 ,to kill the Taliban.

However, those points aren’t just the central nail for the plot, they’re also what carries the film through its pulsating action. Sure, this idea is often clankingly direct as the film progresses, yet it gives a scent of the decent layout through its 130 minute running time. However, despite the robustly delivered action and an interesting big-name cast helming it, this core idea sadly falls to the straightforward storytelling of patriotic heroism and a weak script which often has it’s actors talking through bombastic poster taglines and not much else.

Saying that though, there’s obviously a reason why Bruckheimer attached himself to the film. Maybe it’s the core material based on Doug Stanton’s novel 12 Horses, or perhaps it’s the bravery of a dirty dozen who take a chance and fight back – it could also be the chance to do something other than the recently botched plotting of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ series. It could, in fact, be all of them that gained the attraction of Danish first-time director Nicolai Fuglsig and the talented cast. Chris Hemsworth (taking a break from the MCU) plays Captain Mitch Nelson, a man with limited combat experience, who’s mostly bunged-up behind a desk. He and his trusty lieutenant (Shannon) are given the task to fight in Afghanistan, where they’ll be tied with their foreign general (Negahban).

While the sandy dozen tour through the gorgeous desert backdrop, there are a few Sergio Leone-ish action scenes – of horses, guns, tanks and giant explosions clashing together. It’s an entertaining war-drama which has keen intentions happily carried through its core performances – sadly the action, though stunning, especially with an explosion taking up half the screen, isn’t anything we haven’t already seen before. And it’s that thinking where the action often falls to repetition, almost as if the editor left during production and recycled the same material instead.

Still, that said, ’12 Strong’ boasts stunning cinematography, a big name producer and a hefty cast’ all with brilliant performances. There’s even a surprise dramatic turn by Rob Riggle. All are big with their intentions to grasp the powerful premise and the true intentions of bravery from the core material – yet the truth is the film sadly loses another point for lacking in characterization. Indeed, it has problems through its forgettable plot, but it’s an entirely brazen film that comes with power, the determination of odds and a strong heart.

VERDICT: Invigorating action and a solid cast lead in this fact-based war film that sadly loses its way from limited character, a soft core and an underwhelming story.

- By Corey Denford

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