Heard about the Green Berets who went into Afghanistan and disrupted Al Queda and the Taliban forces following the attack on America on 9/1? 12 Strong tells that story. It is an unapologetic patriotic film that does not get bogged down into stirring speeches and political bias. Sure, it has its share of military cliches but I didn’t find myself groaning once.
The team of 12 was led by Captain Mitch Nelson expertly and competently played by Chris Hemsworth. After haggling with command he’s assigned to lead his Special Forces team in a tip of the spear insertion into Afghanistan to attack the Taliban and Al-Queda.
Michael Shannon plays Chief Warrant Officer Hal Spencer, Nelson’s second in command. Their job is team with Northern Alliance forces to strike a blow against a group harboring Al Qaeda terrorists. The movie does a decent job of showing how difficult it was to get warring tribes in Afghanistan to stop fighting against each other long enough to focus on America’s interest. Somehow the “horse soldiers” were able to accomplish their mission.
Horse soldiers? Indeed. The only transportation the Green Berets had at their disposal was from their immediate alliance who provided them with horses. The mission was to accompany the warlord into battle and over-see the battle through close air support. America bombs the bad guys and our Northern Alliance tribe mops up Al-Queda.
The battle scenes were quite good. The bombs and planes rattled the Dolby theater I watched the movie in.
Hemsworth has an excellent screen presence. I bought his leadership from the first moment he appeared on screen. Shows how good he is out of a comic book costume. Michael Pena played one of the men in his command who kept the intense scenes light in just the right amount.Pena is always great but I was really surprised how much I liked Hemsworth in this role.
Shannon slow-rolled his quirky on-screen persona just enough to give a decent portrayal. I didn’t buy him in the role but I was also biased against him since he basically disparaged the very people who this type of movie is targeted to…middle America. You’re not going to see much support from the coastal elites for this movie. Indeed the reviews from the left media all but spattered the Rotten Tomatoes over 12 Strong with a 55% Tomatometer rating. Of course “user” reviews gave the movie a very respectable 72%. Cinemascope gave it an A rating.
The movie looked great. Of course given that it was filmed in Afghanistan blew my mind.
If you enjoyed Last Survivor, American Sniper and the like, you will enjoy 12 Strong. And you should support it if you do. Hollywood seldom gets patriotic pro-military, pro-America films right. If this is your jam you have to show Hollywood that this is the type entertainment we want to see whether the coastal elites are clutching their pearls or not. The only thing that trumps politics is money.
If I had to rate it I’d give 12 Strong a solid B+.