12 STRONG

12 STRONG POSTER

12 Strong is a 2018 action-drama film directed by Nicolai Fuglsig and narrates the truly compelling story of 12 brave American soldiers who were the first to put their lives on the line in the Taliban-infested Afghanistan; a retaliation attack just after the 9/11 disaster. Lead by Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth), in conjunction with a local ally in Commander Ahmed Lal (Laith Nakli), the soldiers ravage through the arid mountains in full throttle in order to find and terminate the Al-Qaeda; an infamous terrorism force in the Middle East that is responsible for the death of thousands of people in different attacks carried out in different parts of the world.

I, for one, remember vividly well seeing the horrific headlines that had taken over every news station on television in September of 2001 and even though I was young, the shock of what happened to those innocent lives shook me to the bone. This movie found a way of arousing that feeling I felt 17 years ago; the tone was set right from the beginning, there is an incredible exposition, and it’s impossible not to be drawn into the situation at hand. The casting choices for the soldiers was nothing short of sublime, the standouts being obviously Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon who plays Hal Spencer. As with most movies involving soldiers, this particular one hit the hammer on the nail with me in that it perfectly highlights the harsh reality that Mitch and his team go through in leaving their families behind not knowing whether or not they would be back in one piece; It doesn’t go overboard with it but it’s enough to rivet you from an emotional standpoint. The action sequences are fantastic, well shot hence anyone seeing this movie should easily be sold on the happenings particularly in the 2nd and 3rd act. The legendary William Fichtner is also in here as Colonel Mulholland. It was rather disappointing that he has a few scenes but leave it to him to exceptionally make the most out of it.

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That said, the movie takes a slight plummet in one distinct aspect in that it fails to bring out that sense of vengeance that the horse soldiers are ideally supposed to have. 9/11 just happened a few days ago…you’d expect there to be some additional scenes to paint a clear picture of the disaster’s aftermath and the role it played in motivating the soldiers in their mission to defeat the Taliban, but we didn’t get that. Moreso, there are unnecessary scenes depicting the gunners laughing and having fun as though nothing had happened back west. I mean, I get that such moments enhance comradery but thousands of people just died; that outweighs everything else and thus should elicit a gritty mood from the latter all the way.
In spite of the fact that the story of these audacious service people was surprisingly classified for so many years by U.S authorities, Nicolai Fuglsig’s 12 strong does a great job of depicting it on the big screen because it is of great relevance to many millennials like me. The film is, in many ways, not bereft of anything you would expect for its genre.

GRADING; B+

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