“12 Strong” Review ✦✦✦✧✧

27 January, 2018

Director: Nicolai Fuglsig
Screenwriters: Ted Tally, Peter Craig
Director of Photography: Rasmus Videbæk
Chris HemsworthMichael ShannonMichael Peña

Synopsis: The true story of a U.S. Special Forces team tasked with eliminating a Taliban warlord in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

12 Strong Review:

Built on the flag-waving tactics seen in a handful of mission movies from the early 2000s, “12 Strong” displays a fondness for the immediacy of films like “Black Hawk Down” and “Tears of the Sun,” crafting effortless action sequences out of the struggles of a live-or-die military operation. Patriotic while matching the gallantry of Joseph Kosinski’s firefighter tragedy “Only the Brave,” the film holds an equal amount of love for America’s male protectors, quite literally sending in the cavalry to wipe out a Middle Eastern tyrant whose dusty ideals go unmatched by the promise of the free world.

Paralleling the beats of classical epics, the film closer resembles a new-age “Lawrence of Arabia” than a gritty “Apocalypse Now”-inspired pacifism pusher. Casting Iranian character actor Navid Negahban as the Omar Sharif of Afghanistan, Nicolai Fuglsig embraces cross-cultural allegiance while hunting a black-blooded villain whose overwhelming brutality makes him the clear target in a messy yet single-minded attack on Taliban forces. Gimmicky in its characterisation of events from history, “12 Strong” relies on deafening action to blow viewers out of their seats, opting for big and bold storytelling methods over a more sophisticated preemptive structure.

While a pleasure to see newcomer Trevante Rhodes finally rubbing shoulders with the likes of Chris Hemsworth and Michael Shannon, “12 Strong” isn’t much of a follow up for the star of a Best Picture winner and Rhodes gets only a few moments to shine while perusing the big league. Thankfully, Hemsworth and co. deliver the goods as expected, galloping and sniping their way to a decent action movie and offsetting the necessity of eye-rolling departure and arrival sequences with ground-level tension. Populist in its appeal, “12 Strong” gives viewers the rumbling entertainment they signed up for, delivering on the promise of its heroic film title with chaos and comradery.


Review Date
12 Strong