Special Forces

"Good"

Special Forces Review


Slick and pacey, this military thriller feels contrived as it ramps up the drama, but it has a terrific cast and a vivid sense of violent peril and political instability. The film gets increasingly worthy as it goes along, but is sharp enough to engage us.

Barely recovered from a full-on secret mission to Kosovo, the French Special Forces team (including Hounsou, Menochet, Figlarz and Marius) heads to the mountains of Pakistan, where journalist Elsa (Kruger) and her local assistant (Nebbou) have been kidnapped by wild-eyed fanatic Zaief (Degan). The team is joined on the ground by Tic-Tac (Magimel), and while the rescue goes to plan, Zaief's well-armed militia is relentless (Personnaz's sniper calls them "playful"). And getting out is trickier than these six tough guys expected.

The script tries to squeeze in a few details about the soldiers, but the snappy machismo of their banter is a lot more fun, while quick editing and a pulsing score maintain the feeling that everything's hugely important. As their epic trek continues, gunfire gets both more frequent and more gruesome. But there are also revealing moments, including the fact that the villain is an English-speaking Westerner.

More intriguing is the way the team watches helplessly as people are killed so they can stay on-mission. And killing people actually makes them pause: this job isn't easy on the conscience, but they're willing to do the grisly work if they have to. Which is something similar American films like Act of Valor never acknowledge.

Indeed, even with the adept cast and skilful filmmaking, this is an unnerving, scrappy action movie infused with humour and drama, even if the dangers, deaths and injuries wear us out. The film also cross-cuts unnecessarily to a ship-based admiral (Karyo) and French government officials, touching on political issues both in Asia and Europe.

So there's a real sense that the Pakistani people are caught in the crossfire between Western military and ruthless Taliban warlords who seem only interested in settling personal grudges. But in the end, the the earnest Saving Journalist Elsa sensibility is a bit much, as is the Sound of Music-like escape across the mountains. All of this may strain credibility, but it's still an involving journey.



Special Forces

Facts and Figures

Run time: 109 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 2nd November 2011

Box Office USA: $10.8k

Distributed by: Entertainment One

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 15%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 11

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Stephane Rybojad

Producer: Thierry Marro, Benoit Ponsaille

Starring: Marshall R. Teague as Major Don Harding, as Jess, Troy Mittleider as Wyatt, Danny Lee Clark as Bear, Daniella Deutscher as Wendy Teller, T.J. Rotolo as Reyes, as Hasib Rafendek, as Talbot

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman reunite with The Switch directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck...

Snowden Movie Review

Snowden Movie Review

Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed...

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

This true story from 19th century America feels eerily relevant today in its depiction of...

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Advertisement
Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.