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

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

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.