Today: February 29, 2024

Special Forces

Men on a mission in this action-packed, testosterone fueled thriller.

Men on a mission in this action-packed, testosterone
fueled thriller.

The boys own
military adventures of wars are nothing new to film. From The Dirty Dozen
(1967) through to Three Kings (1999),
Inglorious Basterds (2009), Saving Private Ryan (1998) and
currently in cinemas Act Of Valor. All have seen the tried and tested
formula of sending a group of men on a near impossible mission up against an
army of faceless terrorists, goons or Nazis in the hope of coming out, drenched
in blood and smiling with victory.
Special Forces therefore does exactly what you would expect of such a
film.

When French
journalist Elsa (Diane Kruger) is
taken hostage by the Taliban, lead by their vicious leader Ahmed Zaief (Raz Degan), the French government sends
in a Special Forces team. Guided
by commanding officer Kovax (Djimon
Hounsou
) the team soon realise they are outnumbered and out of range of
being easily rescued. So they must
go by foot cross country in the hope of out running their pursuing foe.

From its Black Hawk Down (2001) opening of
military helicopters flying in perfect formation before dropping their lethal
cargo of heavily armed soldiers off, there is little doubt as to who this film
is aimed at. Thankfully there’s a thirteen-year-old
boy in most men of any age made clear by the success of computer games like Modern Warfare. It even comes with that hard-edged
guitar soundtrack that accompanies almost every Michael Bay military scene.

So we go from
slick as hell incursion and rescue to all out gunfights in a matter of seconds. There’s the cocky guy, the newbie
sniper, the fearless leader and the conflicted second in command. If you’ve seen Bruce WillisTears Of The
Sun
(2003) you’ve seen it before, but this comes with a French accent to
accompany the affair. Just don’t
go digging too deep for a moral core of important political message.

The plot might be
minimalist but the action is hugely kinetic with bullets flying with enough wiz
and velocity to make you feel every impact. Furthermore, you find yourself routing for the characters as
they all bond with each other and whose loyalty to the cause is increasingly
questioned. Hounsou brings that
wonderful stoic leadership quality we’ve seen before in Gladiator (2000), while Benoit
Magimel
finds a cocky swagger that breaks the tension in the more solemn
moments. Kruger resists the
temptation to be just a damsel in distress and instead brings a sense of sass
and balls to the role, not to mention a huge heart that by the climax you will
have most likely fallen for.

Special Forces is
fairly by the numbers and some of the editing could use some work. But if you like your men on a mission
these lot pack a big enough punch to have you gunning for them.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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