The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

12 Strong

12 Strong: Again?

  • Chris HemsworthMichael Shannon...
  • Action & AdventureDrama
  • Nicolai Fuglsig
reviewed by
Cairo 360
rate it
review it
12 Strong: Again?

Directed by Nicolai Fugisig and starring Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, and Michael Pena, 12 Strong was released in Egyptian cinemas on January 17th , 2018. The film tells the story of 12 American soldiers who head to Afghanistan only a week after the 9/11 attack; the soldiers must team up with an Afghani warlord, if they wish to take down the Taliban. The film is supposedly based on a true story, with many of its characters and battle scenes having had actually happened.

Sounds exciting enough, right? Well, it’s not.

While Fugisig’s background as a photojournalist is made strongly evident through his use of cinematography within the film, and through elements of the film’s script (with the former being almost documentary-like when it comes to the production of the action scenes, and the latter drafting lines for the performers that seem quite sincere in nature) which work together to ensure a certain level of authenticity is maintained within the cinematic text, the film fails at delivering both the photo-journalistic realism, and the cinematic fantasy.

The film, unfortunately, boils down to being a montage of battle scenes between the American team, on the one hand, and the Taliban soldiers, on the other hand. This meant that the film was mind-numbingly boring, repetitive and remarkably predictable because, well, we have seen all this before just 5 minutes ago in the previous scene.

Indeed, despite the fact that the film’s sound effects were exceptionally good, the sheer frequency of the battle scenes hollowed out any exceptional effect that the sound effects could have carried.

This repetition also made for shallow – to almost nonexistent – character development, and character congeniality. This is simply because there was no room to explore the characters in any depth.

Chris Hemsworth, in particular, had shown in previous films that he is more than just a pretty face; however, he does not get to prove that again in this film. Even though the film is very focused on him as a protagonist, this focus is executed in the shallowest of ways possible. Not to mention the fact that all the other actors are mere shadows in the background, attempting to appear relatable through a joke here, and a character trait there, but with no avail.

There are also attempts to evoke sympathy in audiences with scenes of the team’s families, taking place before the American team members are deployed to Afghanistan. There are also scenes where characters discuss how hard it is for them to kill people, but, again without any avail.

The film also reinforces themes that have been done and overdone; namely, pitying American soldiers for having to kill people, that Americans are invincible (thousands of Afghani soldiers fighting alongside them died but none of them did; they also did not know how to ride horses but were magically good at it; and finally the captain (Hemsworth) is an inexperienced – but an amazing – captain); and that Americans have come to save people from tyranny. This last point created a contradiction within the film’s very plot; even though it’s clear that what motivates the Americans is mere vengeance for 9/11, they are still depicted as glorious freedom fighters.

Repeated sequences, repeated themes, shallow character exploration and forced sympathy make for a boring action film, one that will only be remembered for Chris Hemsworth’s good looks in a soldier suit.

Like This? Try

Saving Private Ryan (1998), Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Pearl Harbor (2001), Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), Black Hawk Down (2001). 

360 Tip

Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky play a couple in this movie. They are married in real life.

Write your review

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.