12 Strong – A Review. Five Stars *****

Just for a change, why don’t you go watch the movie and then come back and read this silly blog. You truly have to see this on the big screen.

No? Well, I figured you’d be stubborn. You are, after all, reading the blog of one of the most stubborn men in North America. Fine. I’ll talk about the movie. It’s worthy of discussion. Let’s start with the trailer for 12 Strong:

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Looked pretty good, eh? It’s even better on the big screen – especially in a theater that has awesome sound. Why? Because nothing sounds like a fighter jet screaming by your location at ground level, or a helicopter sitting on top of you, or being inside a helicopter quite like this movie does. I don’t know how they managed it, but the sound hits you in the chest and makes you smell the kerosene. I imagine it will give some folks a flashback. I just got high on adrenaline when it happened.

The second thing they got right was dirt. I’ve never been deployed as a ground troop. But just getting from point “A” to point “B” in tactical aircraft is dirty work. You will stink. You will be greasy/oily. And you will have dust all over you. It’s hard manual labor being in the military. This movie shows that very well.

The film also shows how flexibility plays into the day when you’re in an intelligence/special ops unit. You might not even be eligible to go, but sometimes you have to go. Either you want it, or Uncle Sam wants it. No matter who’s choice it is, you’re going – or not going. And you get to tell your wife. I suppose now that includes telling your husband. But no matter who it is, it sucks. Not fun. Part of the truth of your life in the military.

Now for the actual review part like the real critics do it. Nah. I’ll just say that it’s action packed, good acting, good insight into the cultural aspects of the unit itself and the Afghans – based on what I know. It is very well done visually, and you will probably duck for cover at more than a few of the combat scenes. I was impressed that they found so many weapons for the movie that would have been present.

It is a tale of heroism, grit, and the American military at its very best. Patriotic movies are not frequently seen on the big screen anymore, but this one will have you waving the flag. There is no doubt who the bad guys are when the screen lights up. Especially that idiot on the end of my row who took two phone calls during the movie. I put him right up there with Mullah Omar.

This movie will also serve as a recruiting tool. If you don’t want to do this kind of mission, it won’t appeal to you that way. But if you’re a youngster with an itch to be the best around, this will drag you into the recruiting office the following Monday. No offense to my SEAL friends, but long before I knew they existed, I was a Green Beret fan as a kid. It was the peak of the Vietnam war, and the SEALS were not talked about much. Besides, John Wayne was a Green Beret. Can’t beat John Wayne. This will be the Green Berets of today’s generation. That’s a good thing in my opinion.

I was never a Green Beret (That’s bleeding obvious to anyone who knows me and my lazy streak.) But the humor, and the smart-aleck moments ring very true given that I’ve been around for a minute or two with other special operators. There is one scene when a helicopter is taking off that made me laugh out-loud. I even knew all the words to the song. I watched the video of that song just now, and it has to go in this review – because it’s the story of these men. Written by Ssgt. Barry Sadler over 30 years before the mission. Some things change very little with time.

Conclusion: Excellent flick. Go see it on the big screen. Waiting for it on Netflix won’t do it justice. Five very big stars on this one.
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