Among other things, this extremely well done film points out the radical differences between the warriors of Vietnam and the new breed of super-warriors of the new millennium.
45 years ago in Vietnam, we were average guys plucked out of our livelihoods for “duty”. None of us had any choice. If any of us ended up in the upper echelon of soldering (special Forces or Rangers), it was because we exhibited a reckless yearning for adventure we later regretted. If we acquired any expertise in the strategy and tactics of warfare, it was by attrition. Learning street smarts by surviving.
The new super-soldiers are volunteers who righteously train to the physical and intellectual limit and beyond. Their accouterments and resources are beyond anything we comprehended in Vietnam. They are equipped for phenomenal feats, such as the apprehension of Osama bin Laden and the rescue of Captain Phillips from Somalian pirates.
This film bountifully portrays a lot of war drama and male bonding that’s been done endlessly before, but with a bit of a twist. The viewer knows the outcome as the players are trying to figure out how to make the best of a bad situation. The thrill of watching a really crack team of warriors at work is somewhat dulled by the self fulfilling prophesy of bad planning, bad luck and bad communication.
The film is well paced and consummately directed. The actors, especially Mark Wahlberg and Ben Foster are convincing in their roles but little can compensate for the title that accurately forecasts the futility and doom before it happens.
An excellent film if you like the genre.
Best part: Excellently photographed, perhaps to a fault of being graphically ultra-violent.
Not so best part: The graphically violent scenes of the solders in contact the Taliban were a little too drawn out.
I give it a solid four of five gory gunshot wounds, with a bullet.