If you just skipped right to my score and started judging me for my lack of patriotism, I’ll try to explain. First, let’s go America! I also watched this movie in Manhattan, so it carried the relevance of why we went to war. This story is crazy - we sent horsemen into Afghanistan to take down the Taliban...wha?! That sounds cool!! Too bad it doesn’t turn out that cool. The movie is one-dimensional, somewhat cheesy, and feels a little repetitive as well as frustrating. I wanted to like it, and there are moments of beautiful heroism but in the end this was fairly bland.
Heroic story but average movie
Reviewed By: Steven Siwek
I like Chris Hemsworth, but when I compare his performance with that of Bradley Cooper in American Sniper or Mark Wahlberg in Lone Survivor, he doesn’t really compare. It could be his Australian accent, which comes through a lot, or how he just feels so much more like Thor than a military commander. I feel like this wasn’t the role for him, even though I understand why they chose him ($$$). The rest of the cast did well, but nothing outstanding. I’m very consistent in seeing the middle eastern war movies which have come out over the past decade and I tend to be amazed by how solid the opposition (terrorists) acts. This movie is not exception, they are very believable and menacing. Some of their positioning, however, in battle sequences was strange and unbelieveable - it caused even a few war scenes to be cheesy, which shouldn't happen.
War is not my thing, and this movie is brutal at times in some of its depictions (although much milder than Lone Survivor). But fighting for family, freedom and your brothers around you is a beautiful thing to see.
It doesn’t feel special and sometimes it’s more somber than epic. That being said, it doesn’t distract, but I think it should’ve tried using middle eastern tones (like Wind River used Native American tones/songs) to make a more compelling and unique track.
The true story is amazing! Thank God for these guys. But once I moved on and thought about the fact that the war drags on, I get pessimistic. And besides the fact that there are way too many cheesy (it's my word today) moments in terms of the non-combative dialogue. But I’ll try to remember the good facts about this heroic story.
The problem in the location they filmed is it became very repetitive. Nothing you can do about that, but maybe they could’ve done flashbacks, shots from their families back at home, something to break it up. There are some scenes where I was like, “maybe they should tone it down.” Maybe it happened exactly as they portrayed it, and if so, wow. Seriously, wow. But if it didn’t happen that way I think there was too much lucky bullet misses. If you think James Bond doges bullets, get ready for 12 Strong.
Let’s talk about the horses. Oh yeah, there are horses in this movie! Except much like Chris Hemsworth’s movie Into the Heart of the Sea where the whale is the least menacing evil creature ever, the horses in 12 Strong are nearly useless, until the very end when they are just bulldozing through the war zone (but by then I was more focused on bullet dodging than horses). For me, it comes down to the soldiers not having any connection to the horses - no petting, watering, practicing, connecting with their horses - it's like they hop on and become professional riders by the end through osmosis. I think they really missed that opportunity and I feel like the movie overplays something that it marketed well but barely touches - the horse effect.