It lacks the precision and understanding a quality war film needs
Are modern war films ever as exciting as they need to be? It’s certainly a rare occurrence when one matches the intensity or power of a classic, instead, sitting as a dialogue-heavy part-time shootout. The few that do hit the mark often lead to Oscar nominations, and 12 Strong is certainly not one of those. It’s ability just cannot match the bravery shown by the 12 Amercian soldiers on their tortuous journey.
After the attacks on the Twin towers in September 2001, Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth) rejects his office promotion, instead placing himself, and his team, in the field as the first soldiers to fight back against the war on terror. Teaming up with rebel forces in the Afghanistan mountains, the unlikely allies take the Taliban on in the most dangerous way possible.
12 Strong often looks very good, as the juxtaposition of heavy machinery against horseback soldiers makes for a thrilling shot, especially when the cinematography is of such a high standard. These are the films best moments but come in small packages with the majority of the runtime taken up by lacklustre dialogue and meaningless conversations.
It is this clunky script that makes 12 Strong feel like a slog, however good it manages to look. The acting is very low par, with Michael Pena seemingly adding to his never-ending list of films that gave him a chance when they probably shouldn’t have. He is the same irritating, arrogant personality he always is, and Hemsworth and Shannon don’t add what they have done to other recent pictures. Specifically, Shannon who’s filmography since 2016 is simply outstanding.
It lacks the precision and understanding a quality war film needs, almost dismissing the dialogue because it isn’t as important as the fighting sections of the picture. Obviously, it is just as important, if not more so, because the lives of these men matter and 12 Strong does not make that remotely clear enough.