Movie Reviews: Lone Survivor




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     Universal  (2 hrs. 1 min.)
     Based on the failed June 28, 2005 mission "Operation Red Wings," when four members of SEAL Team 10 were tasked with the mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd.
     Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Yousuf Azami
Bottom Line:

J.R. Johnson

“Lone Survivor” has already set the bar this year for intensity. The story retells the memoir of Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell during the events of “Operation Red Wings,” a routine mission that soon turned into a Navy Seals’ worst nightmare.

Director Peter Berg immediately dives into the story, seeking to establish the characters as quickly as possible, but despite his efforts they feel extremely underdeveloped, Berg’s labors almost insignificant. Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) and his fellow Navy Seals Mike Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) and Matt Axelson (Ben Foster) have bright spots – speaking to their families, hazing the new guy or deciding on a wedding present, all of which help to serve as real world anchors, little bits of related humanization peppered throughout the start of the film, but the characters still end up feeling empty.

Once the four-man team is dropped into the mountains of Afghanistan, a relentless and extremely violent firefight builds up like an erupting volcano, ending in dismay and destruction. Berg keeps the heart-racing pace moving with his intense camera angles and jolting explosions throughout the firefight. The small seal team takes on an army, providing one of the most extreme action scenes in recent times. It’s the standout portion of the film without a doubt.

Mark Wahlberg does an honest job as the lead, bringing life and a real genuineness to the story, serving as the glue that brings the team together.

The brotherhood between these four men is completely evident. It’s found when they’re dodging bullets and evading explosions instead of the more somber moments at the beginning of the film.

It’s impossible not to walk out of the theater without a higher appreciation for what the men and women who serve this country go through every day.  But most of the heart of the film lies within a few moments, leaving a vacant feeling for the majority of the film that Berg attempts to replace with nearly non-stop action.

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