Mark Wahlberg is Marcus Luttrell

Mark Wahlberg is Marcus Luttrell

Reel Reviews: War film escapes usual traps

Lone Survivor is an American war movie that works.

  • Jan. 17, 2014 2:00 p.m.

In the summer of 2005, the U.S. military conducted Operation Red Wings which had as its goals to capture or kill Ahmad Shah and disrupt his anti-coalition militia in the Afghanistan mountains that border Pakistan.

Four Navy SEALs were sent in for reconnaissance and surveillance, only to be ambushed by Shah and his men.

Lone Survivor tells the tale of those Navy SEALs.

We say, “It’s an American war movie that works.”

TAYLOR: Let me just quickly point out the differences between the film and reality, then we can get to the review. Just like last week, with The Wolf of Wall Street, audiences are being asked to enjoy a story taken from an autobiographical book. The details of the military exercise, the facts on record, do coincide with the film. The paths that lead to those details, the way the story unfolds, certainly has taken some dramatic licence, but make no mistake this is an incredible true story of bravery, endurance and soldiering. However, what sells me on this movie is the acting, the action and a near complete removal of politics.

HOWE: Some people are labelling Lone Survivor as the best war movie since Saving Private Ryan, which is, to me anyway, a pretty bold statement. We’ve had a few since then that have come close to it but not quite: Inglorious Basterds, Act of Valor and Zero Dark Thirty. I would go as far as saying this is as good as Ryan, if not better.

TAYLOR: I don’t think you can even put that list of films in the same category, but Lone Survivor is still effective. I enjoyed the usual, necessary establishment of the characters and their relationships together and that the film did so without being too trite. Then, just when I was feeling ready for some action, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch drop out of a helicopter into hell. What ensues is a mountaintop firefight that will take your breath away.

HOWE: There was one performance that really stood out for me. I’ve slagged off Taylor Kitsch for his terrible performances in his last few movies, but this time out you could see that he can act. He put some raw emotion into his character that wasn’t over the top or nauseating.

TAYLOR: If you’re in the mood for a modern battle movie, Lone Survivor hits all its marks, with very little flag waving and no machismo Hollywood bologna. It is a little bit gruesome in parts but nothing you wouldn’t expect from a film about soldiers in combat.

Howe gives it 4 goats out of 5.

Taylor gives it 4 rings on that bell that means you quit out of 5.

The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon. Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C.