Strong starring Chris Hemsworth a fascinating film

Courtesy of Warner Bros

Well, all that practice in their own bed will certainly pay off when 12 Strong premieres on January 19, 2018. It's a story of the US Special Forces team called Green Berets deployed in Afghanistan after the events of 9/11.

While it's gratifying - and occasionally gripping - to see that story told in "12 Strong", the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced film contains few genuine surprises, at least from a cinematic standpoint. But once they get the support of the wary Dostum, the Americans seem to be on the right track (Dostum, who has shifted affiliations countless times, is a real survivor - he was Afghanistan's vice president up until a year ago, when he had to flee under odd circumstances).

Amongst the regular witticisms used to leaven the American war movie 12 Strong, one of the funnier lines is at the expense of an Afghan general who doesn't want backup in the assault on a Taliban stronghold - in case a rival leader arrives before him and hogs the credit.

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The day after 9/11, Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth) charges into his office and demands to be reunited with his team. The movie is adapted from the best-selling book Horse Soldiers. Whatever your choice try to avoid watching the trailer or looking up the real story on-line - each will spoil if not completely ruin your possible viewing experience. He's a slippery ally who doesn't believe a young American captain without combat experience could possibly defeat the Taliban and, since all 12 titular characters are unified in flawless solidarity, it's the tension between Dostum and Nelson that proves the most rewarding character conflict of the film. But is all too often the case in these exhausted narratives, the native character is pushed into a supporting role so that the American (who is nearly always a white guy) can learn a valuable lesson and return a similar lesson to that supporting character.

Chris Hemsworth as Captain Nelson also portrays strength - although in a less quiet way - as a younger man who's been tasked to lead his men, despite never having been in combat.

In its search for American heroes in 21st-century geopolitics, 12 Strong suffers badly from a script stuffed with clichéd dialogue and some heavy-handed scenes on both the home front and in Afghanistan. The exception is Moonlight standout Trevante Rhodes, whose sergeant develops a tight friendship with a young Afghan boy. Yes, there's the stakes of "Will these men make it home alive?" but that's the stakes in any war film, and one that becomes cheapened when more attention is paid to stunts with horses than any character development. The success of it will rely on general goodwill towards our troops and the avid war movie fans eager to give this film their money. The true story of the "horse soldiers" is remarkable, but the movie about them is sadly forgettable.

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