A couple of decently thought out battle scenes in the woods punctuate this otherwise mindless piece of propaganda.
We get the training montage, the character defining banter at base (if Mark Wahlberg wasn’t in it we could have had a game of ‘which one doesn’t die’. Alas, it was always going to be him), a brief run through of the mission ahead and they’re off. The title indicates what happens. As do the first 5 minutes of the film, where it does that annoying thing of showing us the end then rewinding to the start, for no reason. Much like All is Lost in fact, where it also made no sense (although the rest of the film is brilliant, so the similarities end there).
There are a few things to take away from this:
- If you join the SEALs, you will die in slow motion and it will be really cool. You’ll feel like you’re in 300.
- Brown people are generally not to be trusted and all look really angry.
- People in Afghanistan only know the words ‘die’ and ‘American’.
- The nice ones are okay sometimes.
- The nice ones aren’t quite nice enough though. Who gives a fuck if they get gunned down by some cack handed Apache pilot.
- If Marky Mark’s safe, it was all worth it.
- You can leave your details at the recruitment table on the way out of the cinema.
When the SEALs are on top of things, Berg plays it well. There’s not too much noise, it’s tense; you feel like you’re in the battle. However, when shit goes south for them, we get the dramatic music, the slow-mo and the focus on the gore. See, it’s okay to be realistic when it’s to do with winning, but showing three men dying in the woods for no reason other than ‘their government told them to’ is a no-no for propaganda. That’s where this film lets its viewers down. Going for realism is a noble idea, but chickening out when it counts the most is unforgivable.