By: Movie Snurb (Four Beers) –
12 Strong is the true story of the first special ops team deployed in Afghanistan after 9/11. They worked with an Afghan war lord who hated the Taliban to take down one of their strongholds. The mission was supposed to take 2 years and ended up taking 3 weeks and all 12 men came home safe. It’s a great true story of American heroism and one that needed to be told, because most American didn’t know about the mission.
The acting from most of the actors is well done. Michael Shannon delivers as always- I’d watch him read cupcake recipes, he can do no wrong. Trevante Rhodes also does well with the limited material he is given. Chris Hemsworth does well as the leading man as well. The story is an important one that needed to be told since most of us probably had no idea any of it happened, or that there was a statue dedicated to the 12 soldiers at the site of the WTC Towers.
I have several issues with this film. One big issue is underutilized actors. Michael Shannon, Trevante Rhodes, and Michael Pena are all worth more than the little screen time they received. Trevante is quite charming in the minuscule minutes he has on screen. I can’t wait to see what he gets to do in the future. Again, you can never have enough Shannon, he’s an American treasure and deserved more. Pena gets two scenes where we learn about his character, and I use the term “learn” loosely.
Also, the portrayals of all Afghani people are awful. The Taliban is cartoonishly bad, and the civilians steal the soldiers’ supply drop and make them buy it back from them. Are you telling me that everyone in Afghanistan is awful? There’s not one good person in that country? It’s annoying to say the least.
I needed much more of this!
I say that because there is 0.0%-character development in this film. First, it’s the Chris Hemsworth show. They could’ve called this Thor: War in Afghanistan, because the rest of the team didn’t matter. We didn’t get to know any of the heroes except Hemsworth and his character building is weak as well. When the final battle comes around we don’t care about any of the soldiers, AND IT’S A TRUE STORY!!!!!!!! Not only do we not care, I couldn’t tell you any of their names, and there is 5 men in that 12 that I couldn’t pick out in a lineup if you walked me into a police station straight from the theater; and the ones I could pick out would only be because I’ve seen them in other movies. I had no idea Hemsworth portrays a man named Mitch until the end of the movie. This was a film that was meant to honor 12 great American Heroes and instead we get Chris Hemsworth with 11 guys and we don’t feel for any of them.
“Don’t ask me, I’m just one of the out of focus guys!”
I understand having Rob Riggle cast in this film because he is an ex-Marine and served under the General giving orders for the Special Ops team in the film; however, his character provided nothing to the film. His lines give no exposition and his character was unnecessary. There were also scenes that set up nothing. The scene when Michael Shannon says goodbye to his wife and kid is odd, and short. However, you assume that they showed this because the audience will get a payoff of him coming home to his family. Nope, we get a quick quip that he made it to Germany and that’s it. Why did we need the first scene?!?!? Who cares?!?!?! There were a few of these and it was infuriating.
My Fiancé asked if I fell asleep as we left the theater. Nope, just bored.
What should’ve been a great film about real American heroes was just a macho film used as an excuse to set off a lot of explosions. If this would’ve been a character study about people of different cultures and backgrounds working together to defeat a common enemy it could’ve been really great. Instead we get a lot of Chris Hemsworth and explosions.
12 Strong (2018) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: any time a supporting character says something noteworthy.
Do a Shot: for every explosion
Do a Shot: for every soldier of the 12 that you cannot name at the end of the film.
Take a Drink: for every over-the-top mainly moment.