Special Forces Offers Nonstop Action For Military Movie Fans

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

EOne’s latest action thriller, Special Forces, is a solid work that will impress any fan of the military movie genre.  It is a gripping story that follows a group of French Special Forces commandos who are sent behind enemy lines to rescue a kidnapped journalist played by Diane Kruger.  On the surface, one might glance at this story and think that it’s just another run of the mill military action flick along the lines of perhaps Delta Force, Seal Team Six, The Expendables, and Zero Dark Thirty.  But a much closer look shows that it’s more than that.  Yes it’s a story about good versus bad.  But it’s more than that.  It’s also a story of man versus himself and man versus nature.  The entire thing is set against the backdrop of the Afghan/Pakistani border.  At the same time that the commandos have to fight a group of relentless Taliban fighters along the way, they also must battle the elements and their own wills in order to survive.  The script’s writing will keep viewers engaged as will its cinematography and its backdrop.  By the story’s end it is that writing, cinematography, and backdrop that will make this movie one more in the military genre that is worth at least one watch.

Special Forces wastes no time moving the story forward.  Right off the bat, audiences are presented with the central plot.  That plot is that young reporter Elsa Casanova (Diane Kruger) has been kidnapped by a ruthless Taliban fighter who threatens to kill her because of something that she wrote about him in a newspaper.  Considering the recent headlines concerning a young girl who was gunned down by Taliban fighters and by some miracle survived the shooting, this simple plot is actually quite believable.  That believability will instantly pull viewers in and allow them to suspend their disbelief.  That’s all the script writers needed as audiences will be hooked by the nonstop action throughout the rest of the story.

The writing keeps the movie’s action moving at a rapid fire pace early on.  The cinematography does much the same.  That’s especially the case during the shootout scenes between the commandos and the Taliban fighters.  There are those who might complain that it moves too fast.  But the point in the quick pacing of the shots is to emphasize the adrenaline levels of the commandos.  One can only imagine if that’s what military forces currently fighting the Taliban and Muslim insurgents actually feel when they are actually in the process of firefights.  The firefight scenes make for some of the best throughout the movie’s near two-hour run time.    Just as impressive is the work of the camera crews in capturing the landscape which the commandos must navigate in their journey to get Elsa back to Afghanistan.  Not to give away too much but it is that same cinematography that helps heighten the drama of the man versus nature element of this action/drama.  Audiences see just how much adversity the soldiers have to overcome throughout their journey.  Whether it be against the Taliban forces that are constantly on their heels, or against the vast Middle Eastern mountains and plains, Elsa and her protectors are never really safe.  The camera crews and director Stephane Rybojad are to be commended for their interpretation of the script in this aspect.

As one can hopefully tell by now, Special Forces is not just another military action thriller.  There is more to it than one would realize from simply watching it.  But hopefully in understanding everything noted here, viewers who give the movie at least one watch will have more understanding and appreciation for it.  It is available now on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and can be ordered online direct via Amazon.com at http://amzn.com/B00AFQSYMU.  The Phil’s Picks Facebook page is also holding a drawing for copies of the movie.  Fans can get into the drawing for the movie at the Phil’s Picks Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.  A trailer for the movie is also available now.  It can be viewed at http://youtu.be/tIe7Vvt0jDA

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The Expendables 2 Is A Great Escape

Courtesy: Lionsgate

The Expendables 2 is a man movie, hands down.  Yes, it’s another sequel.  But it’s more than just that.  It’s an escape.  It’s exactly what a big budget action blockbuster should be.  Just as was the case with the action movies of the 80’s to which this franchise pays homage, it’s a chance for the intended audiences to turn off their brains and get away from the real world if only for about an hour and a half.

On the surface, The Expendables 2 is just another bang-bang shoot-em-up action flick aimed at one specific audience.  But in watching the bonus feature, “Big Guns, Bigger Heroes:  The 1980’s and the Rise of the Action Film”, audiences see that it’s more than just that.  As the individuals interviewed in this feature note, the action flick of the 1980’s was exactly what audiences needed in comparison to everything going on around them.  Having come off the back end of the political upheaval of the 1970’s, the 1980’s offered its own share of changes.  So the action franchises of the 80’s (and 90’s) and their stars became more than just figures on screen.  They became these larger than life figures who lived up to the reputation of the title, “Hero.”  They were figures to whom their audiences could admire.  Audiences of the 80’s needed heroes, just as today’s audiences need them, too. 

The political and general world climate today openly necessitates the need for the movies in The Expendables franchise and their heroes.  Stallone and company shine just as brightly in this franchise as they did in the respective franchises discussed in the movie’s main bonus feature.  They are just as much the heroes today as they were in the movies discussed in this movie’s main bonus feature.  They are still those larger than life figures.  And there’s no doubt about them being heroes.  Unlike so many of today’s movies, there are no flawed, conflicted, anti-hero types.  The Expendables 2 presents Stallone and company as classic style heroes.  To add to that clarity, audiences are also presented with a cut and dry story here.  Everyone knows right off the bat who the good guys are.  And it doesn’t take long for the script to reveal Jean-Claude Van Damme as the evil psycho bad guy.  His intentions are made clear pretty quickly, too.  Considering that this movie (without credits) runs just shy of the two-hour mark, the quick establishment of the cast and story make the rest of it fast moving and fun.  It’s not meant to be taken seriously, as is evident with all the classic one-liners.  It’s just a chance for audiences to escape the stresses of the outside world for a little while just as the classic action franchises of the 80’s were meant to do.  Keeping that in mind, anyone who wants to get away from it all for a couple hours (bonus features included), then The Expendables 2 is a very good way to do just that.  It will be available next Tuesday, November 20th, just in time to beat the holiday shopping rush.  For those who want to get away from the shopping rush, it can be ordered online direct via the Lionsgate store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com.

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