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The Warsaw Voice » World of Movies » March 27, 2014
Film review
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Lone Survivor
March 27, 2014   
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A group of die-hard commandos wielding cutting-edge deadly weapons and beating the hell out of hundreds of exotic adversaries in a hostile environment—does that sound familiar?

Movie-going audiences around the world have seen lots of such stories before, and some of these were actually nothing less than brilliant. The best example is Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down from 2001, depicting a mission during which U.S. marines were locked for days in a clash with Somali gunmen in the alleys of Mogadishu. The operation claimed the lives of almost 1,000 Somalis and less than 20 Americans, but even so, the White House deemed it a failed mission.

Flicks about a Western rescue squad on a doomed mission also include Predator by John MacTiernan (1987). In that film, local—South American—guerrillas are just a prelude before the main characters confront a much more dangerous enemy, an alien that decides to have a field day killing off the confused commandos.

Predator managed to build a strong fan base around the world, but other movies with a similar theme were less successful. Viewers were rather unimpressed by Antoine Fuqua’s Tears of the Sun (2003), where a rescue squad tasked with evacuating a white (and pretty) doctor fights an uneven battle in the African wilderness, or by Stephane Rybojad’s Special Forces from 2011, in which six French commandos come to the Pakistani-Afghan border to rescue a French journalist from Taliban captivity.

Lone Survivor by Peter Berg (The Kingdom, Hancock, Battleship) also takes viewers to Afghanistan. The script is based on true events that Marcus Luttrell, a former Navy Seal, recounted in his autobiography. In 2005, Luttrell, played by Mark Wahlberg (Boogie Nights, The Departed, Fighter), headed a four-strong team tasked with either capturing or killing a Taliban leader named Ahmad Shah. The operation went wrong and Luttrell—you guessed it—became the only survivor.

Before the movie even starts, you know you’ll be watching the main character’s brothers-in-arms dropping off like flies in a hopeless struggle—but not before they perform some heroic feats and deliver lofty, patriotic lines. In other words, don’t expect any surprises and just accept that the good guys are bomb-proof and can still move after being repeatedly shot at by an AK-47. But such are the rules of action B-movies like Lone Survivor.

Love it or hate it, Lone Survivor has proved a box-office success, raking in almost $125 million in the first 10 weeks since release—easily paying back the $40 million it cost to make. Lone Survivor will mostly appeal to those who see John Rambo as a role model. It turns out that there are still plenty of Rambo admirers around.
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