Friday, January 19

12 Strong - Review

Published: January 19, 2018



R: January 19th, 2018 | R: 130 minutes | R: R

I consider 9/11 to be a flash bulb moment. I'm sure if you lived through 9/11, you know exactly where you were, and what you were doing when the attacks happened. It's a moment in all our times that we feel, and will never forget what happen. 12 Strong shows us the first troops that went into Afghanistan after the attacks took place.

Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, and Michael Peña all play believe-able soldiers, and you will be on the edge of your seat during most of the attack scenes. Some people will think this movie is too gory, but I feel like it was needed to show us what these guys went through during this war time.

Everyone needs to see this movie, even if you didn't live through 9/11. This is an important movie to watch to learn how we had to deal with an aftermath of one of America's darkest terrorists attacks. I feel like this movie showcases the first of many (I hope) future information on the war America fought in for so many years.

You will want to wait around during the credits to see the real heros. They show pictures of the real soldiers who fought on horse back during the early days in the war with Afghanistan, with only air support.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Billy Billy (Editor) - Billy has seen many movies over the years. He enjoys comedies and anything action, including the summer blockbuster movies. You can follow Billy on Twitter here.
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There is a simple formula that most comedians use to gauge whether or not something can be talked about in a humorous light.
Tragedy plus time equals comedy.
That was all I could think about during my screening of 12 Strong. Well, that and the fact that it looks like it physically pains Michael Shannon to smile.

Everybody remembers where they were the morning of September 11th, 2001. I'd played hooky from school -- I was in my sophomore year of high school -- and woke up to the answering machine in the other room. My mother was leaving a message about a plane and a building. My father was still working in downtown Chicago then, so I leapt out of bed to grab the phone but missed her call.

My sister happened to be home that day as well, and naturally, we started bickering about the other being home when they should have been at school.
I phoned back to my mom to rat out my bratty sister and she answered the call, "Turn on the television." I tried to carry on about the cage match that was going down in our living room and she only repeated herself.
The sibling rivalry waned when we watched, live on television, the second plane hit the other tower.

12 Strong follows the twelve men who were deployed to Afghanistan after those attacks on what seemed an impossible mission. Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth) who led his team into a hellscape to go head-to-head with the Taliban and its al-Qaida allies.

The film is based on Doug Stanton's telling of the tale, Horse Soldiers. Nelson along with Chief Warrant Officer Cal Spencer, Sergeant First Class Sam Diller, Sergeant First Class Ben Milo (Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, and Trevante Rhodes, respectively) and eight other men would meet General Abdul Rashid Dostum (Navid Negahban) of the Northern Alliance.

Unsure of whom to trust and with the well-being of his country, his team, and his family as his primary concerns, Nelson had to make unthinkable decisions. Their battles were fought on horseback, incredibly enough. Odd and a bit off-putting to see big heavy guns toted on the backs of such beautiful creatures.

I have a hard time with 9/11 because my opinions on that day tend to spark argumentative discussion. I don't do well with war movies either, because all we're seeing is a retelling of events that took place. I always wonder how much of the heroics are italicised for the sake of Hollywood pandering.

Either way, 12 Strong pulls off the ol' razzle dazzle as well as it can while telling a story that drudges up frightening memories. I feel that it steps outside of the box and has a lighter feel than the typical war film fare. Granted, it's got Chris Hemsworth and Michael Pena -- two very familiar faces -- as its safety net should things go wrong.

The reason I brought up tragedy plus time equals comedy is because 12 Strong delivered a few well-timed laughs. Imagine my surprise when, in the face of bombing the Taliban, we get a quick chuckle.
Everyone remembers that day in their own way. 12 Strong tells the story of how twelve brave men rode into combat for the welfare of our country. If you're in the market for a major testosterone boost, a heartwarming tale of kinship across enemy lines, and very minor but brave female characters, check it out!

Rating: 3 out of 5


Katie Katie (Contributor) is a cinephile and Chicago native who has been reviewing film for nearly a decade. Her heroes include Roger Ebert and Jay Sherman -- it stinks!
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12 Strong takes place after 9/11 and tells the untold story of 12 soldiers who are the first unit to be in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban.
This movie stars Chris Hemsworth who plays Captain Mitch Nelson, he leaves his wife and daughter to lead the first attack in the war. Taking 11 men in his unit they ride horses alongside General Abdul Rashid Dostum of the Afghan Northern Alliance to defeat the Taliban.

This was a pretty interesting story, I couldn’t help but feel sad that all these men thought the war would be won quickly. This movie is extremely violent, one scene in particular involving a mother was just scarring. Definitely not a film to take a child to. Lots of blood, war violence ect...

The acting was great especially by Navid Negahban who plays General Dostum. Micheal Pena is also in it and adds a bit of humor.
If you like movies about war - this one is for you. I felt it was a pretty good balance of story and action but a bit too much violence for me.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5


AshleyK Ashley K. (Contributor) is a frequent traveler currently living in San Diego. She's a super nerd who enjoys all kinds of movies and doesn't always think the book was better.
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12 Strong tells the never been told before story of the Special Forces unit (ODA 595) who were the first U.S. soldiers to land in Afghanistan following 9/11. They had the task of linking up with a local Afghan warlord and fight village by village to the Taliban’s stronghold city of Mazar-i-Sharif against several odds. Finally declassified and released years after its occurrence, is the story of these 12 heroic men worth the sixteen year wait?

The movie sets off with a timeline starting in 1993 following the terrorist attacks on the United States between then up to 9/11/2001. It stops on the date to show Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth) and his family moving into their new home in Kentucky when their daughter turns to the news and they all see the horrific image on the television. From there the movie hits the ground running and never slows down from there.

The story moves along at a good pace but also keeps you on the edge of your seat because of the reality of them being on the edge of a war. The plot deals with the varying emotions of the soldiers leaving their families behind to fight for their country in hopes of preventing future attacks. It felt so lifelike and I really got attached to the characters and their outcomes. This was also helped by them making me laugh quite a bit and each of the 12 men had like-able personalities that made them feel like someone you know.

I will say the the dialogue did get cheesy in parts where it felt like the writers were focusing more on trying to get them to say something heroic and memorable instead of something natural. Also for a military movie there was not an overbearing amount of blood and gore which will be well appreciated by those with a weak stomach for scenes like that. The battle scenes however felt very real and gave a lot of insight on how battles are fought in today’s time. It was interesting to see how each of the soldiers’ skills came into play and made them a stronger unit in unknown territory.

Overall 12 Strong was an eye-opening movie that showed the bravery of men who were willing to put their lives on the line for their country. I recommend that you watch this one in theaters as it left me extremely proud for the service these 12 men put in for the United States of America.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Ashley Ashley (Senior Contributor) is an Orlando native who loves watching movies. Her favorite genres include comedies, thrillers and sci-fi.
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12 Strong is based on the true story of America’s first response immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and yes, it’s led by the Australian hunk and Asgardian God, Chris Hemsworth. He leads a team of twelve Special Forces officers tasked with removing the Taliban from Afghanistan before they forcefully enlist every civilian in the country into their own army allowing a higher risk of future attacks on the United States. I have to say, I was surprised by this movie in many ways, and they’re all positive.

First of all, it’s January, also known as the garbage dump of movie release months. There’s obviously been some diamonds in the rough, such as 2017s Split, but usually January is when studios release garbage movies and make whatever money they can. Is 12 Strong a masterpiece? No. But is it an enjoyable film with intense action and performances to back it up? You’re damn right.

Chris Hemsworth plays Capt. Mitch Nelson alongside Michael Shannon as his second in command, Hal Spencer. This screening was an awesome experience personally because not only were the two men that Hemsworth and Shannon portray in the audience with us, but it was also almost completely full of active military and veterans.

About the performances, Michael Shannon is one of the best actors alive, he is no doubt good in the film, but Chris Hemsworth surprised me. Although he won’t be getting an Oscar nomination anytime soon, his career has been leaning more towards his comedic skills. This film is much different than what I’ve seen him do in the past, and he took it incredibly serious. I bought him as the leader of this badass team of men, even though he has an incredibly recognizable face and those bright blue eyes.

The performances and comradery between the team members are the strongest aspect of this film. Not only did I believe every jab and joke about one another on screen, but the real Capt. Mitch Nelson said that comradery was the area the filmmakers nailed the most, and I couldn’t agree more. Michael Pena is also a member of the team, who brings A+ comedic relief and timing throughout the film, while also being a total badass in his own right.

I will say that during the film, the story seems almost too good to be true, like the writers took the story and made it more Hollywood. But after the film, listening to the real soldiers talk facts, the ACTUAL story is even more unbelievable! There weren’t 12 guys, there were 14. None of the team members got injured during this impossible mission. And they didn’t team up with one army of Afghanis trying to take their country back from the Taliban, they personally brought 3 rival armies together to fight for their freedom. Although I’d love to see that version of the story, I can’t sit through a 5-hour long movie.

I would most definitely recommend this film, it’s not only an intense action flick but also very authentic in its performances. We all remember where we were on September 11 th , 2001. Now we get to see the secret mission of America’s first response to this event, which was absolutely vital in preventing more attacks in the future. Go check out 12 Strong and come back here to tell us what you thought below!

Rating: 4 out of 5


Logan Logan (Contributor) is a Texas native and a massive fan of all genres of film. You can find him talking about movies on YouTube as half of the CraZCouple or in line for the latest Star Wars/Comic Book film.
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