“It’s not bad, but watching any other movie would be a better use of your time.”
I recently saw 12 Strong and it was not an experience that I particularly enjoyed. 12 Strong is a movie about the 12 soldiers who were the first to act in the middle east after 9/11. That’s pretty much all there is to it; it’s just another ‘based on a true story’ war film to help patriots get erect. So why did I want to see it? Becasue of Michael Shannon. I’ll see anything with Shannon in it, and this is so far the only movie where that has backfired on me.
So what didn’t I like about 12 Strong? Well, to put it simply it was really boring. The beginning of the movie falls into the often-used mistake of thinking the audience cares about characters before they get to know them. By this I mean almost every soldier in this movie gets a multi-scene sendoff with their family, but at this point you have no idea who any of them are so there is no connection to be had. This continues on until we actually get to Afghanistan, where the film does more to focus on the relationships of the soldiers. This isn’t necessarily a weak point, but when I go to see a war film I want to see some action. These moments were nowhere near strong enough to carry a two hour film, and they left the experience feeling dull and bloated. And Michael Shannon is barely in the movie, which is why I was disappointed. His performance was great, but it only lasted for about a grand total of ten minutes.
I also felt that the action scenes were very well shot and orchestrated, and they did a great job of conveying the chaos and atrocities of war. That being said, I could barely stay awake while they were happening. I don’t know why, maybe it’s becasue we’ve seen it a thousand times before, but nothing in 12 Strong could win me over. And let’s get real for a second here: the tagline for 12 Strong is “The declassified story of the horse soldiers”, but in reality they are more like ‘the airstrike soldiers’. I understand that real war isn’t always about getting in the shit with a gun and being surrounded by enemies, but maybe don’t make a movie where the majority of it is people asking for coordinates.
Overall 12 Strong was a movie that I wouldn’t in good conscious recommend. It’s not bad, but watching any other movie would be a better use of your time.
I give 12 Strong a C