12 Strong – a gritty reminder

No one reading this can forget where they were or what they were doing when 9/11 hit. It was like a bullet between the eyes for all of us. On the other hand, few if any of us remember the date October 16, 2001, the date when the first combat teams from our military began the fight in Afghanistan. This is the true story of a group of twelve Special Forces warriors who began the fight and paved the way for the rest of our troops.

Dispatched to take down a Taliban stronghold in a remote, mountainous area, they had to rely on a local Warlord to assist them in their mission. They had no motorized vehicles, they hadn’t arrived yet. The Warlord offered them horses, and that’s how they traveled days across the forbidden terrain.

The story is filled with heroism from start to finish, even the horses don’t flinch during the battles. And speaking of battles, that’s what the movie basically consists of, one battle scene after another, bullets and bodies flying every which way. There are a few moments of normal human interaction, but they are spiced up with glimpses of the Taliban’s cruelty invoking Sharia law against innocent women and children.

12 Strong

Entertainment Rating: ★★

Rating: R: strong language throughout, war battles, death and chaos

Possible Oscar Nominations: None

This is a gritty reminder of why we went over there in the first place. That and the incredible courage of the American fighting forces are an important message. I found the story itself more than acceptable. As it wore on, however, there were moments of boredom as the battle scenes raged. One after the other. I am glad I saw this film, but know that many readers will not find it to their liking, so be warned.

In the meantime I saw three excellent films since my last column appeared. They were all true stories and I can highly recommend all of them.

The Greatest Showman: P.G. ***1/2

Hugh Jackman shines in the life story of P.T. Barnum, who along with Walt Disney were the two greatest entertainment visionaries in history. This is a colorful, lively and enjoyable movie, accentuated by a terrific ensemble who provide some of the best song and dance routines seen in a long time.

Darkest Hour: P.G. ****

Gary Oldman stars as Winston Churchill, and gives the best performance I have seen since Colin Firth in The King’s Speech. The story spans the first thirty days of Churchill as Prime Minister of England, when they faced certain defeat at the hands of Nazi Germany. His rallying cry to Parliament was one of the best scenes I can remember from any movie.

The Post: P.G. 13 (language) ***1/2

The story of the publication of the Pentagon Papers by the Washington Post in February 1971. These secret documents exposed the Governments cover up of what was really happening in the Vietnam War. The struggle to obtain the papers and then publish them is a riveting story. Meryl Streep stars as Kay Graham, the owner of the paper and Tom Hanks as editor Ben Bradlee. Streep gives another Oscar level performance, as the battle of the free press goes to war with almost everyone.


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