run time: 121 mins
considered: Action, Biography, Drama
starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana
movie summary: Deep in the mountains of Afghanistan, a team made up of four Navy Seals Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch), Matthew “Axe” Axelson (Ben Foster) are on a secret mission to take out a senior Taliban official Ahmd Shahd.
Before they are deployed the team plans the mission at the command base along with senior officer Erik S. Kristensen (Eric Bana). Axe develops a bad feeling about the mission considering the terrain involved, the amount of time they will be out of communication, and the amount of time it will take reinforcements to get there. The men gear up then board the chopper to take the ride to the drop zone in the mountains a few miles hike to the village where Shahd was last spotted.
After reaching their staging area the guys set up equipment to photograph and verify their target. Despite the shade of the trees, the group decides to drop back and hike up towards the peak and wait the rest of the day for the attack to go down. Dietz draws watch while the other three nap under some trees. Out of no where a goat herder and his two boys are walking by when the little boy steps on Marcus’ foot which blows their cover. The group round everyone up at gun point then break out into a debate about the rules of the engagement and what they should do with these three potential Taliban people.
Michael, as the most senior officer of the team, makes the decision to release the guys and have his team push north up the mountain so they can have communications to radio a pick up. In the amount of time it takes the four man team to reach the summit, the little boy has already reached the village and spread the word that Americans are on the mountain. When Michael walks around the peak to scout various directions there is already 30 to 40 armed Taliban fighters on the opposite peak.
The team has to back track a little down to tree line to have the cover of the trees and rocks but within minutes of blending in and arming their sniper rifles they are under heavy gun fire. There seems to be over 50 guns firing at them from all sides while they fire back taking out as many guys as they can without giving up their cover. Michael figures it is best for the team to move keep moving in the left direction because there is no gun fire from that way. Crawling on their hands and knees the team run right into an oncoming group of men who fire everything they have at the team.
The four guys have been under fire for quite a while and have managed to escape serious injuries up until this point. The team moves right and finds themselves on the edge of a cliff. The Taliban gunners are now shooting RPG’s (Rocket Propelled Grenades) in their direction which forces the four guys to save their own lives by jumping off the ledge. The guys roll and tumble-down the rocky landscape hitting almost every tree and boulder on the way down. At this point the men are badly injured from the fall and the few bullets that have hit them.
Michael decides to sacrifice himself to reach communications one final time to spare the rest of his men, but the satellite phone has horrible reception which doesn’t help him at all as he stands out in clear sight. Axe and Marcus get split up from Dietz who never made it down off the ledge and now being held by some of the Taliban fighters. Alone, running out of ammo, and with no real hope to survive Axe and Marcus continue to fight the oncoming bullets and make their way down the mountain. An RPG explosion separates the two final survivors, Marcus get badly injured from the hip down but is lucky enough to fall between some rocks which hides him from the search party. Axe runs out of bullets before he is finally gunned down which leaves Marcus all alone to survive on the mountain with no way to communicate that he is still alive.
my thoughts: Lone Survivor is simply an amazing movie. Movies based on American military stories whether it be war or battle related usually show them winning without as much as a scratch. Blockbusters like Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down show us the sacrifice of the American troops but they always come out on top. Lone Survivor shows us a different side that despite all the successful missions there are some that go horribly wrong and good people die.
My favourite war theme movie is Black Hawk Down because you are right there with the soldiers as they fight for their lives and what impressed me most about Lone Survivor is how close the action is presented. I sat there and wonder how many cameras must have gotten destroyed by fake bullets since it is placed right in the face of these four Navy Seal men who are under heavy fire. They take a bullet to the shoulder or arm and keep fighting without blinking an eye. Their survival skills are the best in the world and minor flesh wounds won’t stop them from making it home at night.
Unfortunately this movie is called “Lone Survivor” so people have to expect that three out of the four are gonna die and one hero will live to tell the story. Their story is of bravery, sacrifice, never giving up on their brothers, and fighting until their last breath protecting each other. The raw emotion depicted in this film is very tough to describe which will bring some people to tears. Audiences will feel bad for these four men, their families, and the horrible untimely death that they faced. It takes a lot of courage to do their jobs, a job that almost everyone in the free world takes for granted. I am very fortunate to sit here, watch movies, and write about them, while these guys die all the time on missions out there in the real world. People can sit at home and play Call of Duty all day and have a blast killing pretend people but in the real world, in the position these four Navy Seals were in, most of us would have failed and been killed right off in the beginning.
Lone Survivor won the box office weekend for all the right reasons. This two-hour movie draws you into the story with a great build up followed by over an hour of gun fighting while showing us what it takes to survive to live another day.
my star rating: 9 out 10