An unorthodox thing happened to me while I was watching “12 Strong.” I had a stomach ache, and I had to use the bathroom, so I missed a few parts of it. But what am I missing? A few explosions, bullets, and banters between Americans and foreigners-generic stuff.
The movie focuses on the soldiers who battled the Taliban after the dreadful 9/11 attacks, by joining forces with an Afghan General named Abdul Rashid Dostum (Navid Negahban). The cast portraying the soldiers include Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Trevante Rhodes (who you may remember as the adult Chiron in “Moonlight”), and Michael Pena. They give nice performances, but the explosions and bullets overshadow their characters.
The story has been classified for years, so originally, they didn’t come home with big praise. But the movie shows us how the soldiers had to use horses to help them go into battle. Dostum could only offer these 12 men 6, which means they would have to separate into two groups.
Now you know I have nothing but the upmost respect and sympathy for the 9/11 attacks and the people whose families were murdered by it. But “12 Strong” basically relies on all the action to tell the story, and I feel its pretty obvious the soldiers here win the fight, if not the war. I know this sort of thing was done in “Saving Private Ryan” and “Dunkirk” but they were both done with the pure beauty and desperation. Here, it’s nothing special.
There are elements in the movie I did enjoy. The art direction and images, for example, show us the dangers of the battles, and I especially love the scene when Hemsworth and his horse get back up to fight the terrorists. Hemsworth and Negahban are both good, and it’s exciting to see Rhodes expand his horizons in the movie world, after his film “Moonlight” took the Oscar from “La La Land.”
As sad as these attacks were, not every movie about it can be great. Sorry about that.