Special Forces (2011)

Lets get this out of the way right off the bat - this is about French Special Forces. No, they don't have lighter guns so that they are faster at dropping them. No, they are specially trained to retreat faster. I reject all the negative stereotypes about French fighting prowess. At least, I do for the length of this review.

The version of this movie that I watched is in English. As the movie was originally filmed in French (with a tiny bit of English and Persian) there is dubbing. The dubbing is... not good. One of the reasons I thought this movie might be fun to watch is because Djimon Hounsou is in it. You may remember him as the dark skinned best friend of Russell Crow in Gladiator. I've seen him in a couple of other films, and he's always put in a very nice performance. His acting was probably pretty good in this, but you couldn't tell with the dubbing the way it was. At least three different actors' voices can be heard when he talks throughout the movie: one has throat cancer, one sounds like Djimon himself, and the other is just some other guy. 

The biggest issue with dubbed movies tends to be the timing of lines. People have to step on each other so they can get everything in in the same time that it took in the native language. Add to that the awkward translations. Then add the forced emotion, and you've got a big, smelly heap of not good. Hell, even the woman who spoke English natively (played by Diane Kuger) was stilted and emotionless when she delivered her lines. 

Lets face facts: you don't watch a movie about special forces to see acting prowess. Instead, lets talk tactics. These idiots know that a large contingent of enemy soldiers is approaching, so they do the smart thing, right? I mean, they are Special Forces troop trained in complex movements and pressing tactical advantages. So yes, they all stand up and walk lot upright into a clearing in a straight line - just like our forefathers did in the revolutionary war. Well, like the English did, at least.

I'm used to seeing US Special Forces, and they have a certain mystique about them that transcends a group of simple soldiers. While not invulnerable, it is a statistical fact that they inflict significantly more damage than they take, and that normally comes down to training and weaponry. It does not normally come down to the team sniper (who has no spotter) running 50 yards, shooting, running another 50 yards inexplicably, and the firing again with pinpoint accuracy and without even breathing hard. 

At more than one point, I expected this group to be rescued by US Special Forces. I mean, these guys were not prepared for battle, unfamiliar with their surroundings, unsure of their exfil location, and simply not ready for desert warfare. The woman reporter that they were there to rescue had a substantially greater chance of getting out alive at every point in the movie. 

I expected a cliché storyline, and I got it.
I expected bad acting, and I got it.
I expected good action, and I did not get it.
The cinematography was not particularly good. I mean, they had all of the Afghanistan mountains, and they were a weak backdrop at best.
The directing was not great.
The editing was pretty terrible.



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