Tag Archive: Ben Foster

Movie Review: Lone Survivor

lone-survivor4Based on the book written by the only survivor of the failed mission on June 28th 2005 named Marcus Luttrell, we follow four SEAL team members as they stake out a village to make an identification of a top Taliban commander. While waiting on a hill side their communications go down and they are found by two boys and an old man who are herding goats. They have three options, let them go, which would mean over two hundred Taliban soldiers would chase up the hill after them. Or they leave them on the hill side tied up or straight up execute them. This scene is intense and wisely allows the four men to argue about it, this gives the audience time to rack the minds over what they would do. They of course release the three and very quickly find themselves under attack.

This is hands down the best war film in the last ten years. Only two other films in my opinion have down a good job at handling the War on Terror and that is “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Hurt Locker”. This film gives us a small amount of time to get to know not only the four SEALS but other members of their team. All the actors here do their best work from Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch and Taylor Kitsch. All actors try and live up to the real life soldiers they are portraying.

When the battle starts the movie amps up the tension. Everything is gritty and feels very real. This was due I assume because Luttrell and other SEALS were consultants. Enemy soldiers dart in and out of sight. Gun fire rips through the trees but it’s hard to see where it comes from. The four SEALS are well trained and better fighters so they take down many approaching Taliban. The film never though feels forced, where other directors might over due how great the SEALS are Peter Berg keeps this very real. As the SEALS retreat they are shot up pretty badly.

To escape the SEALS dive over the side of a mountain and these scenes are brutal and on the edge of being hard to watch. As the battle settles the movie begins to loose it’s hard edge. Luttrell is the only survivor of the fire fight. He is rescued by local villagers. This did happen in real life but the way it is filmed seems fake. When the Taliban arrive looking for Luttrell the villagers try and fight them off. Berg makes several what I’ll call “Hollywood” choices when it comes to Luttrell being helped by a Afghan boy. The films tone changes from gritty war film to B-action movie so suddenly it took me out of it.

The story needed to be told on film, Berg was the perfect choice. The action is amazing and brutal. I do suggest that if you can please go read the book. The third arch of the film skips over a lot of details about Luttrell’s experience with the Afghan villagers. The film makes it seem like it happens over the span of an hour, when in real life it was several days. Still this movie should be checked out especially in theaters if you get a chance.



Movie Review: Contraband

For a long time I thought this film looked like just an average action film. I wasn’t completely wrong but once I finally did see it I found myself surprised by the quality across the board. Mark Wahlberg plays Chris Farraday who is an ex-smuggler, trying to live a good life doing everything straight and installing home security systems. Sadly when his brother in law ends up failing to get drugs into the country. This gets into deep trouble with a local gangster(Giovanni Ribisi) who not only having a funny voice is a hard core evil guy. Farraday must bring in another shipment of contraband to pay back the gangster and stop him from hurting his wife(Kate Beckinsale), his children and best friend(Ben Foster).

The plot is something we’ve seen before but here everything is done just so right. Wahlberg is a solid actor and plays this type of a character very well. The greatest thing about him and his character is how straight up he is. In one of my favorite scenes the villain played by Ribisi sticks a gun in Farraday’s face and threatens his family. Instantly Farraday beats his ass and sticks his own gun in that man’s face. His character is simple, he loves his family and will do anything for them, but here it feels real.

Kate Beckinsale plays another character that should be simple, the wife, but she is really strong and very real here as well. The movie also gets major points from me as the children in this film have screen time, but they don’t have over the top dialogue or any annoying quirks. No they are simply kids put in a really bad spot. All the side characters also have small moments that make them unique but they never dominate any scenes or waste any time(Like every side character in a film like Transformers for example). The film is a remake of an Icelandic film titled “Reykjavik-Rotterdam” and the lead actor Baltasar Kormakur takes the directors chair for the remake. He does a fantastic job, the film is very smooth, the action and tension are very strong as well.

My only problem with the film is that the major action scene happens half way into the film. A major “Heat” type shoot out in Panama. The fire fight is shot very well and was a breath of fresh air as action movies have gone very shaky cam and quick cut recently. None of that happens here. Still the third act has some twists and turns but not a lot of explosive action, which for me was a pretty big let down.

If you miss this film in theaters you should really check it out and rent it. The film may seem very basic, but it avoids major cliches somehow. It’s very smooth and fun. One very large and well shot action scene as well. It’s not a classic crime film by any means but for sure not a movie one should simply over look.

Rating: 7/10