<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Nicolai Fuglsig. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, Navid Negahban, Trevante Rhodes, Rob Riggle, William Fichtner, Elsa Pataky
Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Repetitive, directionless, lacking leadership, failing to inspire, all these things are what a war film should strive not to be. 12 Strong loses this battle.
12 Strong could not be more generic. Right from the American soldiers who will do anything to go on a suicide mission to defend their country, to their uninspiring bravado, everything about the film is so ‘we’ve seen it all before’ that at points it becomes white noise.
Immediately after 9/11 a band of 12 soldiers lead by Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth) is sent to Afghanistan to help General Dostum (Navid Negahban) and his troops defeat the Taliban and reoccupy a city. They basically go there to laser enemy targets for a B-52 bomber to come and drop bombs on them. And they do that once, twice, three times. That’s basically it.
There’s no real character development, there’s plenty of patriotic and ‘brave’ clichés used. Chris Hemsworth seems out of his depth as he mouths his dialogue. General Dostum doesn’t believe he’s worthy of leading and neither do you. In fact, Navid Negahban who plays Dostum gives the only good performance in the film. His tearful face and ‘killer’ eyes seem more human and real than any of the other actors.
12 Strong is terribly formula, without an ounce of inspired writing or direction.