LONE SURVIVOR: THE REVIEW

LONE SURVIVOR tells the true story of four Navy SEALs on an ill-fated covert mission to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative who are ambushed by enemy forces in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. Based on The New York Times bestseller, this story of heroism, courage and survival directed by Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) stars Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster Alexander Ludwig and Eric Bana. LONE SURVIVOR is out February 20th, it is 121mins long and had not been rated at time of screening but it is more than likely going to be MA15+.

 

LONE SURVIVOR, LONE SURVIVOR REVIEW, REVIEW, JASON KING, Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, Jerry Ferrara, Alexander Ludwig, PETER BERG, Marcus Luttrell, Matt Axelson, Danny Dietz, Mike Murphy, war movie
LONE SURVIVOR: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW – Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch

 

LONE SURVIVOR is not a light film, you know at the beginning this is a true story and you know from posters or basic synopses that the film is called LONE Survivor, lone as in singular, you know you are going to see most of these people die and you know all of them as actors. I was asked by the distributor for a quote at the end of the film and it was thus…..

Superbly acted, intense, a punch in the gut film

The film starts showing real footage film reels of Marines going through training, it is one of the hardest forms of training any member of the military can go through, it is showing us that these Marines can go beyond the norm, they can push their limits beyond that of normal man and keep on going, they can tolerate hardship and prevail.

You then go to the military barracks in Afghanistan, where all the people involved in this mission are based. You meet them all, you feel all the camaraderie, and you see all the fun they are having with the new recruit. The speech Ludwig does in front of the men is touching, this is an elite group of men, they are superior. All intelligence indicates this is a basic mission to get a high profile target, limited resistance, easy three days out before mission complete and extraction back to base, they are all eager to be out there doing their jobs.

 

LONE SURVIVOR, LONE SURVIVOR REVIEW, REVIEW, JASON KING, Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, Jerry Ferrara, Alexander Ludwig, PETER BERG, Marcus Luttrell, Matt Axelson, Danny Dietz, Mike Murphy, war movie
LONE SURVIVOR: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW – Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Alexander Ludwig

 

But through simple bloody bad luck, a couple of goat herding farmers, and the morals of the men, the code that keeps them men as opposed to monsters, the shit hits the fan. The limited resistance is a full blown army surrounding the four soldiers in a valley. What follows is one of the most gruesome battles for life against insurmountable odds that sees so many people killed, none of them need to die but nearly everyone you have met or been introduced to is adversely effected by this mission gone wrong. It is an epic failure of a mission on every count and we get a front seat in the viewing.

 

LONE SURVIVOR, LONE SURVIVOR REVIEW, REVIEW, JASON KING, Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, Jerry Ferrara, Alexander Ludwig, PETER BERG, Marcus Luttrell, Matt Axelson, Danny Dietz, Mike Murphy, war movie
LONE SURVIVOR: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW – Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch

 

The acting in this film is top notch from everyone. Kitsch, Hirsch, Bana, Ludwig all great. Wahlberg is great and you support him, you see these guys generally lose their mind under the pressure and it is inspiring to watch. I have not mentioned one person, Ben Foster, and this is because he stood out above the rest. Wahlberg is great but Foster is brilliant. I would have loved to have seen Foster in the lead but his part in this is epic. “I am the reaper” had me nearly cheering (not appropriate in a press screening).  And Foster’s final scenes just had me shaking, the guy is brilliant.

 

LONE SURVIVOR, LONE SURVIVOR REVIEW, REVIEW, JASON KING, Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, Jerry Ferrara, Alexander Ludwig, PETER BERG, Marcus Luttrell, Matt Axelson, Danny Dietz, Mike Murphy, war movie
LONE SURVIVOR: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW – Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch

 

In the first 15mins of this film I truly thought I was in for one of the best war movies of all time, it just had a silent build that you knew was going to be epic, and while the story is outstanding this level of awesome faltered. First let down for me was the blood, it was so red, it was literally blood reserved for gory vampire films but here it was in a serious war film. The film then slipped into occasional Hollywood OTT heroics and while I do not doubt all of this really occurred and what these men went through was beyond my comprehension I would have preferred a more humble way of dealing with it. But this is a Hollywood film about Marines, it was going to be inevitable really. One thing that did shock me was that the film depicts this occurring over three days, in reality these men went through this over five long and death filled arduous days. The other sections of the military that got involved and what occurred there literally was a punch in the stomach, my hand flow over my mouth in one horrific mass life ending scene.

 

LONE SURVIVOR, LONE SURVIVOR REVIEW, REVIEW, JASON KING, Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Eric Bana, Jerry Ferrara, Alexander Ludwig, PETER BERG, Marcus Luttrell, Matt Axelson, Danny Dietz, Mike Murphy, war movie
LONE SURVIVOR: THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW – Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch

 

Peter Berg brought us a great looking film, he was so passionate to get this film made. He literally read the memoir in one sitting in 2008 after locking himself in a conference room during the filming of Hancock. He then set about getting it organised and did it all on a limited budget of $40MIL. He wanted to film this before Battleship but the studio won that one. Wahlberg and Kitsch then worked for minimum actor’s salary of $17000 per week for a 42 day shoot. I think Berg’s blood was more suited to Battleship but his personalising of the battles, his toning down of what really happened to some of the men and his script of the film is truly brilliant.

The fact that Luttrell even survived this is a miracle, the people that helped him were a miracle and out of nowhere and without them the story of these men would be forgotten. Seeing photos and video of the real men over the credits had me in tears and to see Luttrell with his son called Axe (Foster’s character) made me sob.

This is no romantic comedy, if you want a horrific war story with some brilliant acting and heroism then this is for you.

 

JK’S POP SCORE: 

4 Pops

KERNEL NICK’S POP SCORE:

3 Pops

KERNEL BEN’S POP SCORE:

4 and a Half Pops

KERNEL ADAM’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops

KERNEL JOHN’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops