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4.5 out of 5 stars
Lone Survivor [Blu-ray] [2013]
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on 31 December 2013
Remarkable representation of an all out firefight between a small contingent of US Navy Seals & a fairly large group of Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

The Seals are sent in, covertly, to capture, or kill, Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd. They succeed in finding Shahd and his group of Taliban fighters but something goes very wrong and they are left to fend for themselves against insurmountable odds.

Outgunned and with communications down they come under heavy fire from their opponents and the film tells the gripping, and true, story of the battle that ensues.

This film is extremely well put together and the photography is excellent, with all the actors playing their parts very believably. The director uses some 'poetic license' towards the end of the film but throughout the viewer is engaged in an almost 'Apocalypse Now' experience.

Highly recommended.
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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2014
Incredibly powerful film. Shows the combined strength of those who defend our counties, and without getting all overly patriotic about it, this film does make you think a lot about those who protect us.

As a side note, i watched an extended feature of this on Youtube. Mark Wahlberg met the parents of the real life character he was playing and he promised them that he would play the part as true to real life as he could. Needless to say the acting was incredibly good, everything felt so real. Not only Mark Wahlberg but the other actors were excellent too.

The storyline itself is based on true events, we all know what this means. It was sometimes hard to believe the scenes depicted could ring true to real life but I suppose we will never know the extend of what really happened. It had exceptional cinematography, and it is a film at the end of the day. I loved it.

There was a dedicated ending to the fallen soldiers complete with their real life pictures. I really liked this, very respectful.

4.5/5
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 1 February 2014
Lone Survivor
Director/Writer: Peter Berg
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Alexander Ludwig and Eric Bana
Runtime: 2hrs Certificate: 16
Cinema Release: 31st January 2014

Based on US Navy SEAL Markus Luttrell’s book Lone Survivor, starring Mark Wahlberg in the lead role as Petty Officer 1st Class Markus Luttrell during the faithful mission on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border called ‘Operation Redwing’ in 2005. Their mission was to capture or kill a notorious Taliban leader.

After confirming his identity and setting up an OP they were disturbed by local shepherds who they had to set free. This led to the SEALs trying to out-run an enemy force of 150+ who were in close pursuit through the mountains of Afghanistan resulting in the deaths of three members of SEAL Team 10.

Lone Survivor is a true story of how a Special Forces operator survives against outstanding odds even after suffering the deaths of his other team members, Axe (Foster), Dietz (Hirsch) and team leader and best friend Lt Mike Murphy (Kitsch).

Although the film doesn’t stand up to how PO 1st Class Luttrell survived behind enemy lines injured and dehydrated for four days and the action and realties of war portrayed in the book. I do understand that film production was aimed at producing a two hour action movie, and as a standalone movie it is action packed and truly enjoyable and I’m pleased that Markus’s story receives a wider audience as a true warrior should.

As reviewed in the February 2014 issue of An Cosantóir (The Defender) The Irish Defence Forces Magazine by Sgt Wayne Fitzgerald - dfmagazine.ie - military.ie
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2014
I'll begin by saying I rate this film as right up with with the very best of grim, realistic modern war movies like Black Hawk Down or The Hurt Locker.

Pretty much every other positive review talks about the really exciting action sequences, great performances and fab cinematography. All this is true. If like me, you are a fan of Friday Night Lights, you'll find a lot of similarities, as the music is by Explosions In The Sky (as FNL) and Taylor Kitsch and Peter Berg are re-teaming from FNL. The reason I bring a series about a High School Football team into it is that it was a series that felt real - as does this and had much greater depth than you might have expected - as does this.

I think Berg as a writer does a very good job honouring the SEALs but also really does a good job or portraying ordinary Afghans positively - or certainly even handedly. At the end there is some on screen text explaining Afghan guest customs, but I think too, you can read between the lines of the film and see that fundamentally the ordinary Afghan villagers are no friends of the Taliban and are as sick of them and sickened by them as we might be.

It IS a bit gung ho at times, and you do wonder about some of the tactical decisions that were made, but that doesn't and shouldn't detract from what is an exciting and very unusual story, that is tremendously well acted, directed and shot.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Marcus Luttrell, and his team of Navy S.E.A.L's set out on a mission to capture or kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah.

After running into mountain Shepherds and capturing them, they were left with no choice but to follow their rules of engagement or be imprisoned.

Now Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives on the mountains, with communications down, and a seemingly endless adversary....

Here in the UK, this vanished without a trace at the Box Office, and Bergs film are either hit and miss, and plus Wahlberg's last film was the poisonous Pain and Gain, so I wasn't really too bothered about seeing it.

But then again, one should realise that a bad movie shouldn't taint your future viewing, and I'm glad it hasn't tainted mine, because this is a really good movie, with great performances from the four leads.

To say the film is intense is an understatement, as half hour into the film, the ambush happens, and it literally doesn't give up until the final credits roll.

Berg proves again, he can expertly film an extended set piece, and every fall and wound the four incur, is wince inducing and brutal, in some parts of the film, I was literally holding on to my chair for dear life.

My only gripes with the film are the title. If you've never heard of the story, it's a bit of a spoiler in itself, and some of the deaths are a bit Willem Dafoe in Platoon.

The final act is breathtaking and very touching, proving that stereotypes are rife in the world.

A really good movie all in all. The narrative is tight, and the film is executed almost perfectly. Just very, very tense.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 22 April 2014
Saw this at the flix & loved it. It's your classic special ops botch up / heroic-exploits movie, and a true story.
Action packed & a tribute to those involved in the real-life op involving a Seal Team
sent in to observe a terrorist/warlord in Afghanistan, that goes belly-up.
A must-see for fans of the genre who like it fast, furious, & true
Steve, Hants
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2015
I am not really a fan patriotic nonsense where everyone gets all soppy about how great their country is and that they are better than everyone else in the world because of a obsolete piece of history. And that includes the so called Great Britain. Sure, it was great years ago when we had brave souls flying around in Spitfires and Lancasters. Even in more recent times when we had the E-type Jag and Mini Coopers. But that is all nostalgic crap and I hate it when people hang onto things that make out they are true Brits when they have nothing to do with what they are banging on about. I mean take a typical football fan with a skin head and his calf tattooed with the England flag. What does this moron know about a genuine hero at the controls of a Hurricane. Oh, yeah I forgot, they must have a connection because they go to Benidorm for 2 weeks wearing an England top and drinking Red Stripe in the Red Lion run by a ex con Brit named El-Barstardo. Please!!!

By far the worst thing about it is the England football team, especially at Wold Cup time. I get bloody sick of it when drongo's say we going to win this time and we are the best in the world at the beautiful game. WHAT!! a beautiful game, HA! full of racist thugs and sex offenders! England clearly are not the best because they have not won since 1966. Football should be banned! But I think we can keep the Spitfire, the Hurricane, the Lancaster, Jags, Mini's, the British pub, the fry up, classic British comedy, The Italian Job, Top Gear and the countryside. But while I love all of that it does not stop me from knowing England is just a greedy country that punishers the hard working and freely provides for the scrounging gutter snipes we have polluting the air.

What I love about Lone Survivor is that rather than having loads of shots of flag waving, the story firmly concentrates on the four Navy SEALs sent on a mission to infiltrate an al-Qaeda oprative. I like it when the story is more about the characters, rather than how heroic they are. Early on in the mission the group are stumbled upon by a family of goat farmers, compromising their position. The SEALs retreat but end up facing a race for survival. I know, it seems strange that a farmer could compromise an expensive military mission like this but it's based on a true story so I'll go with it.

The SEALs are purused by an army of al-Qaeda and worn down to the thread by very brutal and realistic attacks. These scenes are some of the best I've seen in a film like this and pull no punches of how graphic they are. It really is gripping stuff. The only really likeable character though is Mark Whalberg's, Marcus, where as the rest of the main cast are OK, they don't bring as much carisma at Marky Mark. I suppose that is why he is the lead and not the other actors. The only actor in this I can't stand is Taylor Kitsch. He can't act and seems to be trying far too hard to convince us he is a proper Hollywood star, forcing himself on us much as he did in Oliver Stone's Savages.

After all the brutality in Lone Survivor there is a genuinely emotional story where Marcus is rescued and given litteraly a fighting chance of survival. It really did choke me up a little. To conclude then, this film is a bloody brilliant war film with the right contrast of action and drama that should more that satify anyone because of how realistic it is on screen. It you liked American Sniper and Black Hawk Down then you will love this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2015
REVIEWED VERSION: 2013 Universal Studios US Blu-Ray
(obtained at Wal-Mart, extras may vary from regular retail version)

Director: Peter Berg

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Alexander Ludwig

Production: US 2013

SYNOPSIS

Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) and his team of Navy SEALs are sent on a mission in Afghanistan, Operation "Red Wings", to capture or kill taliban leader and war criminal Ahmad Shah.
When they are detected by a group of goat herders (no pun intended), the mission is jeopardized and Luttrell must make a difficult decision: uphold the code of conduct and risk his own life and the lives of his team members or become a war criminal himself.
His decision has consequences...

THE PROS & CONS

LONE SURVIVOR is based on Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell's nonfiction book of the same name.
It was mostly overlooked at the Academy Awards, being nominated only for two minor catagories, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing, winning neither.
It fared better at the box office, grossing a total of $149.3 million on a budget of $40 million.
The film opens with an montage of the tough training the Navy SEALs undergo. The stars of the film underwent some training themselves to prepare for their physically demanding roles.
Several veterans have actually stated how realistic this movie is, calling at as probably the most realistic war movie ever made, also in regards to the depiction of wounds.
What LONE SURVIVOR also does is show that the average common Afghan civilians are also being brutalized and killed by the taliban terrorists and are no friends of them - with a few exceptions.
The film was shot entirely in New Mexico, U.S.A., and the landscape is just mindblowingly fantastic. Overall the cinematography by Tobias Schliessler is just wonderful, looking even greater in high definition.
Peter Berg did a fantastic directing job, delivering by far his best film here. I like the way that the movie starts, building up the story and the characters - real characters, not the stereotypical GI Joes - instead of dumping them in the Hindu Kush region in the first 2 minutes.
The actors did a fantastic job as well, preparing for the role and then believably portraying their characters. I am not a fan of Mark Wahlberg at all, but he definitely nailed the role of Luttrell, delivering the best performance of his career.
LONE SURVIVOR is one of the best war movies ever made, ranking equally with BLACK HAWK DOWN, and surpassing by far PLATOON and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, not only from a moral point of view, only to be surpassed by AMERICAN SNIPER.
It is that difficult moral decision and knowing and accepting the consequences that makes this film so superior. I know for sure, I would have chosen a very different path if I were in his shoes.
It's men like Marcus Luttrell and Chris Kyle that should be celebrated as super heroes, not dressed up Marvel clowns.
Highly recommended, definitely one of the best films of 2013.

ON A SIDE NOTE

- the real life fire fight Marcus Luttrell and his company were engaged in with the Taliban lasted five days instead of the three days depicted in the film

- actual military veterans were used in the film as well, including two cameos of the real Marcus Luttrell

- stars Taylor Kitsch and Mark Wahlberg and director Berg worked at a discount for the mandatory Directors Guild minimum salary of $17,000 a week

- Mark Wahlberg has said in many interviews that Lone Survivor is the movie he is most proud of

- the tumbling and falling scenes were filmed on location without CGI enhancement

BLU-RAY DETAILS

Feature running time: 121:16 mins. (uncut)
MPAA Rating: R (strong bloody war violence and pervasive language)
BBFC Rating: 15 (strong bloody violence and strong language)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1, DVS (Descriptive Video Service)
Subtitles: English HoH, Spanish
Extras: Will of the Warrior (28:05), Bringing the Story to Light (4:44), Recreating the Firefight (10:27), Learning the Basics (6:02), The Fallen Heroes of Operation Red Wings (4:00) (3:40) (3:48), The Pashtun Code of Life (4:07), Previews (Trailers to other releases), DVD on seperate Disc, Digital HD copy, Blu-Ray online features.
Region: Region Free

Picture quality: 5/5
Audio quality: 5/5
Extras: 2/5

This Blu-Ray presents LONE SURVIVOR in state of the art picture and audio quality. It looks magnificent as if you could jump right into the picture. The smallest details and textures are brilliantly captured as are the facial details which seem incredibly lifelike. The (English) DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack is just as impressive, especially during the action scenes.
Less impressive is the amount of extras, roughly one hour of featurettes and interviews, but no commentary. We just expect more from a film in this day and age.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2015
Generally I am of the opinion that war films can tend to be poor but anti-war films excellent. The more gung-go a film, the less appealing I find it and the more politically motivated a script, the more credible the film is. This is particularly true with more left-leaning films like "Days of glory" , a French film about Algerian soldiers fighting to help liberate France in WW2.

"Lone Survivor" was recommended to me. I had read the favourable reviews but was a bit suspicious that this film would laud the American military establishment as well as put a positive spin on the travesty of Afghanistan. Instead, this film concerns an operation which goes wring for the simplest and most moral of reasons and whilst the first twenty minutes do not really allow for much character development, once in the combat zone the film goes up several notches and doesn't stop. Rather than being gung-ho, here is a film for once that shows that the American military machine is fallible , that their technology is subject to glitches and that even rescue missions might not conclude as anticipated. Effectively, this film is about a chase through the wilderness of a four man team by the Taliban. It is frightening and exciting. Based on a rear incident, the film is better for the fact that most of the actors were unknown to me so that you don't really get the impression of watching actors going through the motions. I think the film can also be praised for the fact that it shows that the American military organisation does have it's failings and that the need to prioritize with the provision of air cover can have catastrophic results.

I wouldn't say that this film has the clout of "Saving Private Ryan" or the shear wallop of "Black hawk down" but it is extremely gripping and whilst the film does conclude with a moral message, it is better at dealing with the bravery and stamina of soldiers who rose to a remarkable challenge in confronting a ruthless enemy when the odds were stacked very highly against them. This film could have been totally different but somewhere along the line the brakes were put on the excesses and, if this film doesn't quite evoke an anti-war message, it at least it illustrates the bravery of the men involved and illustrates the demands of fighting the Taliban. This is a really gripping piece of cinema and a film I would recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2014
Excellent movie. Other reviews have covered the story, so I'll not do that. I did want to go into some of the more "unbelievable" moments in the movie. Spoilers ahoy!

Disclaimer - I have not read the book but I appreciate that it differs in some respects from the movie.

First - Jumping down cliff sides several times, but still fighting.

I think the film's cinematography doesn't help it here - the scenes with the SEALs crashing onto rocks and trees is very well done, conveying the tremendous kinetic energy imparted into those falls. You feel each crunch and jolt with the team and it's hard to believe that they could still move after that. I suspect that some artistic licence has gone into the movie with regards to heights etc. HOWEVER - don't underestimate the effect of adrenaline - which must've been flowing like crazy, enabling them to carry on, when their bodies should've quit.

Second - Multiple gunshot wounds.

See the effects of adrenaline outlined above. In Mark Bowden's excellent "Black Hawk Down," it states that Rangers in Mogadishu were repeatedly shot and some didn't even feel it until the adrenaline wore off. Also, the AK-47 fires a 7.62mm short round, which is a powerful cartridge - too powerful in some respects, making it easy to punch through the body without causing a fatal wound. By contrast, the 5.56mm NATO round used in the SEAL's Colt M-203/M16 combos have a tumbling effect when the bullet hits the body, causing massive internal trauma. They are more effective rounds, so the SEALs' fire was more effective. It is possible that Ax's head wound was not a direct hit, but a ricochet. Alternatively, the round simply didn't penetrate due to deflection or inadequate storage of rounds. Go to any ER room and they'll tell you that headshots are not certain death.

Third - Endless supply of bullets.

If you note - when the Talis turn up, the SEALs do not loose off dozens of rounds at any one target, they are actually firing single shots. This is standard fire discipline and I liked that the movie showed that authenticity. By comparison, the Talis were firing long bursts, often without sighting properly. This is common with enemy lacking formal training. The SEALs probably carried at least a couple of hundred rounds each. That lasts a long time when you're not blatting away indiscriminately.

Fourth - Jingoism

The US Navy SEALs are the cream of the US special forces. They are approximately equivalent to the UK's SBS. I didn't see flag-waving for 'Murica as much as I saw esprit d'corps in an elite fighting unit. The training and selection process is absolutely brutal and only the best finish the course. That spirit is instilled in the fighting men and it is part of their creed and ethos. I personally can't stand the "gung-ho 'Murica" message contained within a lot of war movies and I really thought that blind jingoism was in short supply here.

Anyway, I've written a book, so TL:DR - Highly recommended.
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