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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Its about the man next to you".
As everybody now knows, Black Hawk Down is the true story of the Battle of Mogadishu, which took place in October 1993, when an American elite force carried out their mission (to abduct two lieutenants of the notorious Somalian warlord Mohammad Aidid) and ended up in the longest post Vietnam land battle involving American soldiers. During this ferocious gun battle 18...
Published on 19 Dec 2002 by Mr. N. Carnegie

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Assault on the Senses
Ridley Scott has frequently come under fire from critics as a director whose visual style overrides any attempt at characterisation, Blade Runner being a case in point. Of course we now know that this simply was not the case: that film has far more depth than it was initially given credit for. Scott began his career in advertising, producing that well known TV bread...
Published on 30 Sep 2008 by Eddie


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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Its about the man next to you"., 19 Dec 2002
By 
Mr. N. Carnegie (Kirkcaldy, Scotland, UK.) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black Hawk Down (2 Disc Set) [2002] [DVD] (DVD)
As everybody now knows, Black Hawk Down is the true story of the Battle of Mogadishu, which took place in October 1993, when an American elite force carried out their mission (to abduct two lieutenants of the notorious Somalian warlord Mohammad Aidid) and ended up in the longest post Vietnam land battle involving American soldiers. During this ferocious gun battle 18 American soldiers were killed and 73 injured, whilst over 500 Somali gunmen also lost their lives.
Ridley Scott, hot off the heels of Gladiator, pulls no punches in his direction of this tragic fiasco, as he provides us with 135 minutes of ear shattering, stomach-churning, war is hell, all out action. There to the story is that American troops are on a peace-keeping mission trying to support the supply of food to the people of Somalia, who are being starved as a result of the local warlords commandeering all the Red Cross relief efforts. However, as is usually the case, their efforts are compromised by politics and they have to watch on helplessly as the Somalian guerrillas turn their guns own their own starving people. As a result, a plan is formulated by the army to enter the hostile capital of Mogidishu in broad daylight to abduct two of Mohammad Aidid's most senior aides. However, even before the mission can begin, the plan is hamstrung by Washington politicians who limit the mission's aerial support and firepower. And so the mission begins with the Delta Force and Rangers but everything starts to unravel when one of the helicopters involved in the mission, the said Black Hawk of the title, gets shot down in the middle of the city and the whole mission begins to tragically unravel.
Ridley Scott and Jerry Bruckheimer have provided a 135 minute deafening assault on the senses. The cinematography by Slawomir Idziak is impeccable and in a strange way aesthetically pleasing and the cast, led by Josh Hartnett, Eric Bana (The Hulk) and Ewan McGregor, is perhaps implausibly good looking and McGregor's first attempt at an American accent is not altogether consistent or convincing. However, the aesthetic appeal of three of Hollywood's hottest young stars is balanced by the chunky Tom Sizemore and the so ugly (only a mother could love that face) Ewen Bremner of Trainspotting fame, who actually provides a stand out supporting performance and an American accent which impressively belies his Scottish roots. Also particularly impressive in another supporting performance is Jason Isaacs (Event Horizon, The Patriot) as Captain Mike Steele.
One of the most refreshing but also most frustrating things about Black Hawk Down is its lack of political context. There is no explanation as to whose decision it was to limit the mission and no finger pointing at those that inevitably made the decision to pull out of Somalia. There is also very little background character development about any of the soldiers with perhaps the exception of Staff Sergeant Matt Eversmann (Josh Hartnett), who is presented as being somewhat pragmatic and anti-war. The movie does not follow the traditional formula of war movies that focuses upon ordinary men overcoming great odds through glorious sacrifice to triumph with flag-waving patriotism. Instead it focuses upon professional soldiers drawn together by a common aim to stay alive, free of the usual moral justifications of being a soldier in the first instance. It is neither anti-war, nor anti-army. It is about comradeship through necessity, kill or be killed and in Black Hawk Down there is plenty of both. Or as Eric Bana's character puts it "It's about the man next to you; that's all there is." Ultimately, whether you enjoy Black Hawk Down or not will depend on whether you like war movies and whether or not you like them to be gritty and realistic. Four stars ****
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty War Film, 26 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Black Hawk Down (2 Disc Set) [2002] [DVD] (DVD)
If you're looking for a TRUE battle film then BHD is amongst the best! This film gives an account of one battle in Mogadishu, Somalia...if you're looking for more then you will be disappointed. It is extremely well made, with good soundtrack and fantastic cinematography. I enjoyed it immenseley.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Hawk Brilliant, 4 May 2006
Where does one begin to praise this film's strengths???

Firstly, the action is exciting, and brutally realistic. It employs computer technology to increase the intensity and realism, not to make it look spectacular and over-the-top (Pearl Harbor, anyone?). Also, the soldiers and their personalities are well displayed. It shows them as not being invincible, but being human, and prone to fear, and making mistakes. Check out the 'snafu' cut-scene.

Also, despite those claiming it is only partly accurate, I think it is almost totally accurate. That is, apart from the composite characters shown in the film. Some may complain that it shows too little of the Somali side of things, and the events that caused the hatred of the Somalis. Also, that it doesn't pay enough attention to Mike Durant's ordeal. My answer is that the film-makers are only interested in the single day of the battle. The other stuff is filled in by the text at the beginning and end of the film.

Then, of course, there is the military side of things. Always interesting to observe and learn about. And the Black Hawk is such an impressive machine. Those miniguns are awesome to behold. Terrible in their devastation, but awesome nonetheless. Also, the little birds are such brilliant machines for their versatility and the aerial photography is impressive as well.

Then there are elements like the score. It is very innovative and very different from other Hans Zimmer scores, but this film deserved something special and unique. Shows once again Zimmer's awesome talent. Also the song Gortoz A'ran J'Attends which is sung at the end provides a real emotional side to the picture, and makes the film that much more touching. I like to be moved by a film, and this one does just that.

And of course, on a 3-disc set there's plenty of goodies to keep you out of mischief. The best of these is the History Channel documentary 'The True Story of Black Hawk Down.'

All in all, jolly good stuff, and you get a whole lot for your money. An essential for your DVD collection.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Assault on the Senses, 30 Sep 2008
By 
Eddie (Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Black Hawk Down [DVD] (DVD)
Ridley Scott has frequently come under fire from critics as a director whose visual style overrides any attempt at characterisation, Blade Runner being a case in point. Of course we now know that this simply was not the case: that film has far more depth than it was initially given credit for. Scott began his career in advertising, producing that well known TV bread advertisement all those years ago and he still works in that field, so it's fair to say that visual style will indeed be strong. Those kinds of critisisms are unfair and unfounded.

I did get the feeling that Scott saw Saving Private Ryan and as a result thought, "I could do that". Private Ryan of course spawned several films which attempted to "show battle as it really is" by putting you into the heart of the action, at least as much as is possible on a screen and Black Hawk Down certainly does that. The story is simple: US forces enter Mogadishu to capture some bad guys and it goes wrong. Although it is nearly forty five minutes before the first helicopter goes down, once the action starts it does not let up and you are thrown headlong into the noise, fear and bloodiness of battle, with results which are likely to leave you with concussion.

It's often confusing but using the device of a spotter plane relaying infra red images to the commanding officers as well as to us allows us keep a reasonably clear picture of what is happening on the ground. This is no big star vehicle but some of the faces will be familiar, although it is often difficult to tell who is who. Scott helps us out by having the soldier's names written on their helmets. The cast do a stout job and characters are rounded enough to allow us to identify with them so that our own fear and horror is maximized. There's even a handful of American-speaking Brits.

While the events portrayed in Private Ryan were part of a huge and world wide conflict, those depicted here were contained within a 24 hour period and the film packages this neatly. Scott avoids any political context although there is a bit of flag waving at the end and one or to other films came to mind while I was watching it. Visually the film is far removed from the slickness of say, Gladiator, with the colours being toned down to give a sense of desperation and grim reality. There is a good deal of unpleasantness and a few wince inducing scenes, some of which have been critisised for being gratuitous but hang on, how can that be in a film which sets out to show combat in a way which John Wayne could never have visualised? War is hell; it's terrifying, confusing and very noisy and these elements are presented here to maximum effect even though the soundtrack, while effective enough, sometimes becomes intrusive.

Scott has had a few misfires in his career but that description would not be appropriate here even though I don't think that this is by any means his best work. Needless to say, once my senses had settled down, I found this to be a film which did not stay with me, as did Private Ryan. Perhaps this was because, in the history of conflict, this event was not so significant. Or perhaps the war-reality genre has run its course. Anyway, if you are a Ridley Scott fan and haven't seen this, grab yourself a brown bread sandwich, pop that DVD in and prepare for an assault on your senses.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning., 3 Aug 2002
By 
Theodore (New York, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black Hawk Down (2 Disc Set) [2002] [DVD] (DVD)
In one word, this movie is Stunning. It doesn't glamorize war or portray it in anyway to be anything but terrifying, bad and horrible. I do reccomend that you read the book as well though as it gives you alot of background information about the situation and individuals. The acting is great, the camera work is terrific the sound is crystal clear and the picture is very sharp. This movie is very well made and deserves all the praise it gets. You shouldn't think of this movie as an action movie to which you say "Cool!" to when watching it because that's not the kind of movie it was made to be. It shows how heroic every single one of those soldiers who fought on October 3rd and 4th, 1993 were. Soldiers like Randy Shughart and Gary Gordon who were willing to die trying to save Mike Durant and his crew must not be forgotten.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Hawk Down - not for the sqeamish, 17 Aug 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Black Hawk Down (2 Disc Set) [2002] [DVD] (DVD)
Based on a true story, Black Hawk Down tells the story of an American offensive against Somalian militia in 1993 that goes horribly, horribly wrong.
The offensive starts off with the Americans feeling pretty confident that it's only going to take them a few hours to beat the militia, however after one soldier falls out a helicopter (Orlando Bloom), which slows them down, and then a helicoptet is hit by a gun which causes it to make an emergency landing, our heroes aren't feeling quite so cocky. Needless to say, from there on things rapidly spiral down hill and an operation that was estimated to take a relatively short time is dragged out into a long, bloody guerilla battle.
I'd like to clarify that 'war movies' are not my prefered film genre and I wasn't that enthusiastic over watching this film to start with, however I still feel that it is fitting to award Black Hawk Down with five stars.
My main reason for this is that the film really affected me quite deeply, and there were many occassions where I was covering my eyes and genuinely fearing for these soldiers lives. It was even more upsetting when I realised that this actually happened in real life. I belive 19 soldiers died in the actual event, and there are a lot of deaths in Black Hawk Down, each one impacting more on the viewer than the last. Befittingly, there is also a lot of gore. I am incredibly sqeamish and found it impossible to watch some scenes without screwing my eyes shut, to avoid observing spurting blood, and covering my ears to block out the sound of anguished screaming. Be warned. This film is not for the faint hearted.
However, Black Hawk Down really manages to show how terrible war is, yet just as you're thinking 'how can these men do this?' one of the characters answers this question and thus there is a definite theme of loyalty and camaraderie in this film. It's stance on war is neutral.
There are plenty of characters in this film, especially considering what genre it is, however, the feeling you get is that Josh Hartnett's character, Evers, is the pivotal protagonist and Hartnett does a very good job in the role, although there is a very good supporting cast too.
Primarily, Black Hawk Down is an action/war film, but secondly it is a tragedy suited for both those who wish to absorb themselves in brilliantly shot action scenes and those who wish to be emotionally moved.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, superb, the BEST ACTION YOU WILL EVER SEE, 19 April 2004
By 
This review is from: Black Hawk Down (2 Disc Set) [2002] [DVD] (DVD)
Black Hawk Down was introduced pretty quietly. I remember seeing a trailer for this once or twice, but after that I never heard about it again until I saw it for myself.
Pursuing modern war experiences like the Desert Combat mod for Battlefield 1942 caused me to build-up an interest for modern war issues and history. I saw this in a shop for a low price and took a huge risk - I bought it on DVD, before I had even seen it.
I'll gladly say that in no way was I disappointed. The brilliant action, heroics and teamwork all contribute into making this one of my favourite movies of all time. Without doubt, it is the best modern day war experience you could possibly witness on a TV screen. The story is simple enough - set in Ocotber 1993, a highly-trained group of US soldiers, Task Force Ranger, are sent off to Mogadishu along with Delta Force to capture the lieutenants of a Somalian warlord. The operation is supposed to take an hour but upon deploying the troops a Black Hawk is shot down. This is a severe shock to the US as this was never anticipated. Within minutes, the US forces are surrounded by an entire city of armed millitia and a 15-hour firefight ensues. The special forces have to deploy convoys and rescue teams to get to the crash site of the Black Hawk and rescue any survivors, who are certain to be engaged by swarms of Somalis the moment they saw the bird go down. Rescue attempts become desperate as soldiers have to even advance to the crash site on foot as the convoy plan goes haywire.
The action is simply stunning. Dramatic, realistic gore and gripping, the outcomes of the firefight slowly unfold through a blaze of CAR-15s and RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades - you'll see their use a lot in the movie) as the US soldiers are engaged by thousands of millitia and have to fight their way through the city. Black Hawks providing air and sniper support. Littlebirds laying down strafing runs. The acting is brilliant and very effective at convincing the tragedy experienced by the soldiers. Close-ups are used to perfect effect. You'll watch the Rangers fast-roping out of Black Hawks onto the street. Then soon you'll witness the Littlebirds and troops on the ground engaging the Somalis with nightvision. It really feels like you're there with them, landing with them, fighting with them through the day, through the night and then through the early hours of the next morning as they fight for their lives.
There is practically no love story here but as you'll see there is absolutely no need for one. The script is kept to the soldiers interacting with each other over radios and plans for attack, with a back-up brief history told by Eversmann (Josh Harnett). In Black Hawk Down there is no real main character, although judging by their number of appearances you get the feeling it's Eversmann.
The DVD is excellent and the extra features and documentaries are well-worth watching. The director and film crew tell you how they had to film it in Morocco, and how they interviewed the actual soldiers who were there at the time (as this is based on a true story), and how the actors, to give the best impressions in the movie, were sent off for different styles of training. The Rangers (the guys transported in the movie by MH-60 Black Hawks) endured bootcamp where they were taught how to move and shoot like a Ranger. The D-boys (Delta Force, the guys transported in the movie by MH-6 Littlebirds) actors were trained how to set explosives and quickly take down buildings. The Black Hawk pilots were sent off to a flight academy where they learned how to fly helicopters from simulators, even instructed and briefed by the real Mike Durant. It is all very interesting and well-worth seeing.
But Black Hawk Down cannot be fully experienced until you have read the novel by Mark Bowden. For those of you who want to learn more about BHD and the characters, it is definitely worth reading and very enjoyable. But the book takes it from a different prespective to the movie. Focusing in more detail on the crew of Super Six Four and the men sent to rescue them, it seems that Black Hawk Super Six Four pilot Mike Durant is the main character, whereas in the movie Eversmann seems to be the leading character. The book is very gripping, taking on a variety of characters and progressively briefing the reader on that guy's background and social life.
Need I say more? This movie is awesome....go get it now....like I said, no need to see it first....and witness one of the greatest action movies you will have ever seen in your entire life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Example of Modern Movie Making, 10 Nov 2002
This review is from: Black Hawk Down (2 Disc Set) [2002] [DVD] (DVD)
Black Hawk Down is a stunning movie. Fantastic visual and sound effects. The movie is not the usual US beats the world sort of film. It depicts war as it is with no winners and many losers.
If Gung Ho is your fancy this movie is not for you. Great action and visuals.
My only criticism would be of the sometimes unclear dialogue, which does not help the viewer to understand the finer points of the film. Modern warfare often does not make sense and this movie shows the pointlessness of intervening in other countries internal conflicts.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an emotional perspective, 12 Jun 2003
By 
Mr R Smith (Renfrew, Renfrewshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Black Hawk Down (2 Disc Set) [2002] [DVD] (DVD)
Black Hawk Down is classic Ridley Scott a fine vision which portrays our finest and worst attributes yes it is very pro American but they did the right thing. The perception of American might is , in my opinion perfectly balanced by the reality of war politicians decide the cause,soldiers try and survive. This movie is so well shot and scripted that you are drawn into the conflict fully and I for one was moved to tears at many points in the story line. The bottom line is that you choose to stand up and be counted.
The best war movie ever.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great war film., 26 Feb 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Black Hawk Down (2 Disc Set) [2002] [DVD] (DVD)
I never saw this in the cinema but, having watched the similarly excellent DVD I wish I did. It is quite possibly the best modern war (i.e post WW2) film I have ever seen, as it has good action scenes and military know-how, and most impotantly manages not to be too annoyingly patriotic and morally self-indulgent, like many other films involving American troops. The fact that there is no real lead character (if anybody it's Josh Hartnett) is good, because it means we don't get any of the ridiculously egocentric acting that a Tom Cruise or somebody would have brought to the lead role; instead you see a myriad of different characters in different situations, all (or at least those who survive) meeting up at the end. Also, watch out for a minor role played by an amusingly crew-cut Orlando Bloom. The DVD itself has excellent picture and sound quality, the second disc has a solid selection of extras, and 9.99 (the price at time of writing) is peanuts for such a great film.
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Black Hawk Down (2 Disc Set) [2002] [DVD]
Black Hawk Down (2 Disc Set) [2002] [DVD] by Ridley Scott (DVD - 2002)
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