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33 of 37 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 13 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 Sept. 2008 by Eddie


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33 of 37 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)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just short of a masterpiece., 30 Nov. 2014
The perfect gift for all movie enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

As much as this is a nerve-wracking, non-stop, high intensity war film that leaves you exhausted, you know that this is barely a whisper of the real thing, being there, being shot at and shooting, facing death on both sides.

But what this means more than anything is the movie comes as close as a normal movie can to the intensity of being there. Black Hawk Down is a director's nightmare, and Ridley Scott pulls it off, minute after minute, with lucidity. When the layering of images, the pace, and and the kinetic motion of the camera seem overwhelming, Scott (and his crew, notably Polish cinematographer Slawomir Idziak and Italian editor Pietro Scalia) make this completely absorbing and sensible. The cutting and the multitude of images interwoven for scene after scene would overwhelm most people, but there is becomes poetic and logical without ever becoming easy.

The acting? It sometimes seems to tip toward a hyped up, grand version of archetypes that we know and sometimes expect in war movies, but each of the many main men are intensely believable and realized. The music, too, might threaten to be manipulative, but it never draws attention to itself. And so on. Meaning only that this is a Hollywood movie, for sure, but a really really good one. It plays up the cinematic drama that makes movies movies (and not documentaries) but it is so thoughtfully and artistically considered, it rises above.

Is it a masterpiece? Well, it lacks what you might call utter originality or invention, or even insight. When you finish, you sigh with relief that you've survived, but there is no inner searching left to do. This is partly because this is the truth of war, based on real events. And it's intention is to submerse you in that world, and hold your head under until you are screaming for air.
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19 of 22 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kinetic, 6 Jan. 2010
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This is an excellent war film. Since Ridley Scott is involved the "look" is perfect; everything is under a glaring sun or stygian night, the place is alive with bullets, bodies, trash and decay. The music is marvellously moody with an African riff meeting a celtic response and a driving pace designed to lift your heart-beat. The cast are excellent once you've stopped wondering if everyone in the Rangers is British, Josh Hartnett really works hard at the role of the young NCO. Even when you think you've met a stereotype (Captain Steele) he turns out to have more layers. The film lacks the usual black and white moral quality of war films; the Somalis are portrayed as very brave people and even given a chance to explain their view, we, of course, root for our American chums but there's none of the third rate cartoon version of enemies that often occurs. It is almost non-stop action, giving one a good impression of what the real thing must have been like. Although it does not under-represent the blood and guts it is not (I think) a anti-war film; it is a hymn to innocence-cum-naivete and to bravery.
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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
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'A TREMENDOUS AND CONVINCING DRAMA', 4 Jun. 2014
By 
rbmusicman (U.K) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Black Hawk Down [Blu-ray] [2007] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
I'm sure that, if you have never watched this one, you'll have heard about it, the hype ? it's all true....this is one of the 'greats' in terms of war-movies.
It follows a raid by the 'U.S' to capture the infamous war lord who was over-seeing the misery of his own people in 'Somalia'
the raid, which is an account of true events, goes horribly wrong when a 'Black Hawk' is shot down.
This starts a chain of events which see's 'U'S' Ranger-units trying to get their comrades out of the danger zone, several units become pinned down as hundreds of heavily armed 'Somali's' attack.
It truely becomes a 'bloody'' affair.
The americans had entered the country in .an attempt to give the people stability, instead they walked into a hornets nest.
this is, truly, one of the best war films put onto the silver screen, with a countless number of convincing performances throughout the movie coupled with 'Great Picture and Sound Quality'
Great film to re-visit every now and then.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Portrayal of a Desperate Situation, 9 Aug. 2002
By 
A. Lee (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I wasn't a fan of war movies, having found them too much 'Hollywood' and not enough truth. Black Hawk Down doesn't fit this category at all. It's a visceral, non-stop, brutal account of what must have seemed like hell on earth. After seeing the movie I read the book and was both amazed and pleased to see that the movie did actually follow the book wherever possible, with little glamourisation added to appease the hollywood action movie buff.
For those of us fortunate enough to have never been in a situation like that, I can only guess that Black Hawk Down gives you some sense of what it must have been like. Barely halfway through the movie I found myself glancing at my watch, not through boredom, but because my heart had been steadily racing for the past 40 minutes and I wondered when the roller-coaster ride of action and horror was actually going to ease off. It doesn't, not until the very end and even then you're left with a sense that it's still waiting to pounce.
Black Hawk Down is not brutal or blood-thirsty just for the hell of it, it aims to depict the truth. Judging by the fact that the US military have apparently made the book compulsory reading for their soldiers, I think you can judge for yourself how accurate this movie is.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Hawk Down, 10 Sept. 2002
By 
Mr. M. Walton (Morden, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
If you could "stomach" the first 20 minutes if Saving Private Ryan then that gives you an idea of the what to expect. The term VISCERAL aptly applies to this film.
It describes the mission of the US Rangers and Delta Force to try and bring order to Somalia while stationed in Mogadishu ("Mog"). The actual mission of capturing 2 of Aided's senior advisors was a success - BUT extracting the soldiers from Mogadishu was another matter after 2 US Black Hawk choppers are brought down.
The film really captures the fog of the confined conditions of battle in the streets and buildings in Mogadishu, the soldiers just doing their duty (tryin' to stay alive) and get all the men back home. Though this film is not for the faint hearted it provides a graphic, gripping and emotional rollercoaster of a ride - WELL WORTH GETTING.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gives an unvarnished view into the ugly realities of war, 29 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Black Hawk Down [Blu-ray] [2007] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
As war movies go, I'd have to rate this the finest I've seen (and yes, that includes Saving Private Ryan). There are no sappy romantic arcs here, no uplifting happy endings to leave a warm glow of satisfaction in a viewer's heart, just 2 hours of unrelenting terror, chaos and brutality - about as close as one can get to experiencing what the reality must have been like from the safety of one's home. In short, if you're looking for a Michael Bay style yarn with lots of thrilling but oddly innocuous explosions, Black Hawk Down is most certainly not for you.

It would be unfair to say that this movie makes no political statements: they are there in abundance, even if they are made subtly enough not to beat the viewer over the head. Not least of these questions is why the politicians calling the shots expected things to turn out any better than they did, given the ridiculous constraints placed on the soldiers from the very outset of this mission.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLACK HAWK DOWN., 18 Oct. 2005
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This is a factual account of what happened in Mogadishu in 1993. To begin with, Ridley Scott is a great film maker. Visually, his films are always stunning to look at. This is no exception, with the whole film being beautifully shot, & the helicopters look great in flight.
More importantly, this film focuses on a very tragic event, & as such the film is amazingly realistic. The graphic violence is only to be expected, as this deals with modern combat. The issue of starvation caused by the rebel leader is movingly shown in the opening scenes of the film.
So this is really a documentary film with a very glossy sheen to it. & a good insight into an event that really happened & had tragic consequences for so many. Great film !!
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Black Hawk Down [Blu-ray] [2007] [Region Free]
Black Hawk Down [Blu-ray] [2007] [Region Free] by Ridley Scott (Blu-ray - 2007)
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