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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary and harsh movie that sticks in the memory
This is a complex film to review, because there are a few factors involve that bias the creative influences and the critics' reception, so for those who just want to know if it's any good, I'll cut to the chase: Is it any good? Yes. But for I'd strongly recommend you ignore the age rating and don't allow anyone under 18 to watch it.
For those who are interested in a...
Published on 3 Aug. 2011 by Benminx

versus
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Terrific to see Renny Harlin back doing what he does best
I've been looking forward to seeing this since I heard about it on IMDB. Originally titled 'Georgia', this war-thru-the-eyes-of-journalists drama shares the same DNA as 'Salvador' and 'The Killing Fields'. There are some very good things about this film, 1) It is beautifully shot on location in Georgia, completely belieing it's meagre $20 million budget (it looks ten...
Published on 27 Jun. 2011 by Mister Ewan


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary and harsh movie that sticks in the memory, 3 Aug. 2011
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This is a complex film to review, because there are a few factors involve that bias the creative influences and the critics' reception, so for those who just want to know if it's any good, I'll cut to the chase: Is it any good? Yes. But for I'd strongly recommend you ignore the age rating and don't allow anyone under 18 to watch it.
For those who are interested in a fuller review, read on: (Don't worry, no spoilers here).
Director Renny Harlin is often dismissed as a hack by critics, but let's not forget he's directed some of the most exciting action pics ever made, including the terrific 'Die-Hard 2' and the astounding 'The Long Kiss Goodnight'. However, he's prone to inconsistency, and even those films had their flawed moments, including a cringe-worthy syrupy ending tagged onto the back of Die Hard 2. He also directed the disappointing 'Cleaner' and the god-awful 'Driven'.
So it's a relief to say that this is his best film in 10 years.
The opening is terrifying - the kind of visceral gut-punch that started 'Scream', and Rupert Friend does a great job of portraying a war reporter who has conquered his trauma externally, but still carries the scars in his heart.
Dragging himself and loyal buddy cameraman Sebastian back into the firing line, they set off for Georgia to document the rumblings about a possible Russian invasion, but before they can even get into the supposed danger zone, all hell breaks loose and they find themselves roped into helping a local girl find her family, for reasons personal and professional. They end up in a small rural town, and one war atrocity captured on camera later they're on the run from an army of mercenaries sponsored by the Russian military intent on stopping the footage from getting out.
I was expecting fairly 'by-the-numbers' stuff here, but was constantly surprised. The film is full of unexpected local colour, and isn't afraid to throw in some slightly unexpected behaviour to try to confound the typical war movie cliches. We're treated to a very elaborate and colourful Georgian wedding reception, and more complex villains than normal. We also get a political point of view from the panicked 'South Ossetians' in their capital, courtesy of Andy Garcia as their leader, and an almost unrecogniseable Dean Cain (fairly chubby) as an American political advisor.
The real stars are Friend, giving a complex and nuanced performance as a damaged and angry man, made even more determined to get the truth out by his history, and Richard Coyle, who brings terrific humanity to his role and reflects a combination of deep professionalism and real fear at the situation they're plunged into. Val Kilmer is okay but pointless in a role anybody could have played, Rade Serbedizja does 'rent-a-villain' pretty well, but his Leiutenant (played I believe by Mikheil Gomiashvilli) is superb - a genuinely terrifying and brutal presence covered in tattoos and with red-rimmed dead eyes. Responsible for most of the atrocities in the film, he makes an utterly believable monster - human, casual and detached.
The film makes a point in its opening credits that journalists have suffered many casualties in recent conflicts, and you really do get the sense that while there used to be a certain code of honour about not killing them, nowadays it's been abandoned and you really feel the sense of danger here.
The fact that the film is based (loosely) on real events lends a great deal of gravity and shock value to the action, and although he's known for fluffier fare Harlin pulls no punches with his depictions of the callous cruelty and barbarism of the invading Russians and their cold-blooded mecenaries. The gore and violence are breathtaking in their ferocity and definitely not for the weak-stomached. Children are shown with their legs freshly blown off, old women are tortured on camera. It's sickening stuff. But this is a very angry film, rivalling it's hero for determination, and while it feels very one-sided, at least it's honest about being so. Let's not forget that Harlin is Finnish - a race not without their own issues with the Russians, and the film was co-financed by Georgia.
What may surprise people however, is that somehow Harlin has managed that most difficult of feats: - he's made a very tense and exciting movie, where the action is fast, explosive and frightening, somehow without diluting the seriousness and point of the message.
The Russians come out of this looking terrible - painted as a bunch of monstrous liars who hired killers to try to inflict genocide on the South Ossetians and then cried self-defence in the international arena. The EU come out of it looking hamstrung and ineffective. And the rest of the world comes out looking disinterested and heartless, more interesting in the Beijing Olympics than widespread slaughter.
It's clearly a polemic against the Russians and a cry for international attention. How much that affects your enjoyment of the film will depend on you.
As it stands it's a terrifying, brutal, gory, upsetting and adrenaline packed thriller with a lot of military action and a lot of human emotion.
And the end-credits, packed with several interviews with traumatised survivors of the war, are heartbreaking.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The First Casualty of War is the Truth" - Hiram Johnson., 14 Jun. 2011
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Tommy Dooley (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 5 Days of War [DVD] (DVD)
That is the initial message of this new film from Renny Harlan - famous for directing `Die Hard 2'. That would have normally put me off but I thought the subject looked worth a watch. This tells of the story of two journalists who worked together in Iraq where they were rescued from an insurgent fire fight by some Georgian UN Peace Keepers. They formed a bond with the captain.

So when war was about to break out in the newly non Soviet state of Georgia, they went in to tell the story. This is based on actual events, and in that I take it they mean the actual five days war that took place when Russian forces invaded Georgia after allegedley trumped up allegations of Georgian aggression against South Ossetia. The tale of the journos is a bit too contrived to be totally believable.

I do not want to give any plot spoilers but there are a few holes, that are mainly used to keep the tension well ramped up. The action scenes are frequent and bloody. There is the depiction of wanton murder, brutality, theft and rape. The action is where this film scores, it is done very realistically, with the help of some CGI for the big ticket items, no-one wants to blow up an entire village, for example.

The journalists get mixed up with the locals and realise that sometimes merely observing is not an option. This then is a rollicking actioner. It stars Rupert Friend (`The Young Victoria') and Richard Coyle who you might remember from `Prince of Persia'. There is also a part for Andy Garcia and even Val Kilmer puts in an appearance as another journalist. The language is all English with some Russian and everything is translated on screen by the players so no nasty sub titles.

This is a bit Hollywooded up, but I found it fairly good, it gives you what you expect, but a tad too many coincidences. If you take a step back and see this as an action movie, that is trying to highlight what happened during that short vicious war; then you will enjoy the journey. It should be lauded for what it is trying to do, it will no doubt be criticised for being anti Russian - that is for the individual to decide. It has a 15 rating and a run time of 109 minutes so for an evenings not so light entertainment, plot holes aside, this is a fairly promising choice. If journalists at war is your sort of thing you may also like the much more realistic and `true' account of the Australians in East Timor, in the film `Balibo' Balibo [DVD]- highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good film., 8 July 2014
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This review is from: 5 Days of War [DVD] (DVD)
arrived ok. well packed. good film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Two hours of dodgy accents but one hell of a film, 22 Jun. 2011
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J. Morris "Josh" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 5 Days of War [DVD] (DVD)
5 Days of War (or even August as it's known outside of the UK & US) is the dramatised story of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war told from the perspective of two veteran war correspondents; Thomas Anders (Rupert Friend - The Kid) & his faithful cameraman Sebastian Ganz (Richard Coyle - Prince of Persia). Whilst they are old-hands at reporting conflict having covered the Iraq War, this one turns out to have no rules whatsoever; when they become privy to an act of genocide by the Russian army, the Russians want nothing more than to suppress the truth about this 'invasion' and stop them getting their report out. Will they manage to make their broadcast? At what cost?

This is a fairly weighty film and it should be as it is dramatising an actual conflict. The characters are well played and Andy Garcia deserves a special mention as the Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili (despite a rather dubious accent at several points) he plays the part with verve & emotion, really invoking compassion for the Georgian situation as they are effectively invaded whilst the rest of the world buries their heads in the sand.

The cinematography is incredible, as Sukhoi's bomb villages and Hind's strafe the towns; there is so much military hardware in 5 Days Of War it often feels disturbingly authentic, with hundreds of infantrymen, tanks, helicopters and planes advancing on the main characters it really invokes a sense of fear & tension - absolutely fantastic in places. Where 5 Days Of War falls down was attempting to mash a love story into the carnage of the war; Anders falls for a local woman (Emmanuelle Chirqui - who surprise, surprise, studied in the US and resultantly speaks perfect English with a rather suspect Georgian accent) and then makes a series of stupid decisions regarding her welfare, even though he met her all of 3 minutes ago.

Extra Content: There is a series of interviews with the Cast & Crew, filming on location in Tbilisi, Georgia and also a B-Roll of additional footage that didn't make the final theatrical cut.

All in all, a great film that details the horrors & injustice of war whilst really makes you feel for the characters. Recommended for a serious, but completely enthralling saga.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good show, 3 Mar. 2015
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Clipper 314 (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 5 Days of War [DVD] (DVD)
Interesting and pretty good throughout... based on real events the characters play out their roles well so worth watching and learning a bit more about the troubled regions of the world.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Terrific to see Renny Harlin back doing what he does best, 27 Jun. 2011
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This review is from: 5 Days of War [DVD] (DVD)
I've been looking forward to seeing this since I heard about it on IMDB. Originally titled 'Georgia', this war-thru-the-eyes-of-journalists drama shares the same DNA as 'Salvador' and 'The Killing Fields'. There are some very good things about this film, 1) It is beautifully shot on location in Georgia, completely belieing it's meagre $20 million budget (it looks ten times this). 2) The battle and action scenes are incredibly well done, Renny Harlin is a master at action and it is really great to see him back in this genre. 3) There are some really effective sections, in particular a so-tense-you'll faint sequence where the heroes and some refugees hide in an orchard, an interrogation scene, and a harrowing missile attack on a wedding party. Unfortunately what lets this film down is a poor script, some horribly hackeneyed dialogue "Your one crazy mother f***er" says Richard Coyle's character, made all the more cringeworthy because he's English, and a softening of the edges (I think to make it more sellable back in the US where I believe it's getting a theatrical release).

I think this film will put Renny Harlin back on the map, his career has suffered in the last ten years, reduced to reshooting an Exorcist prequel and the godawful 'Driven' for example. But I think there was probably a much harder, rawer film that he originally intended to make, and ended up softening and commercialising the final version. Not that this is a bad thing, but as with his big hits 'Die Hard 2' and 'Cliffhanger' you can spot the 'studio exec / committee notes' bits a mile away.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 28 Dec. 2014
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A very sobering film, very well filmed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my review of a film, 19 Aug. 2013
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This is a great film, combining action, with a little romance. good tension, an interesting story based upon true events. thats my short but sweet review, well worth a purchase imho.
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2.0 out of 5 stars slow, 7 Feb. 2015
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boring predictable and slow
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does art immitate life? Probably not..., 14 Aug. 2011
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T (England, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 5 Days of War [DVD] (DVD)
Well, when I say "art" I mean "a movie 'based on' actual events." One has to wonder just how much licence the director and writer take with the "facts" to spice up their narrative and support their central character story with movies like this. A recollection of the news reports of the time and five minutes with Google supports the back story - the Russians did rumble south and did kill all sorts of people they perhaps shouldn't have - but such is life. The central premise - that a couple of journalists will, whilst being a bit too Hollywood gung-ho, do anything and everything to get the story out (in this case, video proving Russian war crimes) stretches credulity a little bit but is still plausible (I mean, if someone aimed an AK at my head I'd tend to become very compliant. However, that's making life a bit too easy for our hero hack). The picture is crisp and there's action a-plenty, with genuine Russian tanks, APCS, helicopters and infantry weapons in large quantities zipping around all over the place making lots of loud bangs and keeping the SFX boys very busy. The plucky Georgians, having made overtures to the west and cosied up to the EU, have plenty of NATO kit, including Humvees, VBLs, M-16s and 66mm anti-tank rockets. How much of this is true-to-life I'm not sure but it paints the right picture and doesn't spoil things. Apropos of nothing to do with the movie, one has to wonder whether, had Georgia been part of the EU, the Russians would have expanded their "peacekeeping" duties in the two disputed areas over the borders into Georgia proper.

Setting the foundations of the relationships between the main characters in Iraq, some years later their lives and paths cross again and entwine as the situation rapidly goes downhill in Georgia. It's a good story well told, with a moral dimension - and the inevitable romance - that comes together nicely and didn't have me deciding to go and rummage in the 'fridge halfway through like some movies that look really good from the trailer, packaging and back-cover synopsis do. I liked it more than I thought I might.

It also provides an object lesson as to why a fast, heavily armed Mi-24 Hind is a far better medevac option than a lumbering Chinook with a minigun mounted on the ramp and not much else!
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5 Days of War [DVD]
5 Days of War [DVD] by Renny Harlin (DVD - 2011)
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