You Will Be Locked In Eternal Combat With Your Desire To Sleep During ‘Lone Survivor’
At the beginning of Black Hawk Down (2001), we meet the guys: The Typist Guy who wants to see some action, The True Believer Guy who is in charge for the first time, The Brand New Guy who doesn’t know what the fuck he is doing, and so on. Even though these guys are part of the elite Rangers, they are all Scrappy Underdogs, especially compared to the Delta badasses they are housed with. We like these guys. We care about these guys.
In contrast, ut’s difficult to empathize with any of the bearded, taciturn supermen of Lone Survivor. They can’t be afraid because they are Navy Seals, so there is no real emotional hook. Mark Wahlberg and Emile Hirsch have both been charismatic presences in other movies, but this time they are trapped behind their beards and sunglasses, and fail to connect.
The movie opens with a Navy SEAL training montage that will be familiar to any fan of Surviving the Cut.
Next stop is Bagram, Afghanistan, for the obligatory “getting to know you” part of the movie. One guy’s wife is redecorating the house. One guy’s wife wants a horse. And that’s all we know about these guys, and it’s not really enough to humanize them. There’s a new guy, but he doesn’t play much of a role in this movie. Eric Bana (from Black Hawk Down!) is there, and maybe the movie would’ve been better if he had more screen time, but he doesn’t.
The action kicks off when our four heroes are dropped off in a part of Afghanistan that looks like the Sierra Nevada mountains. Things go downhill quickly, like they always do, and there are some decent fighting scenes, but not much suspense. Given the title of the movie, you pretty much know how things are going to turn out. The pain at least looks real, and there probably won’t be many accusations that Lone Survivor glamorizes war, not after seeing all the blood and snot dripping off the actors’ faces.
Shorter review: re-watch Black Hawk Down (again!), or take another look at Act of Valor (2012), last year’s similarly uncharismatic, but action-packed look at Navy SEALS. But don’t pay full price for this mediocre twaddle.