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Movie Review: Lone Survivor

Lone survivor movie still - Mark Wahlberg as Marcus Luttrell facial injuries

'Lone Survivor' is as realistic as 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare' game in Hardened difficulty mode


A film based on true story basically about a team of soldiers who went on a mission to capture or kill a Taliban leader named Ahmad Shah but failed and found themselves surrounded by dozens of heavily armed enemies. You might've read of the praises on its realism from earlier reviews but I disagree to a certain extend. Some of its illogical and convenient sequences also made me wonder if it really did happen the way it's depicted, and after doing a simple research online, I was proven right to have doubted. Lone Survivor is heavily dramatised.

In the combat scenes, it really does look quite realistic... until every single Taliban soldiers act like a bunch of idiotic video game bots. They'd fire their weapons out in the open leaving themselves exposed to be shot at, they'd charge towards their target enemies as though they're not armed with a gun (and get themselves killed), they'd sneak behind their enemies and not attempt to fire until the enemies notice that they're there, and there's even a specific scene to indicate that they can't aim for nuts. Also the couple of illogical sequences I mentioned (click on "Show Spoiler" to read):
The beginning shows that Ahmad Shah (Yousuf Azami) goes into a village, accuses one of the non-hostile Afghans for helping Americans, drags him out to a log and chops his head off with a machete as punishment. Later on in the movie, the protagonist Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) is saved by an Afghan named Gulab (Ali Suliman) and is brought to the same village. When he is found by Shah, Luttrell's dragged to the same log (blood stains can be seen on it) but this time the people from the village fights back. Why the heck didn't they do that when their own people were dragged there? When the US military helicopter comes to Luttrell's rescue, they just simply fired at everyone at the village without knowing who's who. Gulab survives and doesn't seem to be upset with that. Earlier, there's also a scene where Luttrell requests for a knife to remove the bullet from his knee but the Afghan kid brought him a chicken. Gulab then comes bringing a knife, but thinks that he wants to cut the chicken's head off and almost did so without hesitating. This is just hilarious, was it Peter Berg's (director-writer of the film) intention to portray Afghans as a bunch of idiots? On additional note, none of the scenes mentioned on this paragraph actually happened in the real story.



However, take nothing away from the movie's intensity, which didn't fail to entertain me, particularly with how stupid Afghans are portrayed. The skillful cinematography created some magical moments, led by some pretty good performance by the main cast. Actually, Mark Wahlberg is the least impressive one among the four but I'd like to believe it's because his titular role was less demanding than the others.

Try not to compare Lone Survivor to the other great war films like Saving Private Ryan (1998), Black Hawk Down (2001) or Zero Dark Thirty (2012), and you'd likely enjoy the ride. If you're wondering why the film's score on Rotten Tomatoes is so high, well consider the fact that the score was aggregated from mostly reviews by American critics.

Movie Lone Survivor vs. Real Lone Survivor - Navy SEAL team 10 operation red wings - still picture

*As respect to these honourable brave men, no memes were created for this review.

What I would've named the film: "An Excuse to Make Fun of Afghans"

Censorship in Malaysia: I didn't watch it at the cinema so I can only guess what might be cut for local screenings, which are the gazillion F-words and the highly graphic, upclose brutal sequences.

Second opinion: My girlfriend thought that it wasn't as boring as she expected. We both laughed at the dumb parts of the movie mentioned above.

Verdict: Entertaining to watch, especially if you're into war flicks and games, but it's only realistic to a certain extend so try to leave your brains at the door.

Rating: 3 / 5

Lone Survivor movie poster in malaysia Based on: Nonfiction book "Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of Seal Team 10" by Marcus Luttrell & Patrick Robinson
Rated: 18
Genre: War action drama, biography
Running Time: 122 minutes
Director-writer: Peter Berg
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Eric Bana, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch

Synopsis: Based on the failed June 28, 2005 mission "Operation Red Wing." Four members of SEAL Team 10, were tasked with the mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader, Ahmad Shahd. Marcus Luttrell was the only member of his team to survive.

Malaysia Release Date: January 15th 2013
Local Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Malaysia
Studio(s): Emmett/Furla Films, Film 44, Herrick Entertainment, Envision Entertainment, Spikings Entertainment, Weed Road Pictures, Closest to the Hole Hollywood Studios Holdings



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