Based on the true story, Mark “Say Hello To Your Mother” Wahlberg stars as Marcus Luttrell – one member of a four person Navy SEAL team assigned in 2005 to sneak into Afghanistan and capture (or kill) a wannabe Taliban leader attacking US and Coalition forces to curry favor with Al-Qaeda. By definition, it’s already a dangerous mission, but this one is complicated even more by the rugged terrain they must enter, which inhibits radio transmissions and communications. Plus, at the least, these 4 men are outnumbered 200 to 4.
Unfortunately, everything that can go wrong does, as the team has to make a horrible decision when their location and presence is discovered, and they find themselves surrounded, with little chance of getting the military support they need due to the communications problems.
Can they find a way out?
Granted, the title is kind of a spoiler alert, but writer/director Peter Berg is able to captivate the audience with one of the most harrowing situations any of us ever could imagine, and crackling tension as we see it all developing before our eyes. Anyone watching has to be blown away by the amazing bravery of the real men who faced a fight 99.99% of us couldn’t even fathom, let alone survive, which leads to a movie full of action in Lone Survivor.
However, Berg doesn’t give us much of a script. We get plenty of statements about honor and duty, but it comes off as platitudes more than dialogue as Berg tries to tug at our heartstrings and patriotism. Plus, each guy’s personal situation back home or in their love life feels like elements to the formula.
Yet, don’t take any of that as a reason not to see Lone Survivor. Berg is a very good director, especially when it comes to action. The audience is thrown into shocking firefights, breathtaking developments and stunning situations the four must face together as they attempt to do whatever it takes to survive in the worst of circumstances.
Wahlberg and team also deserve great credit for the camaraderie and brotherhood they bring to the screen. This is the best movie co-stars Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch and Taylor Kitsch have had in years, and all show the ability to embody these characters as human beings, instead of overblown superheroes (even though I would nominate any of the four for superhero status after seeing what they faced).
Best of all, none of Lone Survivor feels like a celebration of killing. These four Navy SEALS are doing the job they have to, and we greatly appreciate the moral and ethical dilemma they face early in the struggle, which will make you proud that they served this country and made the decisions they did. This isn’t Die Hard. It’s real.
We even have a twist so spectacular, you wouldn’t believe it to be true if we didn’t already know this is a true story.
Lone Survivor is rated R for strong bloody war violence and pervasive language.