Move Review: Special Forces (R)

Special Forces is a 2011 French film depicting a French special forces unit that is air dropped into Pakistan to rescue a war correspondent who has been captured by a volatile and violent militia. The mission goes awry and the spec ops force is thrust into a protracted running battle with the militia forces.

The film stars Djimon Hounsou as the leader of the special forces unit. I am a fan of Hounsou’s, so this attracted me to the film immediately.

Co-starring is Diane Kruger as the captured war correspondent. While she has acted in several films I have seen in the past, she was not a name I recognized – but after this film I will keep my eyes open for future films in which she acts, as I thought she did a great job alongside Hounsou.

Unfortunately, Kruger was kept in the somewhat stereotypical “helpless female” role. While the male soldiers stand fast she scurries for the rocks and even when given a gun never seems able to use it. She is portrayed as being strong in character – but still, the overall “helpless female” stereotype is reinforced rather than undermined.

Raz Degan also shares the limelight as the strangely westernized leader of this Taliban militia. There are several aspects of the story regarding his character which are left underdeveloped and I think another film could be made dealing only with his character and what brought him to the place of leading this militia.

We have Gettysburg for the American Civil War, Saving Private Ryan for World War II, We Were Soldiers for Vietnam, and Black Hawk Down for Somalia as semi-defining films for each war. Special Forces could have been this for Afghanistan/Iraq/Anti-Terror, but due to its fictional storyline, it falls short of comparison with the films mentioned above.

The film contains a fairly constant stream of violence and some outbursts of profane language. The film is primarily in French, but English plays a significant role as well.

Overall, I’d give the film 8/10. A good film to watch with some thought provoking content at various junctures…but this is not most people’s opinion of the film. It appears to have been largely panned by the critics…so, take my recommendation with a grain of salt. I’ve embedded the trailer for the film below.

 

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