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Lone Survivor

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Scott Roberts
Lone Survivor
on Jan 21, 2014 at 11:49:08 pm

Premise: Four Navy SEALs (played by Mark Wahlberg, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch, and the only guy whose name wasn't surprisingly hard to spell, Ben Foster) get sent on "Operation Red Wings" in Afghanistan, a mission designed to assassinate a top Taliban leader in a remote mountain village. Then things go awry when they run into a trio of sheep farmers in the wilderness. When they let them go and not kill them, one of the turds immediately runs down and rats them out to the Taliban jerks, and the SEALs go under heavy attack. Seems like with our government's military spending, we should have turned this into DRONE Survivor. Am I right, folks?! No? Ok. Whatever. I'll just copy and paste that joke into my "Send to Jay Leno" Word document. Ya win some, ya lose some.


-I'm always impressed at how badass Navy SEALs are. I'm supposed to capitalize SEAL like that, right? Please don't hurt me...! (flinches) Sorry, sir. Anyway, these dudes get shot in the leg with a freakin assault rifle, and they're just like "Ouch, that sucks. (Throws grenade, blows up five dudes)". Meanwhile, I accidentally kick my toe against my office chair, and I'm down for the count for an hour.

-The action scenes are really good, and it kept me genuinely entertained enough to feel absolutely horrible by the time the credits rolled around and they showed photographs of all the people who died in the actual Operation Red Wings.

-Decent acting all around. Marky Mark even does his trademark wild-eyed-nose-flair yell a few times.

-Excellent beards.

-Great Sound Mixing and Sound Editing! Nice one on the nominations, Academy Awards! No, but seriously, the sound design is excellent and reasonably complex. It's actually noticeably good.

-And to continue the odd nature of a January release getting awards buzz, Lone Survivor has already *won* the Screen Actor's Guild Award (the Saggy Trophy?) for Best Stunt Ensemble. And deservedly so. I can never tell how much any movie nowadays uses CGI in their action scenes, but if I'm led to believe that most of the action in this movie was old school stunts, then they did a great job. Even though a couple of the scenes looked hilariously (and eerily) similar to that scene in Hot Rod where Andy Samberg keeps falling down the hill for seemingly forever.


-I really enjoyed the second act, which is essentially an hour-long gunfight; but then when that gets (kind of) resolved, I realized that the movie wasn't quite done yet. And then it became an issue where I was hoping that the movie would come to a close sooner than later, because I was getting somewhat burnt out.

-Perhaps too heavy in the "AMERICA IS THE BEST" message.

-I guess if you're going to put a spoiler in the title of the film, you might as well reveal which actor will be the lone survivor in the first scene? I guess...? I suppose we could just assume the biggest actor in the movie was going to be the survivor, but hey, maybe leave us a little room to wonder who is going to make it out of this alive? I know this is based on a book of the same name, but it became less of a story about how these people are going to survive this terribleness, and instead became a story about how each of the other guys are going to die. Here, I've come up with five less spoilery titles they could have used instead:

1. Operation Red Wings

2. Mission: Compromised

3. Four Guys, One Mountain

4. Act of Valor 2

5. The Last AfghaniStand

Final Thoughts: It's a better Peter Berg effort than Battleship. And it's basically Saving Private Ryan compared to any other January release this year.

7 out of 10

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Mike Cohen
Re: Lone Survivor
on Jan 22, 2014 at 12:34:59 am

This was written up in our local rag last week, because one of the SEALs depicted was from a local town here in Western CT.

I believe I read that they shot this movie in a part of the US that closely resembles Afghanistan. Actually I know where I read that, right here on the COW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They did some neat effects work on a limited budget as movies go.

Mike Cohen

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Mark Suszko
Re: Lone Survivor
on Jan 22, 2014 at 3:43:25 pm

"I believe I read that they shot this movie in a part of the US that closely resembles Afghanistan."

Stop beating up on Detroit, already.

Interesting question about how hard you work to hide who the lone survivor is. You bringing this up reminded me that I expected Burt Reynolds to be the survivor in "Deliverance".

SOmetimes, it's not important to keep the audience guessing who's last; it's more important to have the audience identify with the character and feel what they feel, learn what the character learns.

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