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A lot of anticipation preceded this film. Its public announcement both in the news and through trailers stirred a massive amount of interest. But, I wondered, “Would the film live up to anyone’s expectations?”
It is a very good movie well worth seeing. But, prepare yourself. This true story will affect you deeply.
On the 11th Anniversary of the unprovoked attack on the United States’ World Trade Center and Pentagon, hostile forces attacked the US diplomatic center and CIA “Annex” compound. A small band of 6 CIA contractors made up of former Navy SeALS, Marines and Army Rangers take the initiative and do all they can to defend the Americans who are in the crosshairs of the terrorists. These 6 faced overwhelming odds yet managed to fend off the waves of attacks.
A historical fact that left me mystified at the outset of the story is that the USA has over 200 diplomatic outposts of one nature or another around the world. Of those there are around a dozen that are classified as severely hostile and dangerous. The two most dangerous are both in Libya: Tripoli and Benghazi.
Every other country had pulled its diplomatic teams out of Benghazi. The USA was the only country with a remaining contingency. It was a city torn by military factions and violent extremists yet its two sites were woefully under-protected.
When the US Ambassador to Libya came to town, he had a protective team of a mere two US combatants. The compound was primarily protected by local police and native personnel who ran away as soon as the attacks began. No one trusted these local hirelings so there was no surprise when they betrayed their clients and ran for their lives.
As the story developed, the dangers of a planned attack showed heroism in action. No help was forthcoming but the few did not hesitate to put their lives in harms way to protect those who were in danger. Even in the face of administrative fear and hesitation, the 6 fought off wave after wave of terrorist combatants.
Respect for the courage of the few Americans skyrocketed. Sadness sank into fearful desperation when the US government failed to send in the resources necessary to render necessary aid to the brave 6. Those two words make up my summary of how this story affected me: respect and sadness.
photo credit: film promotion release poster
This is not just another major disaster film. At first I was nervous that it would be and the loud music, sound effects would overshadow any human interest story. Or I did not want to see a movie that portrayed a half a dozen lives of strangers suddenly thrown together and becoming friends after surviving a terrible ordeal.
My dubious skepticism was allayed from the start. During the first fast-paced sequence, The Rock did not disappoint me. That is when I concluded that this was NOT a disaster flick rather it was an action film.
Ok, I admit also that I am a Dwayne Johnson fan. When a man can look fit, strong and act also, that is a winning combination. He is an action film hero.
The opening scene is nitro. Maneuvering a helicopter into a narrow ravine in order to rescue a girl trapped in a car that is about ready to plunge into the valley below is harrowing. Yet, the “cool” in our hero’s demeanor sets the stage for the movie.
Special effects add to this sensational rescue. It is a nail-biter and very satisfying. Then, the real story starts.
Yes, the big screen gives you your money’s worth on the unforgettable scenes. Those who know the city of San Francisco wrench with the destruction of favorite sites. It adds to the personal nature of the film.
The common fear of the Central California region plays right into the hands of the movie director’s takes. Intense moments are eased with family dynamics that are wonderfully portrayed by the talented cast. Some times it is very clever dialogue. At other times it is the interchange between and among the actors.
Rescue and close calls are all a part of this story. Iconic views of the city give empathy. Overcoming past demons gives strength for current obstacles.
Can an action star portray the deep devotion that pours out of a father’s soul? Can a man stout with muscle and reputation let his love for a child be his drive? Johnson did all of this in this film.
Carla Gugino was excellent. Alexandra Daddario was perfect for her role. Paul Giamatti was a winner. Art Parkinson was a memorable feature. Will Yun Lee showed great promise and was dispatched far too early.
It was a very entertaining film. I liked it so much, it might be on the list to see again on the big screen theater. What did you think?
photo credit: google image