I know it has been a while since I have written a blog here, I have been meaning to for a while, and after seeing the movie Lone Survivor, I felt like this was just the inspiration that I needed.
Lone Survivor tells the true story of Operation Redwings, a Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan to capture a major leader of the Taliban, Ahmad Shah.
Here is the trailer for the movie:
The opening scenes of the movie shows the great hardships that must be endured and overcome by those who wish to become part of possibly the greatest fighting force in the modern world – The Navy SEALs.
WARNING: Spoilers beyond this point!
Skip to the end for my review.
The theatrical part of the film opens on the Navy SEAL team waking in the naval base, before receiving their orders. We get introduced to the team who will be taking part in the operation Lieutenant Michael ‘Murph’ Murphy, Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell, Matthew ‘Axe’ Axelson, & Danny Dietz, played by Taylor Kitsch, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, & Emile Hirsch respectively.
The next scene shows the hazing of petty officer Patton, as he has to dance for the rest of the SEALs, before reciting the Frogman’s Ballad:
Been around the world twice,
talked to everyone once,
seen 2 whales fuck, been to 3 world fairs,
and I even know a man in Thailand with a wooden cock,
I push more peeter, more sweeter and more completer,
than any other peeterpusher around,
Im a hard bodied hairy chested, rootin tootin shootin,
parachuting, demolition double cap crimping Frogman,
There aint nothin I cant do no sky too high, no sea too rough, no muff too tough,
learned a lot of lessons in my life, never shoot a large caliber man with a small caliber bullet,
I drive all kinds of trucks, 2bys, 4bys, 6bys,
and those big motherfuckers, that bend and go tshh tshh when you step on the breaks,
anything in life worth doing, is worth overdoing. moderation’s for cowards,
Im a lover, Im a fighter, Im a UDT Navy SEAL diver,
I wine, dine, intertwine, then sneak out the back door when the refueling is done,
So, if youre feeling froggy, then you better jump,
’cause this frogmans been there, done that and is going back for more.
The next few scenes detail the preparation for the mission and the 4 man team transported to the mountain range, then travelling to the the lookout point above the village where Shah is meant to be staying. However, due to lack of a good vantage point, they head around to another vantage point on a different side of the village. Unfortunately, there is no radio reception here, and they can’t check in, with their new position.
After setting up and waiting for night to fall, they decide to get some rest while Danny tries to re-establish contact with the base. Not long after they have settled in, a goat herder and his 3 sons stumble upon them,and the team capture and cuff them. After a heated debate about whether they should kill them and continue with the mission or let them go and head home, Murph as team leader decides to let them go as he feels the mission has been compromised. One of the sons runs as fast as he can back towards the village.
The team set off to the extraction point, hoping to make contact with command to set up the extraction. Meanwhile, back at the base, the command team are trying to get in contact with the team. Not long after the team headed back towards base, they get attacked by Shah’s men in the woods, they are surrounded and a major gunfight takes place.
After jumping off 2 cliffs, Danny Dietz, the worst off of the group gets left behind on top of the second cliff, he could no longer walk, and could barely move, he is killed by Shah’s commander Taraq (Sammy Sheik). Murph decides that the only way he can get a message out on his sat phone, is on the ridge up above them, a suicide mission, as that’s where the Taliban are holed up. Murph dies after multiple gunshots to the back, but is able to get a message out to command, they head out without Apache support (due to lack of resources).
Axe and Luttrell are still alive and are able to keep the Taliban at bay until the transport arrives, without the Apaches the first gets shot down by an RPG before more SEALs could drop in. Axe and Luttrell get seperated and after taking some shots to the body, Axe dies painfully possibly from blood in the lungs. An RPG hit throws Luttrell over another cliff, breaking his leg and pushing the bine through the skin. Exhausted, beaten and bleeding, Luttrell takes shelter in a small hollow, hidden from sight and falls unconscious.
The next day he awakes, and decides to set off in search of anything that wont try and kill him. After a few hours he finds a stream and dunks himself in the water. Upon surfacing he sees a man, Gulab, with 2 very young children, thinking them more Taliban, he pulls a grenade aqnd threatens them. The man turns out to be friendly, but with no english, is luckily able to convince Luttrell to come with him.
The man brings Luttrell to his village and,sends a man to the nearest US military base. The Taliban, Taraq and 3 others, come to the village and find Luttrell, Taraq takes him out to be beheaded, but Gulab with a handful of other villagers with AK 47s stop him and the Taliban threaten to come back in greater numbers. Later, after Luttrell falls unconscious, Gulab cleans his wounds and gives him some clean clothes.
The Taliban do return, and the villagers bravely fight them off for as long as they can, but are vastly outnumbered, some of the Taliban take off through the village in search of Luttrell, one finds him and almost kills him, but one of the children gives Luttrell a knife and he kills the man.
The Navy arrive to combat the Taliban, complete with a C130 gunship. They send the Taliban packing and are able to rescue Marcus Luttrell, however he is in bad shape thanks to the accumulated injuries and almost dies back at the base.
The movie ends with a tribute to all of those who fought and died during Operation Redwings.
I really enjoyed this movie, the interactions between the SEALs works quite well in the earlier parts of the movie, and despite their short time with us really lets us get to know them. The battle scene in the woods is well filmed and well staged, with the 4 SEALs surrounded and uising their training to stay alive. You can really feel the thumps & bumps when they jump the cliff and the deaths of Danny, Murph and Axe are not glorified nor are they overly gruesome and the reactions of the actors during the battle are as believable as far as I know.
I really applaud Peter Berg’s use of the SEALs training video, and of the tribute at the end of the movie, they show the real people, those who should be remembered as they gave their lives for a better world.
If you haven’t seen this movie, you should definitely watch it as soon as it comes out on DVD or VoD.