Lone Survivor is the film adaptation of U.S. Navy HM1 (Hospital Corpsman 1st Class) Marcus Luttrell's experience with SEAL Team 10, and the failed Operation Red Wings on 28 June, 2005.
As a lover of fast-paced, action packed, explosive war movies, this title really spoke to me. As a lover of actual story-telling and character development, meh.
First things first, Marcus Luttrell does bare some resemblance to Mark Wahlberg, and though I love this guy from films like The Basketball Diaries, and The Fighter where his South Boston attitude and accent propelled the story and the characters he was portraying, when he's trying to portray a Texan, it just doesn't click with me.
It's hard to believe that Wahlberg is this guy. He does a great job at accurately pinning his personality, and I guess he does look like him, so that helps the illusion, but it's Wahlberg! (Okay, I'll keep going, but I take a serious issue with this.)
Anyway, Lone Survivor is also filled with discrepancies from the documented account in the book. For example, Luttrell says that after being shot, he was paralyzed from the waist down and had to crawl seven miles for water and sanctuary. Wahlberg just keeps on going.
We have to remember here that movies adapted from books are adaptations of the books; they're not going to be exactly alike. The screenplay, and what's portrayed physically is different than what we're going to experience in the hardcover pages of any story.
Still, the truth is often more interesting than the dramatization and theatrics. While I loved Saving Private Ryan, for example, the true story about how the surviving brother was forced to go back, and unknowing to everyone else, another had been held prisoner in Japan, is an untold masterpiece that would've really captivated an audience in a much bigger way than any of the action sequences including the award-winning Omaha Beach Landings at the opening sequence.
Back to Lone Survivor, the same applies here. The director used a lot of this violence and dramatized action to make the story being told more impactful. (Is that a word? My spell check is picking it up.)
The audience probably would've been even more so if there had been more character development. When you kill off a character on screen, normally the emotional response is triggered because we're made to care about this fictional scripted portrayal of someone. I didn't really get that vibe looking onto them.
On a positive note, however, the action sequences were really bigged up, and that is something that will interest the majority of men that convinced their wives and girlfriends to come see it with them this weekend.
Every guy loves a good war film. Admit it, at one point or another the old WW2 and Vietnam flicks both moved and interested you. (And immediately made you thankful you didn't enlist right after high school. No? Just me?)
Overall, in spite of everything, I have to give Lone Survivor a cold steel 5/5, and that much because it's based on a true story. Based on, but still, the fact that these events (to some degree) actually happened, make it that much cooler to see. These are real men that survived something incredible, and while we don't get a great look at who they were inside, that still should make it stand out against the scripted garbage that's flown out of Hollywood in recent years.
While it's definitely a great action movie, the high-minded goals to make it something of a lesson being taught, or whatever commentary the director had in mind, fall short for me. In the end, what you see is what you get; lots of explosive gunfire, and yelling. Classic war/action film, but you won't get much more than that.