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Movie Review: ‘Lone Survivor’ A Heartfelt Homage to Real American Heroes

' Lone Survivor'


“You can die for your country; I’m gonna live for mine.”– Ben Foster as Matt Axelson

The US Seal team closes in on their target.
The US Seal team closes in on their target.
Universal Pictures
Live to Tell the Story
Universal Pictures

What’s good: The action and the gun battle are extremely intense!

What’s not good: It starts off a little bit too slowly.

What happened: It is said that the human body can only withstand so much before it begins to shut down. But what if you were able to push yourself harder than you ever thought possible? The elite members of the US Navy SEALs are trained to endure any situation in order to protect our country. On June 28, 2005, Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell was forced to put his intense training to the test. ‘Lone Survivor’ tells the tragic and true story of what happened to him on that fateful day.

Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch), and Matt Axelson (Ben Foster) are all members of the United States Navy SEAL team. They keep America safe by removing any threats to national security. These highly trained individuals can infiltrate any location and eliminate anyone. As these men prepare for their next mission, little do they know that it will be their last.

Shah (Yousuf Azami) is a viciously cruel officer in the Taliban army. He has been responsible for the gruesome deaths of several American soldiers. Operation Red Wings was created to remove him permanently. Luttrell, Dietz, Axelson, and Murphy must hike through rugged terrain to complete their mission. Once there, the team struggles with an impossible decision that ultimately seals their fate. Now all alone behind enemy lines, it is up to Luttrell to seek shelter and survive before the Taliban army takes him out.

The war in Iraq has unfortunately claimed the lives of thousands of American men and women over the years. These brave individuals were not just soldiers; they were somebody’s parent, spouse, and child. ‘Lone Survivor’ is a heartfelt film that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. The way these soldiers crash landed down the mountain was absolutely cringe-worthy. You will jump as you hear the sound of their bones breaking when they fall. The gun fight between the American soldiers and the Taliban was extremely violent and graphic. Director Peter Berg didn’t pull any punches here. Be prepared to see lots of blood in this one. The entire cast was amazing as they delivered a gritty and quite believable performance throughout. It is scary and quite humbling to know that this really happened too. The saddest part comes at the very end when you see pictures and video of the real men who tragically lost their lives in this battle. These images will stay with you long after the film has ended.

There are only two minor issues with ‘Lone Survivor’. The first is with its incredibly slow beginning. The first part of every film always takes the time to set up the characters and story. This film, however, does so in a way that is only marginally entertaining to watch. A little more detail about each of the main character’s personal lives would have helped mightily. The other problem was trying to figure out the story behind the deployment of the Apache helicopters. There is some issue preventing them from helping but you won’t really understand why. This was an important part of the story that needed more explanation.

Bottom Line: ‘Lone Survivor’ is an extremely violent film that is not for the faint of heart. It is an excellent film that is worth the price of admission.

Grade: A-

Rating: R Run time: 2 hours, 1 minute

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