Archive for the 'Post-WW2' Category

24
Apr
11

three Kings

When I received this one through the post from Lovefilm, I have to admit that I knew nothing at all about this film.  Not even which war it was set in.  Thus armed, I had the most enjoyable episode of confusion in this film tour so far.

After what begins with the feeling of an armed picnic, the American soldiers come into contact with the harsh reality of warfare.

Set during the Gulf War (the first one- the less morally unacceptable one), Three Kings takes place after the war was supposedly over and Kuwait liberated.  After a brief introduction it looked like I was just settling down to see a comedy, maybe laughing at the screwball japes of bored GI’s for a couple of hours.  Then it all went a bit Kelly’s Heroes, with a rogue expedition setting off into enemy territory to help itself to some gold that was stolen from it’s previous owners- in this case the Kuwaiti government by the Iraqis.  And then a dose of real life injected into the mix- reprisal attacks by the Iraqi army against civilians who rose up against Saddam Hussein.  An unexpected moral conundrum for those who hitherto were on a treasure hunt, and are now looked to for support.

Three Kings is shot in a variety of styles which seems to be as conflicting as the morals that the characters struggle with.  Action-packed shootouts lie on the same film reel as crazy acid-trip visual sequences.  The film does not beat about the bush, going straight for the historical jugular at several points, even if there an overly cosy ending.  Put it all together and it seems to work though.

7/10

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10
Apr
11

7. Black Hawk Down

Right then, long time, no review.  Have watched several, just need to put ’em up here.  This is the last fim that not only appears in the top 100 War films list, but also in my personal collection.  Thank goodness for Lovefilm, eh?

I was looking forward to rewatching this one- for too long it had been languishing at the bottom of my DVD pile (see the second review entry on Troy for details of my archiving system).  This film brings us into what we call in wargaming circles the modern period- anything after World War 2.  Somalia is in the grip of a civil war that is butchering it’s civilian population.  The Americans are backing up the UN by attempting to apprehend the Warlord in charge of the capital, Mogadishu; the bulk of the film is based upon a real-life raid into the city.

The focus is always primarily on the americans and their viewpoint. I gather though that there were some Somalians in the city at the time of the raid.

I must have been rather impressionable when I first bought this film around 9 years ago.  This time around I quickly got kind of bored by the preliminary messing around, justifying America’s presence, clumsily establishing the characters and trying to establish a sense of urgency.  The scenes introducing the various soldiers is almost painful to watch- banter, calls home, boasting, discussions about their families- you can actually tell who is going to die and what their last words are going to be.

Where this film shines is in its realisation of the combat.  All of a sudden it becomes obvious where the budget to this film went.  So realistic is it that the actors actually look scared in the middle of it.  The pace doesn’t let up, and as the mission goes from bad to worse you can still get a rough idea as to what’s going on.

The need to protect crashed helicopters, or rather their occupants, becomes the main problem for the Americans after the raid starts.

Alas, during the course of the rest of the film, the earlier scenes come back to haunt the screen, as soldiers lay dead or dying.  The trouble is that if you didn’t buy into the cardboard cutout characters earlier, you really can’t care less if they die now.

Yes, we get it. Despite going through hell and back, the bond of brotherhood that these brave young men share will never be broken. Enlist now and fight for YOUR country.

The film is a two-hour advert for the US Army Rangers, who in real life were put in a situation they should not have been in, but have been given this lousy piece of film reel to commemorate those of them that died.

2/10