Smart producers will capitalize on a national feeling by producing a propaganda film. Jerry Bruckheimer is one of the most famous producers in Hollywood, bringing us such films as Pirates of the Caribbean, Armageddon, and Black Hawk Down. He’s now produced a patriotic war film, hoping to capitalize on the nationalist sentiment sweeping the US.
12 Strong is the true story of the Horse Soldiers who were 12 Americans that first (re) invaded Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The small force was the first incursion by American forces, and thus had little funding and backing from the military, who forced the expedition to team up with an Afghan warlord in order to face the Taliban.
The film has a surprising cast of Hollywood stars, Chris Hemsworth is cast as the team’s leader, and there are also appearances from Michael Peña and Michael Shannon. The problem with these actors is that they could do nothing to salvage such a tepid script.
The main problem with this film is that ignorant filmmakers made it. Not only is there a clear racism in terms of discarding the Afghans that helped the Americans (the title itself suggests the 12 Americans were the only warriors here), but there’s such a disregard for US Army procedures and protocol, you’d think the background work that was done was by playing some Call of Duty. Then there is rampant sexism by having extremely underwritten parts for the wives who wait patiently for their husbands back home (Elsa Pataky’s lines can be counted on one hand), but the terrible dialogue and character building have there be no stakes whatsoever for our characters; it’s really hard to care about this story at all.
One thing that you could hope would save this movie is the action sequences, but even here the lack of professionalism from the film crew is made clear. The action sequences are filmed so terribly, the screen is just one chaotic blur. There is no clear layout of the battlefield so that the resulting camerawork doesn’t let you garner any tension or know who is who in the fight.
In the end there’s little to save this film. The intentions of bringing a racist and propaganda heavy film are so blatant that it’s nauseating. This film was created with a specific audience in mind, which is the people that elected the current president of the United States; if producer Jerry Bruckheimer is able to get this film to them, he’ll have himself an undeserved hit on his hands.