|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||12 Strong|
|Production country:||USA 2017|
|Running time:||Ca. 131 Min|
|Rated:||From 16 years|
While the whole world was still in a state of shock after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the US government sent a small task force to Afghanistan to carry out an important but also extremely dangerous mission there: Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth) and his eleven Green Berets are to win the Afghan Northern Alliance in the Hindu Kush Mountains for an alliance in the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. But not only mutual distrust and cultural differences, but also the numerical superiority of the opponent let the chances of survival for the US soldiers dwindle more and more…
"Operation: 12 Strong" tells a largely unknown story about the first US operation after the attacks of September 11. The award-winning photojournalist Nicolai Fuglsig, who makes his debut as a feature film director here, unfortunately falls far too often into the usual clichés of military films from Hollywood, which sometimes seem almost involuntarily funny. Certainly: Some of the sequences are first-class craftsmanship and dramaturgically captivating. But the all too one-dimensional drawing of the characters, the extremely flat dialogues from the manual for war films ("Tell my wife that I love her") and the - despite some critical undertones - usual patriotism prevent a good film from being made from the individual set pieces.
I cannot judge how much the whole thing corresponds to the actual events. That doesn't really matter, because even with a dramaturgically high authenticity the weaknesses wouldn't be ironed out. "Operation: 12 Strong" just can't get anything really new out of the genre. It is a good thing that the soldiers had to go into battle on horseback, which can be regarded as extraordinary. But otherwise the whole thing is so conventionally staged and played that the whole film becomes extremely interchangeable. There is no scene that somehow stands out and stays in your mind for a long time.
Even such reliable actors as Michael Shannon or Michael Peña don't deliver more than a solid average here. It's not like Fuglsig's directing debut was really bad. There are too many positive aspects for this, especially on the visual level. It's simply that the viewer has the feeling that he already knows the movie and knows exactly what the stenciled characters will say next. Those who like the Hollywood war movies of the last years will surely find "Operation: 12 Strong" gripping and exciting. But those who are tired of clichéd dialogues and the usual patriotism should rather buy tickets for another film at the box office. Only conditionally worth seeing!
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp