September 11, 2001 was a day that shook America to its core by bringing war and unrest to its doorsteps. “Never here” we mistakenly thought. That day changed EVERYTHING. There are so many stories of various levels of heroism that have yet to be heard. One such story that hadn’t seen been given a large platform is one about the heroic horse soldiers and was done to deserve that name. New director Nicolai Fuglsig is eager to bring 12 Strong to a world full of eager and curious eyes to see this amazing display of strength and conviction.
On the tragic day that saw four commercial planes hijacked and used as weapons against various targets on American soil, as a Nation, the United States of America knew that it needed to respond quickly and decisively. A counterattack was to be launched as quickly as possible against the enemy. The location was Afghanistan and the attack was to be executed by some of America’s bravest and deadliest soldiers. Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth) earned the privilege of leading a team on this assault. Needing to work with another foreign faction who had its own reasons to take up arms was only part of the unique challenge. Due to the landscape of the area in Afghanistan, the Special Forces team would have use more localized means than they had originally planned. If a retaliatory blow was to be struck, adaptation would be the key to victory.
As stated earlier, this story didn’t receive all of the fanfare that some of the other aspects of this war received. The story itself is an interesting one considering that most of us haven’t heard it 50 times over. Horses needed to be used in order for the U.S. soldiers to infiltrate areas that were unreachable, at least with any hopes of stealth, with more traditional motorized vehicle. This is one of the reasons that the plot is so fascinating. Even with all of the advanced technology we are blessed with, it comes down to men on horseback.
On the production side of things, 12 Strong is off-target. Some of the casting roles are a bit questionable (Rob Riggle as a no-nonsense colonel is a perfect example) and the storyline gets slightly bogged down in areas. There are some other talented names attached; Michael Shannon, Michael Peña and William Fichtner. None of these actors gave anything above an adequate performance, and this includes Chris Hemsworth. It’s like having bigger actors just for the sake of saying you have these people attached to the project.
When recounting true events, sometimes it’s challenging to make things more “exciting” than what they were. Trimming about 15 to 20 minutes could have helped this one on the entertainment front. For the most part, 12 Strong was decent but not a must-see type of film. It’s an interesting piece of important history that ends up lacking the cinematic flair that it needs to take it to the next level. I wouldn’t make this a top priority that NEEDS to be seen in theaters at prevailing non-discounted rates.