12 Strong (2018) reviewed by Big Tuna
I was not thoroughly excited for 12 Strong. I am generally apprehensive of modern war films because I don’t like films that are hyper-patriotic and exhibit the “White savior” archetype, and films produced by Jerry Bruckheimer often fall victim to this trend. Still, I gave it a chance with a sliver of hope that it could be enjoyable.
12 Strong had writing that was both generic and boring
Ultimately, I found the film’s writing to be quite generic and boring. There are some interesting parts of the story that the writer could have taken and used to create a much more original film, but instead, it feels like a cheap, derivative war action popcorn film. It is also extremely manipulative with its character development. All of the “good guys” are barely developed, but the development that does occur is all focused on things that easily achieve audience sympathy. The “bad guys” aren’t developed at all. They are all unnamed and archetypal villains in the War on Terror. There are much better war films that give the antagonists more depth without glorifying their position, and I feel like this would have made the film much more interesting. There are also multiple scenes that last for far too long, including the action sequences. There are a few exciting moments, but not many, so I feel that if the film had been trimmed down by about twenty minutes or so, it could have been a lot brisker and more enjoyable.
The execution of the film is mediocre at best, too. The cinematography is really uneven and shaky, making the film feel really unprofessional. There isn’t much gore either, but the practical effects when they are present are just average. The main actors aren’t all putting in their A-game. I’ve definitely seen much better from Michael Shannon and Michael Peña. The only person who really impressed me was Trevante Rhodes, although he had very little screen time.
Overall, 12 Strong was watchable, but it wasn’t great. The writing, for the most part, was boring and unoriginal, and it felt like everything wasn’t at its maximum level. I don’t think this ever would have been a great film, but it could have at least been decent. This film was “Not a Total Waste of Time”.
This review was written by Big Tuna of the Big Tuna on Film Blog. Be sure to check out the site for more great reviews like this!