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Lone Survivor Review: All Hail the Frogmen of SEAL Team 10

0036829photoLone Survivor recounts the harrowing tale of Marcus Luttrell and SEAL Team 10’s failed “Operation Red Wings” that took place in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005, and it’s easily the most gripping war movie to feature America’s brave armed forces since Saving Private Ryan. Its authenticity is undeniable and in your face, forcing you to feel the terror of the event in a very vivid fashion for nearly the entire run time. It will leave you caught up in a wave of jingoism with intense feelings of pride and sadness for the sacrifices of the Servicemen involved, and there’s a great chance you’ll leave the theater shell shocked from the experience.

The film opens with a foreboding scene that offers a look at what horrors will play out over the course of “Operation Red Wings,” making it clear that it’s not going to be a happy-go-lucky affair. If the title isn’t a big enough clue already this opening scene makes it poignantly clear what fate awaits its cast, but even with that knowledge in hand, the feelings of anxiety and terror do not subside until you’re safely back in your home reflecting on what you just witnessed.

After the opening shot Lone Survivor transitions to three days in the past to offer a look at the brave men of SEAL Team 10 before they embark on their ill-fated mission. This helps to showcase the brotherly bond that these Frogmen all share, and the dedication they have to each other, and their other brothers in arms. This is the foundation to the emotional journey that is Lone Survivor, and serves the subsequent scenes well, allowing for some pretty intense gut punches once the shit hits the fan.

The real SEAL Team 10
The real SEAL Team 10

The heroes of SEAL Team 10 are tasked with capturing or killing the notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd, and they’re eager to perform their duty, because as Luttrell (Wahlberg) explains they’ve been bred for battle and look forward to being in the line of fire. That sentiment helps to reinforce just how badass these guys are, and the lengths they’re willing to go to for their country and brothers. Brotherhood is key in this movie, and the actors involved really did a bang up job realizing that fact by exhibiting deep felt bonds between each other, ones that only soldiers can form.

It’s made clear from the get go that “Operation Red Wings” is going to be a cluster, which really amplifies an already anxious pit that you’ll feel in your stomach. You know things aren’t going to end well for SEAL Team 10, so you’re constantly awaiting awful things to happen. If your heart doesn’t race throughout this film you may be dead, because Lone Survivor will put your blood pumper through its paces. It offers the same level of anticipation and suspense as Gravity; you ‘re never offered any respite until the credits role. Even then you’re faced with a plethora of emotions thanks to a montage I will not spoil.

The cast did the four men of SEAL Team 10 justice.
The cast did the four men of SEAL Team 10 justice.

The action is intense and violent, but at the same time it’s a thing of beauty to watch how a SEAL team operates. The actors did a fine job in exhibiting the perfected combat abilities of a SEAL team, which helped to reinforce the insane level of bravery these men all had. They truly do come off as machines, except these machines have massive hearts and love for their fellow soldiers. If you don’t think there are superheroes in real life after watching this movie then you’ve become too disillusioned with reality.

Call of Duty fans will surely appreciate the montage of head shots featured in Lone Survivor, and action fans will be astounded at the intense shootouts and explosions. If you love stunts there’s not a better showcase of them on display than Lone Survivor. Certain scenes will make you wonder if a dummy was used, while others it’s quite clear that some stuntman just willingly offered up his body for the camera. All of this action and carnage helps to bring you into the ordeal, making it impossible to not sympathize for the brave souls whose fates were truly in their own hands.

Even with all of the high-octane action and edge of your seat moments, Lone Survivor’s best attribute is its ability to bring the gritty horrors of war to life, and force people watching it to realize just how much the American Armed Forces have sacrificed to make the world a safer place. Watching these four men fight a hopeless battle with more vigor than a team on the verge of winning a Super Bowl will make you realize just how special these heroes are.

War is hell
War is hell

It’s impossible to not get emotional due to the realness of the situation present in this movie. Lone Survivor is an event that took place in real life. These men did experience hell on earth and embraced it with open arms. Servicemen and women all around the world are still fighting the same enemy that SEAL Team 10 battled in the craggy mountains of Afghanistan on that fateful day in June. The feelings of pride and sadness that arise in you while watching these men duke it out is overwhelming, almost too overwhelming in fact, but we as American civilians do need to feel uncomfortable while watching the terror our heroes have to face on a daily basis, to allow us to realize just how special their sacrifices are. These brave humans lose pieces of themselves that they’ll never get back in the name of our freedom, so it’s our responsibility to understand just how much they give up to do so, and Lone Survivor is the perfect delivery tool to do so.

Unlike all of the previous Middle Eastern war films that have been released, Lone Survivor manages to capture that special bond that forms between soldiers during times of conflict, which is why it will touch you in a personal way. Both men and women will be equally moved by this movie, and there’s a great chance you’ll have a hard time talking about what you just saw when it’s over. Lone Survivor leaves you feeling sick over the atrocities of war and the sacrifices of our Armed Forces, but in the same vein it’ll leave you feeling proud to be an American. It’s one of those war movies that only comes around every so often that can actually strip Hollywood out of the production, leaving it feeling as authentic as a documentary meant to provide a visceral look at the brutality of armed conflicts. If you love America, or know someone in the Armed Forces, you need to see Lone Survivor.

God bless the United States Armed Forces…

The essence of a Frogman is captured in the first part of this trailer. This is Lone Survivor.


[schema type=”review” name=”Lone Survivor | Review Summary” description=”The Awesome: Everything | The Not so Awesome: It’d be un-American to even consider this category for this film” rev_name=”Lone Survivor” rev_body=”For the first time a war movie about the MIddle Eastern conflicts manages to make you feel the horrors of war in a real way that will leave you feeling shell shocked by the end. Lone Survivor is a grim reminder of the sacrifices our brave Armed Forces commit each and every day in foreign lands to keep our lazy asses safe and free.” author=”Matt Heywood” pubdate=”2014-01-11″ user_review=”10″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”10″ ]

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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.