'12 Strong' Review: Winning the Battles but Losing the War

Chris Hemsworth's Contract Is Up After 'Avengers 4': 'I Won't Be Playing [Thor] Again'

"12 Strong" lacks depth but fulfills its mission to entertain. With 12 Strong, Hemsworth is up for a different ride, playing an Army Special Forces captain who leads a military attack in Afghanistan in the weeks after 9/11 (on horseback no less). Rather than illuminate a conflict that has engulfed our country for nearly a generation, 12 Strong is content to be a third-rate action movie, wasting its talented cast in a well-intentioned but ultimately lackadaisical picture. Task Force Dagger, including Central Intelligence Agency paramilitary officers and US Army Green Berets Operational Detachment Alpha 595 (ODA 595) were the first American troop sent into Afghanistan to fight and join forces with General Abdul Rashid Dostum of the Northern Alliance to help conduct unconventional warfare against Taliban forces. Even though he's never actually seen combat, Mitch fights to get redeployed with Chief Warrant Officer Hal Spencer (Michael Shannon) and the rest of his men, who all volunteer to head to Afghanistan as part of Task Force Dagger.

There's the necessary gripping emotion, for sure, and also the huge battleground set pieces a war drama demands, though 12 Strong goes a little too over the top with its action-packed climax - obviously, real horses couldn't be used in the more harrowing danger, and the visual effects are iffy in certain moments.

Danish commercial director Nicolai Fuglsig brings nothing to the table other than a love of rockets streaking across canyons and soldiers caked in dust, and the script, by Silence Of The Lambs Oscar-winner Ted Tally and Hunger Games screenwriter Peter Craig, is by-the-numbers jingoism.

"12 Strong", a film that tells the story of the USA response in Afghanistan to 9/11, will begin showing tonight in Enid.

The movie also stars Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, Trevante Rhodes, and Rob Riggle. The true story of the "horse soldiers" is remarkable, but the movie about them is sadly forgettable. But the well-chosen, charismatic cast makes the most out of the material.

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