Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On 12 STRONG
Chris Hemsworth ("Thor," "The Avengers" films) and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon ("Revolutionary Road," "Nocturnal Animals") star in 12 STRONG, a powerful new war drama from Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media and Jerry Bruckheimer Films that tells the declassified true story of the Horse Soldiers. Based on the best-selling book Horse Soldiers, it is story of heroism based on true events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11. The film will hit theaters on January 19, 2018.
"12 Strong" is set in the harrowing days following 9/11 when a U.S. Special Forces team, led by their new Captain, Mitch Nelson (Hemsworth), is chosen to be the first U.S. troops sent into Afghanistan for an extremely dangerous mission. There, in the rugged mountains, they must convince Northern Alliance General Dostum (Navid Negahban) to join forces with them to fight their common adversary: the Taliban and their Al Qaeda allies. In addition to overcoming mutual distrust and a vast cultural divide, the Americans-accustomed to state-of-the-art warfare-must adopt the rudimentary tactics of the Afghan horse soldiers. But despite their uneasy bond, the new allies face overwhelming odds: OUTNUMBERED and outgunned by a ruthless enemy that does not take prisoners.
See what the critics had to say here:
MANOHLA DARGIS, THE NEW YORK TIMES: "Still, while the movie largely elides overt politics and policies, both domestic and foreign, they are inextricably embedded in every single narrative turn, each word and image. (They're also embedded in the credits: Like other movies of this type, "12 Strong" received technical support from the American military.) Written by Ted Tally and Peter Craig - and adapted from Doug Stanton's well-received nonfiction book "Horse Soldiers" (2009) - the movie takes for granted that military action in Afghanistan is essential and justified. The filmmakers make that case mostly with images of Sept. 11 - cut to a man's clenching fist - and through scenes and stories of the Taliban's violence."
Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE: "The script doesn't go much beyond the surface in establishing the camaraderie among these men who left their families to take on a battle still being fought. This is not a movie with time on its hands for character development or scrappy discussions of the politics involved on both sides. What 12 Strong does deliver, however, is a rousing tribute to the bravery of soldiers whose contributions went unheralded for years. That impact cannot be denied."
Brian Truitt, USA TODAY: "What 12 Strong touches on in a real way, though fleetingly in order to get on with all that horse-on-tank action, is the commitment to service following the fateful day in 2001. Mitch and his troops don't have to think hard about fighting back, yet they're torn between duty and the families they're choosing to leave behind. Mitch's spouse (played by Hemsworth's real-life wife, Elsa Pataky) takes it mostly in knowing stride, making him promise to return home, though Spencer's offers a savage rebuke: "I will love you when you get back."
Owen Gleiberman, VARIETY: "Chris Hemsworth, in thatchy dark hair and a G.I. Joe scruff, speaking in a manly low voice of superstar resolve, plays the team's captain, Mitch Nelson, who has never been in combat before. Yet he's the kind of gung-ho volunteer who's got sharpshooting in his blood. He may not have "killer eyes" (the warlord's description of Michael Shannon's Chief Warrant Officer), but he's got a killer heart. A family man who only recently arranged to become a desk jockey, Nelson, as the movie presents it, gets slapped awake by 9/11 and fights the bureaucracy to win his shot on the ground. As soon as he arrives, he's a master of everything: the weather patterns, how to map bombing coordinates for the B-52s that are going to blow Taliban-infested villages into the afterlife, and - of course - how to ride into battle on a horse while blasting a machine gun like a badass medieval knight."
Todd McCarthy, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: "What makes the story legitimately compelling is that there was no precedent for how to proceed against this shadowy enemy. Young, testosterone-loaded soldiers can say they're going to kick ass all they want - and they do - but it's another matter how they're going to go about it under such murky circumstances in so unfamiliar and unfriendly a region. They've got high-tech equipment up the wazoo, as well as B-52 air support. And with Thor himself, aka Chris Hemsworth, leading the charge, how can the outcome be in any doubt?"
SIMON THOMPSON, IGN: "Bearing in mind that this is a Jerry Bruckheimer production, 12 Strong is one of his more restrained and considered exercises in hero storytelling even if some of the beats it tries to hit are slightly off. That said it's aiming for brains as well as brawn as much as it is shock and awe and, as a whole, it's not as far off the mark as some people might expect it to be."