Archives for posts with tag: war movies

Hey, Frank Sinatra made World War II movies – why not Jon Bon Jovi? The younger New Jersey pop star plays a supporting role in “U-571” (2000), in which a group of American submarine sailors carry out a secret mission against the Germans. The Yanks – and the movie, for that matter – are led by untested skipper Matthew McConaughey. Not to worry, because Harvey Keitel, David Keith and Bill Paxton are there to lend ballast to the neophyte leading man. The film is boilerplate war movie stuff – ragtag bunch faces adversity, yada, yada – and (spoiler alert) we all know how WWII ends.

I went into “12 Strong” (2018) knowing it was “based on a true story” and I have been on this Earth long enough to be highly familiar with the true story of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. I decided I’d view this film as I would a John Wayne World War II movie. That was a smart move, as the film turned out to be a fine John Wayne flick for the 21st century, mixing melodrama and bluster with radar-guided bombs and sniper rifles. And, of course, the Americans always hit what they’re shooting at and (almost) never get hit themselves.

When you bring home a war movie that stars a professional wrestler, you’re prepared to watch a meathead special. Not so with “The Wall” (2017). About two minutes in, I got the sense this was going to be some kind of throwback drama, like a teleplay from 50 years ago or a short story from even longer ago. (The fact the wrestler doesn’t have a lot of dialogue helps.) An Army Ranger and an Iraqi jihadist square off physically, technologically and psychologically, but the story could have just as easily been set in World War II or the Civil War.