A little known piece of information, the French make some brilliant action movies. So when I saw the poster and then the trailer for Special Forces, I expected quite a stylish action flick probably trying to match up to those oversized American jingoistic military action flicks, like this years Act of Valor. What I got after watching the film was a far more sedate thriller that despite pacing issues, presents a fairly measured picture of the French army and its men. Though its not a great action movie by any stretch.
Elsa (Diane Kruger), a French journalist working on a story of domestic violence in Afghanistan is abducted by a Taliban chieftain, Ahmed Zaif (Raz Degan) who was the main perpetrator of the crimes shes investigating. The French government dispatches, Kovax (Djimon Hounsou) and his special forces team monitored by Amiral Guezennec (Tcheky Karyo) to initially monitor the situation and then to rescue Elsa. The rescue takes place fairly early in the movie and much of the latter part is reserved for the long walk to safety as much of their communications gear is destroyed or defunct. With the Taliban on their tail, the men have to call upon their years of experience and training to make sure they survive the ordeal in harsh terrain with little resources they have.
The movies action sequences are quieter affairs that seem to show actual soldiers at work without the unnecessary jazz that usually comes with these movies. Its not all just a noise and light show, rather a measured display a group of soldiers would likely adopt in a real-life situation like this. Having said that, its nothing you havent seen before. Right from G.I.Jane to Black Hawk Down, everyones done this before. Nor does the rescue story have something truly new or different, which makes this movie stand out.
The movie does feature some truly beautiful landscape and has some lovely cinematography. The background score tends to tilt in favour of being too sentimental at times and on hearing that you know the movies trying too hard, even if it doesnt have the material to back it up.
Special Forces is solid yet unspectacular movie, which might be better enjoyed at home.