Lone Survivor (2013)
You will laugh, and you will cry. They live, they fight, and they die.
I was very excited to see Lone Survivor. When I learned of the movie months ago, I knew it would be one that I had to see. Recently, I heard from numerous people that the film was amazing, and that just made me want to see it more. These days, if Mark Wahlberg is in a movie, you can basically expect gold.
The film is based on the book with the same title which was written by Marcus Luttrell and is based on his true story. It’s about a group of Navy SEALS on a covert operation in Afghanistan that goes horribly wrong. Four SEALS are left severely outnumbered and outgunned and behind enemy lines. Unable to make radio contact, they are forced to stand together as one and try desperately to fight the local Taliban for their survival.
The movie was directed by Peter Berg and the noteworthy cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch, Yousif Azami, Ali Suliman, Alexander Ludwig, and Jerry Ferrara.
I had vaguely heard of the mission that was portrayed in Lone Survivor, but ultimately, I hardly new any of the details before watching the film. I’m not sure how much of the story went by the book, and what was fictionalized for pure entertainment purposes. I have not read the book, but it would be interesting to see how it differs from the movie.
Lone Survivor is a superb depiction of the camaraderie and brotherhood that is commonly found in the Navy SEALS. The actors walked the walk, and talked the talk. They were large, bulky instruments that were trained to kill and trained to survive. They fight like soldiers and they curse like soldiers. This film does not edit itself for a lighter rating. It’s as real as I’ve ever seen. Prepare yourself to be shocked.
This movie has some of the most insanely realistic and severely intense battle scenes that I have ever seen in a film. Although I knew that I was in a theatre watching a film, it was as if I was watching real footage of actual soldiers at war, and not actors pretending for a camera.
Lone Survivor is a trip into hostile territory. The movie reminded me of how I felt about Saving Private Ryan (1998) when I saw it for the first time. It’s an epic achievement. The film changes the way that you look at the war movie genre. It raises the bar and leaves huge shoes to fill for any future war movie. It’s a game changer. I have a feeling that this movie will be hard to beat for years to come. The genre has now been reestablished.
The cast was a force to be reckoned with. Everyone was awesome. Wahlberg stood out above the rest and he continues to add to the arsenal of reasons why I like him. He has become one of my favorite actors. He is a consistent entertainer in the movie world and that is a rare thing in this day and age.
This movie should be an Oscar contender. It would be a crime if it didn’t win something. It would be an excellent way to honor all of the Navy SEALS that fought for their brothers standing next to them.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Note: Lone Survivor could deserve a higher rating, but it has to live up to the test of time before it gets one from me.
There was a bit of a disturbance in the densely populated theatre where I watched this film. A man in the same row as mine was yelling obscenities during the first half of the movie. He started to violently strike the seats in front of him before he was finally removed from the premises. I was unable to give my full attention to the first part of the movie because of this distraction. It was unfortunate, but when I watch the movie for a second time, my rating could possibly change.
Cop Land (1997)
Cop Land is the first movie that I remember hearing about where an actor or actress severely changed their weight for a part in a film. Sylvester Stallone gained 40 lbs. for his role in the movie. I remember thinking how crazy he was for doing that. 40 lbs. is a lot of weight to gain, and it is a lot more to have to lose again. Now, 16 years later, I realize that it was just Stallone’s awesome dedication to doing what he loves that allowed him to do what was necessary for his role in Cop Land.
The film is about an army of corrupt New York City cops with ties to the mob who buy themselves a chunk of New Jersey. They are virtually untouchable until the sheriff of their little “Cop Land” (Sylvester Stallone) becomes wise to their ways.
The movie was written and directed by James Mangold and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, Michael Rapaport, Annabella Sciorra, Janeane Garofalo, Noah Emmerich, Cathy Moriarty, Frank Vincent, John Spencer, Arthur J. Nascarella, Edie Falco, John Ventimiglia, Robert John Burke, Michael Gaston, Bruce Altman, Tony Sirico, Frank Pellegrino, Vincent Laresca, Victor Williams, Paul Calderon, and Malik Yoba.
They brought in all of the big guns to make this film. The cast list is so staggering that I am sure that I left someone out. You couldn’t ask for a better cast in a movie.
Because of the type of movie Cop Land is, and especially because of the cast, you can expect a lot of violence and language, but mostly, powerful performances.
Cop dramas don’t get a whole lot better than this one. Cop Land is one of those movies that gets better every time that I watch it.
It is interesting because a number of actors in the film were cast against type. Guys who usually play bad guys are now playing cops. But, it works out because some of them are corrupt. So, I guess they are just bad guys with a badge.
It is no surprise that the movie has a bit of a Goodfellas (1990) and The Sopranos feel to it, because a number of the cast members were in those shows. A couple of them were also in the film Beautiful Girls (1996).
With so many great actors in the movie, none of them really stood out over another because they were all acting on the same level.
Overall, Cop Land is a unique, underrated cop drama that packs a big bang. Like a fine wine, it gets better with age.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Lone Survivor (2013) (Click on the title for my full review.)
This cast in a film based on a true story about a NAVY SEAL operation gone bad. What else is there for me to say? I’ll see it.
The film is set to release on 12/27/13.