Film Review

‘Ambush Review: Movie Stars Steal Foot Soldiers Valor

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‘Ambush Review: Movie Stars Steal Foot Soldiers Valor

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‘Ambush Review: Movie Stars Steal Foot Soldiers Valor
‘Ambush Review: Movie Stars Steal Foot Soldiers Valor

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With an intriguing premise, an engaging cast, and often edgy and beautiful cinematography, Mark Berman's Ambush is a fairly average Vietnam-era game – if not for the performances. hopelessly below average for his two named actors. the largest credit block. Aaron Eckhart and Jonathan Rhys Meyers usually play complex and even small roles, playing characters that sit lazily outside the main story, while Connor Paolo, Gregory Sims, Jason Genao and others fill in the narrative left by their more sought-after counterparts. – The stars got their paychecks.

Yet smarter and funnier than one would expect from such a small and seemingly familiar story, Ambush feels like a throwback to 1980s films made by people like Cannon – mostly in a good way and Ways. when war stories were most commercially popular.

Paolo plays Cpl. Ackerman becomes the center of conflict when an educated but inexperienced young commander of a small outpost in Quang Tri province seems to find a package containing vital information about secret agents kidnapped by Viet Cong forces. American military spies. Although Captain Mora (Sims), who was originally sent to the camp to secure the area after the takeover, successfully helps Ackerman fend off a wave of enemy combatants, their superior general, General Drummond (Eckhart), orders them to stop pursuing the enemies. . In the jungle, trace a network of underground tunnels that you can use to surprise American forces and reunite or destroy all evidence of their existence. To help them, Drummond also sends Miller (Meyers), a tracker dog who "thinks outside the box".

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Mora sends Ackerman and his team underground, many of them fresh and with little to no combat experience, while Miller scans the surface for signs of the Viet Cong. Determined to prove himself – both to himself and to his men or superiors – Ackerman leads the way, climbing through a labyrinth of tunnels, sometimes facing hostile forces that force him to make life and death decisions. But when Drummond decides to limit his hunt to an unpredictable two-hour window, whether in the jungle or underground, Ackerman races towards his targets, even as Moran's companion Crawford (Mac Brandt) takes the lead to ensure no trace is left. the mission remains. after the deadline – successful or not.

Written by Berman, Johnny Lozano and Michael McClung, Ambush uses many timeless "men on a mission" tropes to explore an underground war that was little known before the Vietnam War but has since been depicted in countless films. . , from "Plato" to "Victims of War" and dozens more. Narratively and thematically, Burman explores the various levels of military decision-making, from senior officers giving orders down the chain of command to foot soldiers fighting for their lives in the trenches (or hand-to-hand combat, in this case). happening). Hand). excavated tunnel systems) while working in different environments – light and dark, dramatic and intimate, tropical and dirty. What he inadvertently does is create a division of labor between the film's "stars" and lesser-known characters who work hard to succeed with little to no praise.

Paolo, who began his career as child versions of Kevin Bacon and Colin Farrell's characters in Mystic River and Alexander, is undeniably the star of this film – and he does it with just as much intelligence and much more conviction. . ordered the alarmed engineer to his men. Boorman takes Ackerman on a subtle and emotional journey of clarity as he faces the grim realities of war and the heavy responsibilities of leadership, while Paolo takes his ambitions, doubts, flaws and growth seriously. In comparison, Meyers gives Millers Hunter a milder-than-expected preference, but spends more time arguing with his canine companion than with other companions, while Eckhart is probably in a bunker not next to the bunker, but just out of for shortwave radio. The audience will see the film in other places in Colombia.

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Boorman and his co-writers, perhaps realizing how little help he would receive from the actors whose names helped finance the film, despite Moran's sloppiness, do a better-than-average job of conveying the consequences of questionable character choices in their stories. The file cabinet incident seems worthy of a test of effectiveness or even a military tribunal. Genao, Jaime Lopez, Luke Stanton, Eddie, Matte Martinez and the rest of the cast and crew are more than holding their own as the engineers go head over heels into the fray as they make their way through the amazing endless blast tunnel system. . A move can put them face to face with an enemy more willing to kill than the other way around.

Boorman's biggest credit to date is producing Paul Schrader's 2016 Dog Eater, but in the director's chair he is skillfully and, most importantly, unsensational, juggling different landscapes: whether he is depicting an all-out attack, or he is in the Ackermann camp, or Of his own and the dark struggle of his people underground, he creates vivid, purposeful images that enrich the story and create real tension. At the same time, there is no small irony in bringing together a bunch of (mostly) fresh faces in a story that tries to reconcile the futility of individual sacrifices with some vague notions of eternal life, and sometimes something more. Instead of carrying water to his compassionate peers, he outshines them with every step he takes.

But if there aren't films like The Deer Hunter or Full Metal Jacket that can match the quality and seriousness of the Vietnam War films, Ambush ultimately delivers a more believable adventure than the animated bombshells of its competitors ( then or after) – and more than a handful of them are a real thrill.

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