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Ashdoc's Movie Review---12 Strong


Movie Critic
Review contains spoilers

In the aftermath of 9/11 , task force dagger consisting of 12 men is assembled by the US army to go to Afghanistan under the command of captain Mitch Nelson ( played by Chris Hemsworth ) . Their task is to join the forces of Afghan warlord Rashid Dostum , who is part of the northern alliance fighting against the Taliban . But the other members of the northern alliance are at loggerheads with Dostum's forces too . In Afghanistan no one trusts each other .

However task force dagger meets up with Dostum's forces in the middle of the night in a meeting where they almost come to blows with Dostum's troops because they can't identify each other at first . As dawn breaks out they move on horseback into the rugged mountains of Afghanistan which would have had a stark beauty of their own if they had not been so war torn .

The duty of task force dagger is to go as close as possible to the Taliban to give co ordinates to B 52 bombers of the US air force so that they can bomb the Taliban . But Dostum warns that going to close to the Taliban will bring them in range of their guns . However Mitch does move close because the bombs miss when he is afar and then gives proper co ordinates which rain death on the enemy in the form of bombs which give out black smoke that spirals after yellow explosions . But this brings him in range of the Taliban's fire . And the fire is deadly from their Kalashnikovs .

Wearing all black dresses , the Taliban are truly formidable fighters who are not afraid to die as they have been promised riches in paradise after death---as Dostum warns . Amazingly , he is in touch with the local Taliban commander on radio . But he tells Mitch that his family has been murdered by the Taliban commander and one day he wants revenge . He reminisces about the old days when women used to move about freely and they had movie theatres . But as the Taliban have moved in , they have unleashed horror where any girl above eight who is being taught by her mother has to see her mother killed as women's education is forbidden---as a brutal scene in the movie shows .

The tactics of the Taliban are gruesome . Many of them come in the guise of surrendering , and when they come close one of them cries out ''Allahu Akbar'' which is signal that he is going to explode a suicide bomb . As he explodes , the others begin to attack from their guns . They also have battle tanks which surprise Mitch and his men , and rocket launchers for which they have a seemingly endless supply of rockets to launch at Dostum's men .

Dostum has to use ruthless tactics too . Because all help from America will cease if the members of force dagger are hurt , he assigns small boys with guns to follow and protect the members on pain that the boys' families will be killed if they fail in their duty .

As the dagger force along with Dostum's forces finds it difficult to pass a choke point where they are bottled up by the Taliban , Mitch decides to lead a cavalry charge right into the heart of the Taliban forces so that the road to the town of Mazar e Sharif ( the preliminary objective of the US forces ) is cleared . His success in the charge which allows Dostum to kill the Taliban commander and fulfil his vow of revenge is stuff of legend , something that inspired making of this movie .

The action scenes in the movie are great and the photography of the rugged mountainous topography of Afghanistan is awe inspiring . Background music is good and so is the acting . Of course , with benefit of hindsight we know the sheer pointlessness of fighting endlessly in Afghanistan---the graveyard of empires . But the movie is a welcome addition to the genre of war and military movies .

Verdict---Good .

Three and a half stars out of five .