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12 strong [videorecording]
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12 Strong tells the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11; under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down the Taliban. - (Warner Home Video)

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This contemporary war film celebrates the brave soldiers who fought against Al Qaeda—without probing too deeply into the political justification or disillusioning aftermath of their heroic efforts. Green Beret Operational Detachment Alpha 595 consists of a 12-member U.S. Special Forces squad sent into mountainous northern Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. Their mission is to take the Taliban stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif within three weeks—before the winter snow hits. Led by Capt. Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth), Chief Warrant Officer Cal Spencer (Michael Shannon), and Sgt. First Class Sam Diller (Michael Peña), they're informed that Afghanistan is the "graveyard of empires." Accompanied by tribal warriors under Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum (Navid Negahban)—who later became Afghanistan's vice-president—they ride on horseback across 40 miles of Taliban-controlled territory, liberating small villages along the way and calling in B-52 airstrikes when necessary. The evasive military tactics and calculated maneuvers are made clear here—with New Mexico's harsh terrain subbing for Afghanistan's landscape—but the only philosophical insight into the ongoing struggle occurs when the Americans are bluntly told, "you will be cowards if you leave and you will be enemies if you stay." Inspired by Doug Stanton's 2009 nonfiction book Horse Soldiers, this is directed with mucho machismo by Nicolai Fuglsig, a Danish photojournalist who was a war correspondent in Kosovo. 12 Strong serves up ferocious action, procedural frustration, and inevitable anguish, albeit without offering much food for thought. A strong optional purchase. (S. Granger). Copyright Video Librarian Reviews 2018.

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