I saw the movie “12 Strong” starring Chris Hemsworth and Michael Pena. Pretty good war flick. Not as good as “Lone Survivor” or “American Sniper”– it definitely needed more character development– but still a pretty good movie that kept me entertained for nearly 2 hours.
The movie is a true story about a team of Army Special Forces (they really don’t like being called “Green Berets”) who are inserted into Afghanistan only five weeks after the September 11 Massacre. Their job is to find our ally (a tribe led by the mysterious General Dostum) and coordinate air attacks with our B-52s against Taliban positions. The movie concludes with our guys getting drawn into a shoot-em up land battle, with our guys leading a cavalry charge against the Taliban! Our guys win; the barbarians of the Taliban lose. End of movie.
But if you read the movie reviews online you will see one criticism after another about how this film glorifies war. It’s jingoistic, ultra-patriotic, full of machismo, yada yada. This film glorifies war? Really? Twelve men against thousands. Twelve men flying in a helicopter through a blinding snowstorm at night, at an altitude never attempted before. Men charging into a maelstrom on horseback— leading a CAVALRY charge with machine guns against TANKS—this movie is not glorifying war. It is glorifying courage. It is glorifying honor. It is glorifying what real men are supposed to do.
What has happened when men criticize such virtues? It means this to me: spineless men despise real, selfless, strong, brave men who charge into battle to defend the freedom of their people. Apparently that kind of courage and selflessness threatens them, and they know no other way to handle such heroism. They can only disparage it.
Want a feel good movie where the good guys win and the bad guys lose? Go see “12 Strong”.