5 Days Of War Reviews
The events of the film, which covers the Russia-Georgia War in the 2008 Battle of Gori, are remarkably biased in favour of the Georgians, portraying them as innocent bystanders in the South Ossetian events, and Russians as bloodthirsty thieves, rapists and murderers.
Val Kilmer makes for a surprisingly pleasant addition, and primary Russian villain, Mercenary Daniil, makes for a moderate badass, but nobody else is really much of a crowd pleaser. Most saddening though is the fact that 5 Days of War just plain doesn't bring anything new to the table. I'm always keen to get behind work involving British actor Richard Coyle (Franklyn, Outpost: Black Sun, Coupling), but I'm afraid this one just has no true positive aspect. Instead, it lingers somewhere in the realm of "tolerable". It's strange for a film so laden with military action to manage feel so stagnant.
Since "5 Days of War" is based on actual events, one might think the best route would have been a documentary. After seeing the havoc that director Renny Harlin wrecks with the material by almost turning it into an action movie at times, one would have definite cause to be correct. And to no one's surprise, the rest of it is not exactly subtle. While I am on the film's side in praising the heroics of war reporters in bringing news to light, especially in a conflict like this where Putin is not as heavily criticized as he should be, I think the movie's two main points are incorrect. One, I did read about Georgia being invaded in the newspaper, so obviously people did care. Two, the United States would not get involved because it did not want to cause World War III unduly, although comparing invasions would have been provocative to say the least. Otherwise, Richard Coyle hits the right gonzo notes and there is one great scene involving Rade Serbedzija and a chessboard that summarizes everything nicely.
That being said, there's not much depth here. We touch the surface of a war hardly any American has any knowledge of due to the Beijing Olympics. Most critics complain that the movie glazes over the important details of the 2008 South Ossetia War and I'm inclined to agree with them. If this movie was meant to highlight the details of the war in a more documentarian factor, then I would definitely have to give this only one star. However, I took this as a story about the experience of war correspondents and the people they encounter.
It's by no means Salvador, Good Morning Vietnam, or Blood Diamond, but if you like simple action it's highly recommended.
Still though, the story of Georgia is compelling, interesting and worthy of your time. I'd recommend watching this if only to begin an education on the topic. It hurts to not give this a better rating.
The movie has some decent battle scenes, but unfortunately the nature of the production prevented it from becoming any more than that: "good guys" in uniforms Americans can associate with and the caricature "bad guys" -- a mob of the baddies going through the town shooting all the time either in the air or at [presumably] civilians. That alone simply ruins the film because, ideologies and propaganda aside, it had some well directed shots and decent plot points.
Sadly, however, the plot is so twisted in an attempt to make a spin on the conflict that it breaks anything solid it may have had. Plus of course the baddies who came right from the 90s cheap action movies and have little to do in a decent production.
In short: it could have been a good movie, but instead they chose to pursue a different purpose.
In all fairness Russia has made a movie like this much faster. The funny thing is that it follows the same story line, just switch the sides.
But let it be clear for all those who did not follow the news: Georgia did start the war, it bears most of the responsibility for that particular stage of the conflict and loss of innocent lives on both sides. But its not solely responsible: it is sad when innocent people get caught up in political conflicts.
"In a war of ideas, it is people who get killed".
Although the subject matter is important... the main characters do not get the job done.