Rainer's Review of Black Hawk Down

  • 19 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
    Black Hawk Down

    Black Hawk Down (2001)

    I haven't see this movie for at least five years and now, that must have been my third or fourth viewing. All the ones before however, came before my serious film affection started. I revisited it mostly because I take it under a more critical observation.

    Black Hawk Down is one of the rare modern-day war films which can easily withstand comparison to such genre giants as The Longest Day or A Bridge Too Far.

    It features a fine ensemble cast (with a lot of British actors playing US Rangers - aren't there enough American guys that could play these roles?), including one of my personal favourites, Ewan McGregor, alongside Josh Hartnett (not the brightest acting-bulb, but he doesn't have to do much else than shouting commands anyways^^), Tom Sizemore, Jason Isaacs, William Fichtner (probably my favourite performance of the film), Eric Bana (he doesn't have to speak much either, for our own good) and Orlando Bloom (in a tiny role - we were lucky again) amongst others, of then-aspiring actors, who now, more than a decade later, evolved in some serious box-office stars (or amateur porn stars respectively) - and the performances were just fine across the board - despite my sarcastic commentary.

    Black Hawk Down is a pure war film with only little anti-war undertones. We get to see a LOT of patriotism and heroism, even a squad that escapes Mogadishu on foot after the Pakistani UN HUM-VEEs are overloaded. And, on the other hand, countless anonymous masses of black Somalians die by the hands of our heroes. It's war film logic and it's ok like that. The US testosterone trip is a bit calmed down by the fact that it actually was a UN mission these soldiers were on (although, contrary to the sources and real life ongoings, the role of the non-US troops is almost completely undiscussed). Nevertheless, the US Army had a heavy hand in the production of this film - you can figure this out just by looking at the details of the uniforms, vehicles, weapons, etc.
    Lots of consulting and Army money made this film possible, and I have absolutely no problem with such procedures if the final result is so good-looking.

    What could have been one of the great films that honour the UN peace missions (like Hotel Rwanda for example), is a huge load of heroism underscored with machine gun fire. A lot of talented people tried to accomplish that though - and the result is worth watching (brief thought: Ridley Scott is pretty underrated for his versatility - he has made a classic horror film, a classic science fiction movie, one of the all-time feminist flicks, revived the sword and sandal genre, debuted with a costume period piece and his lesser-acclaimed films include a war film, a medieval Robin Hood adaptation and another medieval epic, a gangster/mob film, a bunch of straight action and crime pics and a campy melodrama, and, not to forget, one of the most influential TV ads ever).

    All in all, it's a clean cut, technically perfect, war film that you feel like revisiting some of the old classic war film awesomeness I compared it to in one earlier paragraph.

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