12 Strong (2018) - Rotten Tomatoes

12 Strong (2018)



Critic Consensus: 12 Strong has a solid cast, honorable intentions, and a thrilling, fact-based story - all of which are occasionally enough to balance a disappointing lack of depth or nuance.

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Chris Hemsworth ("Thor," "The Avengers" films) and Oscar nominee Michael Shannon ("Revolutionary Road," "Nocturnal Animals") star in "12 Strong," a powerful new war drama from Alcon Entertainment, Black Label Media and Jerry Bruckheimer Films. Based on the book best-selling book Horse Soldiers, it is story of heroism based on true events that unfolded a world away in the aftermath of 9/11.

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Chris Hemsworth
as Captain Mitch Nelson
Michael Shannon
as Hal Spencer
Michael Peña
as Sam Diller
Navid Negahban
as General Dostum
Geoff Stults
as Sean Coffers
Thad Luckinbill
as Vern Michaels
Austin Hébert
as Pat Essex
Austin Stowell
as Fred Falls
Ben O'Toole
as Scott Black
Kenneth Miller
as Kevin Jackson
Kenny Sheard
as Bill Bennett
Jack Kesy
as Charles Jones
Rob Riggle
as Lt. Colonel Bowers
William Fichtner
as Colonel Mulholland
Elsa Pataky
as Jean Nelson
Laith Nakli
as Commander Ahmed Lal
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News & Interviews for 12 Strong

Critic Reviews for 12 Strong

All Critics (128) | Top Critics (33)

The Horse Soldiers' story is unconventional, and the film-produced by uber-slickster Jerry Bruckheimer-has been shaped along conventional war-movie lines.

January 20, 2018 | Full Review…

Although the characters are all types, the performances are strong enough that we identify with them despite their lack of depth.

January 20, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

It's all solid from a technical perspective. Where the film could have used more power is in its narrative momentum.

January 20, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Never delves deep enough to examine the larger involvement of the U.S. and those ramifications, but "12 Strong" manages to infuse heart and character into this adrenaline-fueled war film

January 19, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Fuglsig's feature debut is ultimately less an action movie and more a procedural, one in which incremental gains and minimal casualties are as much as can be hoped for.

January 19, 2018 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Shannon and Hemsworth employ all their uncomplicated masculine charisma, and the war scenes are pumped with adrenaline.

January 19, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for 12 Strong

12 Strong is an adrenaline-charged war drama based on a true story of a group of Special Forces soldiers deployed after 9-11 to take down the Taliban. Can't complain over the ensemble cast filled with my favourite actors like Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon and Michael Pena. But it's Navid Negahban as General Dostum who is the scene stealer for me. My grief about the film? The pacing was too workman-like and uninspired. The script lacked depth, and the delivery was almost boring and lacked a strong climactic end. The 12 Strong men certainly deserved better!

Chrisanne Chin
Chrisanne Chin

Super Reviewer


Everyone knows that once the Twin Towers were attacked on September 11, 2001, soldiers went into battle and wars have been occurring ever since. That part is well-known by everyone around the world. These wars will soon be talked about in history classes if they aren't already, so it goes without question that films will be made about certain aspects of the war, due to the significant impact that it has left and continues to leave. The story that 12 Strong presents is something that has been classified until recently, so it should be quite the surprise to many. There are many aspects about this film that follow the standard war film formula, but as long as it's supported by a solid cast, great sequences, and solid direction, the premise itself should be enough to carry its audience, and I believe it does just that. Now playing in theatres, here's why I think 12 Strong deserves a watch, even if not immediately. Following the first twelve men that stood up to make the first attacks after the collapse of the Twin Towers back in 2001, this movie explores the true story of courage and ambition that these men displayed for the world. As a film, it does feel slightly formulaic, due to the fact that it pretty much takes you from one location to another in a fairly simple way, but I can also see this being exactly what went down in reality, so I was able to forgive that flawed aspect pretty quickly. This is a film about intensity and the characters surrounding that intensity and for that, it succeeds with flying colors. From Chris Hemsworth to Michael Pena, Michael Shannon to a fair newcomer in Trevante Rhodes (whom I loved in 2016's Moonlight), this is a stacked film. I always appreciate when a movie delivers crazy amounts of action, while also finding the time to slow down and give each character their moments to shine. No, the character development here isn't anything to write home about, but I have to admit that I was wrapped up in each of their stories. Simple moments of characters sitting by a fire and reminiscing gets to me if it's done well, and 12 Strong accomplishes these feats quite well. This movie definitely isn't for the faint of heart in terms of gore or being turned off by too much action, because when this movie wishes to display its reign of terror on the people who have some sort of involvement in the terrorist attacks, 12 Strong does it in a very visceral manner. From showing executions to showing towns being bombed, I found this movie to be a fresh dose of reality to people who seem to forget about the horrors that go on around the world on a daily basis. As I said, there's nothing spectacular about this movie, but I think it's a little more important than people are making it out to be. Although director Michael Bay hit a high point in his career with the film 13 Hours (at least in my opinion), I feel that 12 Strong is a film that shows real promise for director Nicolai Fuglsig. This is his first mainstream outing, and I have to call it as I see it and say that I believe this man knows how to portray action on-screen and I can't wait to see the progression of his career as a filmmaker. In terms of action, I would recommend keeping an eye on this name for the future. Overall, 12 Strong is a solid and important war flick when it comes to the core story and I believe everyone should check it out at some point, but I could also recommend quite a few better movies in the same genre. Impressive filmmaking, but just good as a whole.

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

It's always amazing to me when I see another non-fiction war story that I was previously unaware of. It makes me wonder how many incredible stories we never hear about because there wasn't a book or a screenplay. 12 Strong, about the 12 Soldiers first to enter Afghanistan after 9/11, is yet another impressive true tale even if it doesn't quite reach the heights of it's real life counterparts. The most gratifying aspect to 12 Strong is the interesting bond and relationship between Chris Hemsworth's Captain Nelson and Navid Negahban's General Dostum. The two have such different viewpoints on the conflict in Afghanistan and without much context a few weeks after 9/11, the moral dilemmas the two face are clearly the staple of the film. Even with a mediocre script and direction, there's enough back and forth between the two to keep my attention. In terms of the actual war aspect to 12 Strong, it's a less than subpar affair. In a day when battles may certainly be more difficult to differentiate between sides, it seems 12 Strong accidentally played into that. While the dialogue indicates clearly to me who is "in the right", the shootouts in the desert and mountains are sporadically shot and chaotically structured. It really makes it difficult to tell what is happening where and who is getting shot or bombed. Perhaps that's exactly what the director intended because it could be closer to how the war actually is, but it doesn't play as well on film. Overall, small character moments are what makes 12 Strong worth it, but it ultimately is a forgettable war film with a real life story that is better than what was put to screen. 6.1/10

Thomas Drufke
Thomas Drufke

Super Reviewer

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