In addition to Negahban's calm, measured performance, we see a character with a rich backstory, someone who has been embroiled in conflict for pretty much his entire life, suffered personal losses, and understands the difference between a soldier and a warrior.
Now, as the film amplifies the story, the world will finally see the story of these heroic fighters who fired the first shots.
A longtime Hollywood power player with a slew of blockbuster action flicks (the "Bad Boys" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchises among many others) to his credit, Bruckheimer also shepherded Ridley Scott's "Black Hawk Down" to both minor commercial success and considerable critical acclaim and that's probably why he's been leading the charge on "12 Strong" since 2011 when he optioned the book "Horse Soldiers" by Doug Stanton. As they and their men get to know each other, the two men find commonalities and begin to work together to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
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The mission, codenamed Task Force Daggers, was led by Green Beret Captain Mitch Nelson. Our kids think he's the best dad.
The only moments where 12 Strong becomes remotely interesting is when we get a glimpse of Dostum.
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The Afghans are grateful that the Americans are stepping in and feel a great responsibility for them. But the biggest challenge for some of them was the one thing they weren't trained for: Riding horses, which were the ordinary means of transport for Afghans in this hard terrain.
All the same, the tone here is familiar and unvarying - it's all macho, all the time, which comes across as a peculiar mixture of appealing, juvenile, sexy, retrograde, jingoistic and fantasy-inspiring.
Not everyone knows the story of the first US combat forces in Afghanistan after 9/11. "It was just a matter of fact, this is my job". The sight of Captain Nelson riding on horseback into the face of Taliban missiles while bombs dropped by B-52s explode all around him is admittedly arresting and it's impossible not to root for this good bunch of guys. What's they've made is, from the American perspective, a feel-good movie about Afghanistan, something it took Jerry Bruckheimer to figure out how to do.
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With that out of the way, "12 Strong" doesn't rehash the same story yet again (although it opens with footage of the collapse of the Twin Towers), likely won't depress you and might actually provide you with a tad of uplift and a modicum of national pride.