30 June 2012 | Argemaluco
Nothing brilliant, but a decent action film
At first sight, it would seem that Special Forces is one of many cheap straight-to-DVD action films. The art of its Blu-Ray box couldn't have been more generic; its title doesn't say too much; and its cast has some famous actors, but none of them is a big star. However, the reality is very different...Special Forces is a polished French production made with enough money to compete with Hollywood films from this type, something which gave it the opportunity of being filmed in spectacular natural settings, employing genuine military hardware, and orchestrate action scenes with high technical and visual values. However, the screenplay from Special Forces has various clichés, and it looks like the one of any typical B-movie we could find on some TV channel at night.
The screenplay from Special Forces is developed through a familiar road, even though with enough deviations in order to keep a moderate suspense and the obligatory melodrama which works in order to humanize the characters with picturesque glimpses to the their nature and occasional details about their personal lives. Sometimes, this "humanization" works, and sometimes, it doesn't, depending on how well it's integrated to the story. For example, we know that one of the soldiers wants to go back home in order to witness his son's birth, and even though that's not a very original reason,it's enough for justifying his impatient attitude and desperate actions; but other characters lack of definition, and as a consequence, they fall into the involuntary anonymity; so, when one of them dies in combat and the film portrays the pain from his colleagues, it's difficult for us to share those emotions, and instead of sadness, we feel a slight boredom.
However, Special Forces kept me generally entertained despite not being a highly memorable film. One of the aspects I most liked from this movie is the way it examines the reasons why the French government would invest so many resources and risk themselves to provoke an international incident in order to rescue a journalist they didn't care about when she was doing her job; and I also liked to see a similar questioning between the soldiers themselves, specially when things start going wrong and it seems that they won't survive the mission...Is it worthy to sacrifice a dozen of loyal soldiers in order to save only one life? Where does the humanitarian mission end and where does the political manipulation begin?
The actors from Special Forces make an adequate work, highlighting Diane Kruger and Djimon Hounsou. The cinematography is excellent, and the action scenes are well filmed. On the negative side, some action sequences look incompatible with the characters' profession. I mean, I'm not an expert in military strategy, but there are some moments which draw the attention for the foolishness these "elite soldiers", who are supposedly trained for any situation, commit. Nevertheless, I had a good time while watching Special Forces, and even though it's not something brilliant, I can give it a moderate recommendation.