Black Hawk Down (2001)

One more Memorial Day movie for the DailyView is Black Hawk Down, the 2001 film from director Ridley Scott and starring a potpourri of actors.

Black Hawk Down tells the true story of a US Army Rangers mission into Somalia on October 3, 1993 to attempt to capture two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord. Unfortunately, this mission took a turn and resulted in a massive firefight between the US forces and a group of heavily armed Somali gunmen. The film is then a drawn out battle sequence displaying the pain and anguish associated with war as we see first hand the injured Americans suffer and die trying desperately to hold on until reinforcements could arrive.

There is a huge ensemble cast in this movie, and to be honest, half of them I could not tell who they were. With the short haircuts and the helmets and gear, when I looked at IMDb for the cast list, I kept hearing myself say… “he’s in this?” I was able to recognize Eric Bana easily enough and I spied Jeremy Piven. Josh Hartnett is the “lead” of the protagonists if there is one. There is also Tom Sizemore, Ewan McGregor, Tom Hardy, William Fichtner, Sam Shepard, Ioan Gruffudd, Jason Isaacs, Steven Ford, Orlando Bloom, Ty Burrell, Gabriel Casseus, Ewen Bremner and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

With a cast this size, one of the drawbacks of Black Hawk Down is the fact that we do not get much character development from any of the characters, save a few. And even those are limited. I honestly had a hard time knowing which characters were which and that limited the amount of concern I had for them.

Despite this, they were absolutely placed in a tense situation and I did not want to see them getting killed. There were a few emotional moments, mainly because they were the Americans and I am trained to root for them. I believe, though, that if there was more time spent on character development in the movie, I would have been more emotionally invested.

The gunfire scenes are very well done and create an anxious movie viewing experience. Again, I might have preferred to lower the sheer amount of firefights with bullets everywhere and focus in on something more human. I am afraid that the continuous gunfire desensitized me to the action scenes and made me care less.

The film looked great and the scenes where the soldiers are being shot/injured are certainly difficult to watch. I believed that these soldiers were in a situation where they were in serious jeopardy and I was unsure how they were going to be able to survive. It looked like a warzone and convinced me of the danger.

In the end, this is a very competent war movie that I would have liked to readjust some of the time given to the constant gun fighting in order to develop the characters in a deeper level. If you are a fan of war movies, this one is probably for you.

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