"12 Strong" is a war film that delves into the true story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11. Directed by Nicolai Fuglsig and released on January 19, 2018, the movie showcases the valor and determination of these soldiers in the face of overwhelming odds.
Following the devastating attacks on September 11, 2001, the U.S. government sends a Special Forces team, codenamed Task Force Dagger, to Afghanistan.
Led by Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth), the team is assigned to join forces with Northern Alliance leader General Abdul Rashid Dostum (Navid Negahban) to fight against the Taliban.
With limited resources and using unconventional tactics, including riding on horseback, the team must navigate challenging terrains and cultural differences to accomplish their mission.
Cast and Characters:
- Captain Mitch Nelson (Chris Hemsworth): The passionate and determined leader of Task Force Dagger, who pushes his team to their limits to achieve their mission.
- Chief Warrant Officer Hal Spencer (Michael Shannon): Nelson's right-hand man, a seasoned soldier with a deep understanding of the stakes.
- Sergeant First Class Sam Diller (Michael Peña): A key member of the team, bringing humor and heart to the intense situation.
- General Abdul Rashid Dostum (Navid Negahban): The leader of the Northern Alliance, he forms an unlikely bond with Nelson as they navigate the complexities of war and politics.
Where to Stream
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The movie was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Molly Smith, Thad Luckinbill, and Trent Luckinbill. The screenplay was written by Ted Tally and Peter Craig, based on the non-fiction book "Horse Soldiers" by Doug Stanton.
Filming took place in New Mexico, which doubled for the mountainous terrains of Afghanistan. The challenges during production included capturing the authenticity of the early days of the Afghan war and the unique aspect of modern soldiers fighting on horseback. The film had a budget of approximately $35 million.
Reception and Awards:
Critical reception: Critics had mixed reviews about "12 Strong." While the performances, especially Hemsworth's, were praised, some felt the narrative lacked depth. The portrayal of the bond between the U.S. soldiers and the Afghan allies was appreciated by many.
Audience reception: The film was generally well-received by audiences for its action sequences and the untold story of the first soldiers in Afghanistan post-9/11.
"12 Strong" didn't secure major film awards but was recognized for its intense action sequences and the portrayal of a lesser-known chapter in the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
Trivia and Fun Facts:
- The real soldiers from Task Force Dagger were involved in the film's production to ensure accuracy and authenticity.
- The use of practical effects and real locations added to the film's realism, avoiding an over-reliance on CGI for battle sequences.
- Chris Hemsworth underwent intensive military training to prepare for his role, including learning to ride a horse.
- The bond between Captain Nelson and General Dostum is central to the story, highlighting the importance of alliances and understanding in warfare.
"12 Strong" offers a glimpse into the early days of the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, highlighting the bravery and determination of soldiers in challenging circumstances.