The film draws from Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down and Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, functioning not only as a document of a tactical military operation gone awry, but also as an inspirational tale of brotherhood and survival. As is to be expected, the requisite amount of gung-ho patriotism is on display here, but it's applied with discretion — not slathered on — to ensure that it doesn't overshadow the humanity of the story, which is paramount. Events don't just unfold as a series of calculated military moves, although there's enough strategizing to satisfy die-hard war buffs. The performances of the actors communicate the emotional toll of every decision, and we feel the impact of every life lost. The film also reminds audiences that war isn't black and white, but shades of grey, and that there is always the human element that can shift the tides of a conflict.
4 out of 5.