I want to first begin this post by saying something a little different. I have several friends who are in the military and it’s a constant worry for me not only for what they do but the dangers they face every day. If you are in the service, I want to personally thank you for everything that you do. You sacrifice your lives and give everything to fight for our country and for that, I want to truly tell you what you do, no matter how small, it’s thanked by me and anyone else who knows the dangers of the world.
With that being said, please read this before continuing:
Review postings include reviews on TV shows, books, music and movies. Reviews are simply, that reviews. I include information from each section and thus this information may or may not contain spoilers. Please take the warning now, if you don’t wish to see or read any SPOILERS, do not continue reading. If you do continue to reading, disregarding this warning, please don’t blame me if something is ruined for you. I did warn you after all. Also, review postings are my opinion and I stand by them. We may not have the same opinion and thus lets not argue over it.
The story of Lone Survivor is based on actual events that took place in Afghanistan in July 2005. If you would like to read more about the events and the “operation” please click here.
Lone Survivor is directed by Peter Berg (Collateral and Battleship) and is written by Peter Berg as well as coming from the book written by Marcus Luttrell.
We begin the movie seeing the four men sleeping at their base in Afghanistan. One of the guys, Michael Murphy (played by Taylor Kitsch, John Carter and Savages) is looking to get his wife an early wedding present, at least the one she sent over, a horse. He asks Marcus Luttrell (played by Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter and Entourage) if it’s possible, he tells him yes after being woke up but it’s going to cost him. Apparently Marcus knows a guy that can get him a deal. We are introduced to the other two guys who are also just starting to wake up. Danny Dietz (played by Emile Hirsch, The Girl Next Door and Milk) who is the drawer of the group, he is also the tech guy. The other is Matt “Axe” Axelson (played by Ben Foster, The Mechanic and Pandorum), who is chatting with his girlfriend before getting started for the day. You see the guys going through their day and preparing for a new mission. They have been working on Operation Red Wings for a few weeks now, getting everything set in place and decided locations of completing the mission.
They are after a man by the name of Shah (played by Yousuf Azami, The Color of Cross and Touch). He is one of the leaders in the Taliban and they have taken over a small town in the mountains and are setting up a camp or a base there. The goal of this mission is to kill Shah and try and make a dent in the terrorism they are creating. They have set up names to use over the radio system (using liquor brands) to let those at the base know their location and to keep checking in. They set a clear system that if they miss two check ins, it’s nothing to worry about but if there is more, it may be time to raise a red flag. Their commanding officer, Erik Kristensen (played by Eric Bana, Star Trek and Hulk) has set up a system for the men using tactical military systems to not only protect the guys on the ground but the guys in the air that would be necessary if they come into any trouble.
Before they begin the mission however, a new recruit by the name of Shane Patton (played by Alexander Ludwig, The Hunger Games and The Seeker) must complete his initiation. He has to do this ridiculous dance in front of everyone (guys being guys and making it’s embarrassing) and he has to quote back their statement to live by.
“Been around twice. Talked to everyone once. Seen two whales fuck, been to three world fairs. And I met an old man in Thailand with a wooden cock. Pushed more peeter, more sweeter and more completer than any other peter pusher around. I’m a hard bodied, hairy chested, rootin’ tootin’ shootin’, parachutin’ demolition double cap crimpin’ frogman. There ain’t nothin’ I can’t do. No sky too high, no sea too rough, no muff too tough. Been a lot of lessons in my life. Never shoot a large caliber man with a small caliber bullet. Drove all kinds of trucks. 2by’s, 4by’s , 6by’s and those big mother fuckers that go ‘Shhh Shhh’ and bend in the middle. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards. I’m a lover, I’m a fighter, I’m a UDT Navy SEAL diver. I’ll wine, dine, intertwine, and sneak out the back door when the refueling is done. So if you’re feeling froggy, then you better jump, because this frogman’s been there, done that and is going back for more. Cheers boys.” – Shane Patton
He passes of course but he isn’t selected to go on the mission. He will stay back with Erik in case any trouble comes about and the guys need a rescue or the mission is complete. The guys are left near a mountain and they begin their climb in order to overlook the small village where Shah and his men have taken to hiding. The radio system they have to use for checking in doesn’t seem to be working (I am told by a friend of mine that this is a common problem) from the position they were originally supposed to be at so they find a place with a better site onto the village and a possible before signal for the system. When they settle down, Danny is left in charge of keeping an eye out for any trouble while the other guys sleep.
All seems to be quiet until a group of goats suddenly appear near where the men have taken into hiding. They are quiet and let a majority of the goats pass, but the situation is still weird. They get a hold of their guns just a three men from the village appear behind the goats, climbing up the mountain. They are well hidden but they are going to be spotted. Marcus, Michael, Axe and Danny move quickly and capture the three men who came up the mountain and found them, basically destroying their operation. They are left with three choices: kill the men, let them go and hope they don’t tell, or they can leave them tied to the trees and hope no one comes looking for them. A tough decision to make when any of them could put their lives on the line. The four men argue over what to do, all while one of the three men tied up is glaring at them.
“Fuckin’ look at them, man. They fuckin’ hate us.” – Danny Dietz
In the end, the guys make the choice of letting the three men go. The moment they do the man that was glaring at them takes down the mountain. The four soldiers head back up the mountain and decide to try and find a safe way home and to get a better radio signal. Back at the base, the guys have now missed three radio checks and the men are starting to get worried.
However, the guys have been up for a long time and are in need of some rest. They decided to hide out and wait to see what happens. Their worst fears are about to be answered when men with guns begin to search the mountain. They are completely surrounded and it’s only a matter of time before they are found. It’s time for a gun fight.
“Hey, Mikey. I’m about ready to punch that time card.” – Marcus Luttrell
And the gun fight begins pretty quickly and while the guys seem to be doing a good job knocking down men, they are severely out numbered (about 4 vs. 200). As they try and find a way out, the four of them are continually shot at and they are of course hit. This is where things start to take a turn for the worse. The guys have to make a choice of continuing where they are or try and get a way out by basically jumping off a cliff. They jump off the cliff. In this moment you are going to cringe, and also, all of them shootings are pretty graphic too. I expect all of this of course from a military movie. Anyway, the guys finally come to a stop and are pretty well banged up. Luckily they seem to have their weapons and begin to fire again at the Taliban who are making their way slowly down the mountain. As bullets fly, more of them meet their marks on Marcus, Michael, Axe and Danny. They have to make their way again down the mountain and Danny is pretty much shot up, the fingers on his drawing hand are shot off, and can barely move. He begins to go into shock when the guys pause for a moments rest.
This where things start to a take a turn for the worse again when they become almost surrounded and are forced to jump/roll off a cliff again. Marcus is carrying Danny and when he is about to jump, he is shot in the leg and drops Danny on the ground and falls over. Danny is left lying in wait for the Taliban men to find him. Axe, Michael and Marcus have once again found their barrings but have to deal with the fact that Danny got left behind and they need to get back up the mountain to help him. The problem is that the guys are starting to run low on bullets and the radio system is shot out. Michael is forced to call from a satellite radio (an unsecured line) to try and get some help. In this effort, Michael knows that he isn’t going to make it. He hands over his bullets to Marcus and basically says goodbye. Marcus quickly goes to find Axe as Marcus makes his way up the mountain.
When Marcus finds Axe, he isn’t in good shape either. His left eye is beginning to swell shut but the man can still shoot like no one I have ever seen before. He is quickly dropping men as Michael makes his way back up the mountain to an edge where the signal for help should be clear.
“Did they really shoot me in the fucking head?” – Axe
“Yeah, buddy.” – Marcus
Michael manages to make a call for help but is shot dead in the process. Axe and Marcus are forced to continue on as the Taliban men are making their way towards them. They are separated when a group of men attack and Axe is slowly dying from lack of oxygen after a bullet piercing his lung. However, Erik, Shane and other soldiers are heading towards the mountain to offer air and ground support. In this effort they are once again defeated when the Taliban men and Shah send a missile heading towards their helicopters and one is shot down. The other helicopter quickly retreats away from the area. Erik, Shane and the others have all died in the crash. Marcus tries to find Axe but a bomb goes off near him and metal pieces fly into his leg and stay there. He shoots the men coming towards him and manages to get away and have a bit of a lead. The metal pieces are effecting Marcus’s quick get away but he manages to find a small creek to get a drink of water, which he falls straight into in happiness.
When Marcus resurfaces, a group of men are standing on the other side. Marcus quickly panics and tries to make his way towards the gun he left on the bank but one of the men comes towards him. He holds out his hand and help Marcus get up. Marcus is holding a grande in his hand in case they try again. They bring Marcus to the village at the bottom of the mountain, not the village they were watching over and brings him into his home. There he introduces himself as Mohammed Gulab (played by Ali Suliman, Paradise Now and Body of Lies). Marcus is still unsure why they have brought him to the village and why they are helping him. Gulab explains Arabic why but Marcus doesn’t understand what he is saying. Gulab is going to watch over Marcus and help him return to the base. Gulab sends a messager off to the military base so Marcus can get some medical help.
“Why are you helping me?” – Marcus Luttrell
Somehow Marcus finds the strength to pull the metal pieces from his leg and when he finally passes out, Gulab and his son clean the wounds the best they can and bind them in order to stop the bleeding. Marcus rests for a bit and eat a small meal but just when things seem to be calming down, Shah and his men appear in the village looking for Marcus. They know he is there and begin searching houses for him. They find him and drag him over to an execution log. Gulab tells them he is a guest in his home and he can’t allow them to kill him. Just when it seems Marcus is going to loose his head, Gulab and other men in the village raise their weapons and warn them to leave. The men leave but warn they will return with other men and it wont end well.
Marcus is returned to Gulab’s and waiting for the military to show up. Shah and his men return to the village and another gun fight begins in order to protect Marcus. Gulab is shot while trying to protect Marcus but in the end the United States military shows up and basically shoots down of the Taliban men that are attacking the village. Marcus is pulled to safety, wanting to Gulab and his son with him to the base but they can’t. While he is in flight to the base, Marcus begins to lose consciousness. Once he arrives at the base it’s a fight to save his life, due to the blood loose and his wounds. Marcus survives all of his wounds and blood loss but he will never be the same.
“Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and fear of reputation that I am bound to uphold. I died up on that mountain. There is no question, a part of me will forever be up on that mountain, dead, as my brothers died. But there is a part of me that lived, because of my brothers. Because of them I am still alive. And I can never forget, but no matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets or no matter how far you fall, you are never out of the fight.” – Marcus Luttrell
This movie is definitely one not to miss. I went with a couple of friends and we all agreed it was a great movie. I do want to stress something however, it is very very graphic. There are a lot scenes where you will probably not want to look and you really need to take the rated “R” thing very seriously. I realized going in it was a military movie and I was going to have to deal with seeing somethings I wouldn’t normally see but even I had a hard time watching some of the things that happened. The roll down the mountain was probably the worst for me and seeing them bounce off stuff like a common rock. The storyline and how things happen however makes the movie flow beautifully and you never feel like the movie is too long or if it’s going to be a waste. I was intrigued with it from beginning to end. I give this movie 10 out of 10 stars. I would recommend you see it but please keep in mind the the warning of graphic images. The end of the movie also goes through a real of the men who were involved in Operation Red Wing and explains why Gulab and his village protected Marcus the way they did (this I recommend having tissues for).
Below is the image of the real men behind Operation Red Wing:
And here is a link from Entertainment Weekly that did an article on the movie that I that was interesting. Please watch the video too. Click here.