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Elite Squad

126 customer reviews

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Elite Squad + Elite Squad: The Enemy Within + City Of God
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An action-packed thriller that follows an elite police battalion (BOPE) tasked with cleaning up a drug-ridden Rio de Janeiro slum in advance of the pope's 1997 visit. A team of trained killers, they struggle to do what's right in a corrupt system and dangerous neighborhood.

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Though José Padilha's action-packed crime drama won the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival, a steady stream of controversy and acclaim has followed in its wake. Some critics have even accused the director of promoting fascism, while Padilha (Bus 174) contends that Elite Squad argues against police brutality. Like Vic Mackey, who heads up The Shield's LA strike force, narrator Captain Nascimento (Wagner Moura) heads up Rio de Janeiro's Police Special Operations Battalion (BOPE). It’s 1997, the Pope arrives for a visit in six months, and BOPE will stop at nothing to reduce crime in the favelas. The way they see it, drug traffickers have them outmanned and outgunned, so there's no point in playing by the rules. With their black uniforms and berets, the Skulls certainly cut an imposing figure. New police recruits Neto (Caio Junqueira) and aspiring lawyer Matias (André Ramiro) turn to Nascimento when their efforts to operate by the book only lead to frustration (Matias was inspired by author/law student/BOPE member André Batista). The burned-out captain sees his salvation in the two childhood friends; as soon as he selects a replacement, he plans to leave the force and spend time with his pregnant wife. Nascimento may find his man, but the ending is far from happy. Brutal and bleakly funny, Elite Squad depicts 1990s Rio as Danté's Ninth Circle of Hell. Nonetheless, Brazilians made the film an even bigger sensation than City of God, to which it serves as an essential companion piece. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Wagner Moura, André Ramiro, Caio Junqueira, Milhem Cortaz, Fernanda Machado
  • Directors: José Padilha
  • Writers: José Padilha, André Batista, Bráulio Mantovani, John Kaylin, Luiz Eduardo Soares
  • Producers: Bia Castro
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Portuguese
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Weinstein Company
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2008
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001CDFY2I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,409 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Elite Squad" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 71 people found the following review helpful By Don Federico on November 13, 2008
Format: DVD
I loved this movie. It was largely panned by American critics, never even making it to American theaters, except for maybe one or two in NYC (none in LA).

The film provided a valid, complex viewpoint of some of the problems that modern-day Brazil faces. If you look at comments of reviews of this film on major publications' web sites (like NYTimes, LA Times, etc), you will see that the overwhelming majority of comments are from Brazilians who: 1) loved the movie, and 2) stated that the movie got the situation right.

The film shows the point of view of patriotic police officers that want to do right by their country, although they are confounded by their fellow police officers, the well-armed drug dealers, the bought-off constituents of the slums (favelas), as well as the leftist middle class that excoriates the police on the one hand for its heavy handed tactics as well as its corruption while at the same time sustaining the local drug lords by buying their product.

It is the film's viewpoint towards the leftist middle class that I think doomed the film to never get a proper showing in the US. That, and the fact that this "honest" police force feels obligated (and in the eyes of some in the viewing public, justified) to use extra-judicial, heavy handed tactics to get results in fighting crime.

SEE THIS FILM!
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Colin P. Lindsey VINE VOICE on October 19, 2008
Format: DVD
Wow, what a great movie! Let me first say that I am extremely picky about movies and have found myself watching fewer and fewer as time goes by, mostly because most movies now seem to be boring and pointless. So when I do, on a rare occassion, enjoy a movie, for me it is unusual. I didn't just enjoy this movie though, I loved it. In fact, I did that rarest of things I watched it twice!

This movie focuses on the efforts of an elite Brazilian police unit in Rio and their efforts to reduce drug-related crimes. It is violent, compelling, entertaining and a first-class movie experience. Why? Because this movie avoids all the stereotypes of other cops versus drug-dealer movies, especially the simplified good guys vs. bad guys Hollywood take. It is also surprising and rewarding to see the drug war through the eyes of Brazilian culture as opposed to an American view.

The movie focuses on two young policemen, their experiences in the corrupt local police force, and their progression into joining the ranks of BOPE, the "Elite Squad" of the movie title. It is narrated by Captain Nascimento, the leader of a BOPE squad who is desperately trying to find a replacement for himself because after ten years in BOPE the stress and tension is causing him severe physical reactions, and he longs to spend time with his wife and newly born son.

This movie is AWESOME for two reasons I believe. One is that the voice of Nascimento is compelling and beautifully haunting; just listening to him speak in Portuguese as the movie plays will send shivers and chills through your body. Do not ever, ever, get a dubbed version of this movie, it would destroy the magic here. The second reason is that the movie is so highly realistic.
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46 of 51 people found the following review helpful By I. Wan VINE VOICE on October 31, 2008
Format: DVD
The movie is quite violent, so it will appeal to action movie fans, but more than that, it is a social movie.

I was born and raised in Rio, close to one of the many favelas in that city.

Years ago, I attended the same university one of the characters in the movie did. The students there are accurately depicted. They are upper middle class students that preach peace and social services, but while doing that, they also smoke pot. When I didn't see any problems at the time, but now, I can see the hypocrisy of preaching peace, but also financing the violence by smoking pot.

I also have a really good high school friend that's a Capitain now in the PM (Military Policy). He's not part of that Elite Squad, but he's an honest cop. So while severly underpaid, there ARE honest cops out there.

Not really a movie review, but a rant, but this movie was quite realistic and nostalgic for me.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Shyam on March 25, 2008
Format: DVD
or something roughly translated to that effect is the motto of BOPE, The Brazilian special operations police outfit.

The story 'Tropa De Elite' tells the story of Captain Nascimiento, a captain in a BOPE squad, who because of personal and family issues wishes to relinquish his command and is in search of a worthy successor for his job. The story is a parallel to the life of 2 close friends, Neto and Matias, young and idealistic who join up with the regular police force and quickly learn the murky truth behind the corruption and extent to which it has permeated to the entire echelons of the police force. Frustrated with their role at being mere facilitators of this level of corrupt activities, they decide to take charge and do some good for the society as well as the police force.
I will not get into the specific details for the sake of sounding like a spolier, but during the course of this they come into contact with Captain Nascimiento during a hostile interaction with drug dealers from the favelas and they sign up for BOPE.
The rest of the movie revolves around the completely different personalities of Neto and Matias and how the Captain must decide who has more courage, integrity and dedication among the two friends, for the job of a BOPE captain.

One of the most intense scenes in the movie, is the course of the BOPE training that Neto and Matias have to endure.

Additonally, It also deals in a very humane manner as to the pressures the people in BOPE face and thei families as well, much to the romanticism of the whole concept, their lives are equally under a great deal of stress and issues.
But it conveys a very brutal and realistic truth, as to who actually encourages drugs and their sales and the inevitable violence that accompanies it.
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