19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A Competent, But Familiar, War Epic That Plays To Expected Cliches,
This review is from: Age of Heroes [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I was really looking forward to "Age of Heroes" based upon the real-life World War II exploits of James Bond creator Ian Fleming. I've been a huge fan of Sean Bean for decades (not just since Lord of the Rings as is fashionable). 1988's understated gangster melodrama "Stormy Monday" is wildly underrated to my mind, and the long running Sharpe series is one of the most ambitious productions ever. I also like Danny Dyer whom I find inexplicably hilarious in even the worst of films. So I was intrigued to see these two actors, who have wildly diverse styles, collaborate again on a war film after the fascinating, but flawed, crime drama "The Outlaw." There is nothing particularly bad about "Age of Heroes," although it certainly would have benefited from a larger budget. It is, unfortunately, so utterly familiar. With so many World War II epics available on the DVD marketplace, nothing about this film particularly distinguishes itself as unique or special. It's competent, but exceedingly by-the-numbers. Sadly, as a fan of the genre and of the actors, I'm relatively apathetic about the film.
Bean plays a seasoned officer, Dyer a brash upstart. Through sheer determination, Dyer convinces Bean to allow him to join an elite squad of Commandos. I would never disrespect the actual people the film aims to represent, but I will say that (as depicted) this is one of the least special "special squads" I've ever seen. The intense training involves marching and learning to shoot a German Luger. Nothing is revealed about any of the soldiers to indicate just what makes them different from any other fighter. They are given a mission to surreptitiously invade occupied Norway and capture vital radar technology. They cross the country with the assistance of an unlikely ally, and face the enemy to try to accomplish their goal. Along the way, we meet some innocents caught in the crossfire and a preening German General fulfilling every villainous cliche that you might expect.
Again, I offer no commentary on the actual situation--just on the film. As presented, the movie screenplay just hits every familiar bit and plot developemnt that you've seen in countless other films. None of the characters is developed beyond a cursory introduction. The squad itself isn't particularly interesting, the mission isn't overly interesting, the action sequences are fine but not exceptional. I thought the movie was fine, I was just never emotionally invested in what happened. War films can have the power to devastate, inspire, horrify and/or excite the audience. "Age of Heroes" just didn't move me. I feel like I've seen the same story played out innumerable times, and often with more impact. So as much as I wanted to love "Age of Heroes," I can't really rave about it. I liked it well enough once, but it's not something that I'd go out of my way to revisit any time soon. KGHarris, 1/12.