(3.5 STARS) Decent If Not Very Special French War Action,
This review is from: Special Forces [Region 2] (DVD)
With an immediate subject matter, stunning locations, and solid acting from an attractive cast including Diane Kruger, Djimon Hounsou, Benoît Magimel and cameo Tchéky Karyo, a 2011 French movie "Special Forces" ("Forces spéciales") has potential for a great action movie, which the film almost is. The film has all the ingredients of a great action film but one: a script.
In "Special Forces" Diane Kruger plays a French journalist Elsa, who is kidnapped with her friend Amen (Mehdi Nebbou) by a Taliban leader Ahmed Zaief (Raz Degan) in Afghanistan. To rescue Elisa and Amen, now imprisoned in a fortress in Pakistan, the French government sends out a team of six Special Forces soldiers led by Sgt. Kovax (Djimon Hounsou).
What follows is a standard war action film with fierce combat sequences and heroism. The film's story moves along fast, keeping you interested with decent action set-pieces and impressive aerial shots, but about halfway through the film, where the rescue team encounters an obstacle or two, "Special Forces" suddenly gets slower. The French soldiers and freed prisoners have to fight not only the Taliban soldiers chasing them, but the harsh nature of the Afghanistan / Pakistan border.
Some characters are stock types, but the cast has turned in solid performances. The beautiful on-location shots (filmed in Tajikistan and Djibouti) are authentic, lending credibility to the all-too-familiar storyline. Acting and locations aside, however, the film clearly needs improvement, especially its storytelling that tends to be sluggish in the second half of the film. Also, if I am wrong, please correct me, but some part of the story (an elite military team without a backup plan, for instance) seems hardly credible.
All in all "Special Forces" is a respectable effort, but does not break any new ground.