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BLACK HAWK DOWN (2001)
It was going to be a routine mission, over in less than an hour. An elite group of Rangers and Delta Force soldiers are sent into Mogdishu to capture a warlord's advisors. What started out as a mission in goodwill, will end up as a military blunder. Black Hawk Down is a story about the bravery and heroism in dire circumstances.
Director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Gladiator) brings you Black Hawk Down, a thrilling war movie based on a true event that happened on October 3, 1993 in Somalia.
Ken Nolan authored the screen play, based on the book by Mark Bowden.
Tag Line: "Leave No Man Behind"
It was going to be a routine mission, over in less than an hour. An elite group of Rangers and Delta Force soldiers are sent into the heart of Mogdishu's hostile zone to capture two of a cruel warlord's top advisors. But when one of the Helicopters is shot down the mission loses its inciative and the soldiers find themselves fighting a city enraged. What started out as a mission in goodwill, will end up as a military blunder. Black Hawk Down is a story about the bravery and heroism in dire circumstances.
The review The Footage has a washed out blue-ish tint and shows a destitute and ravaged somalia. A man preforms the burial rites on a dead loved one. Everywhere people lie starving. Words appear on the screen giving a brief overview of the events leading up to the mission on October 3, 1993.
After years of civil war, the Somalians are facing a famine of 'biblical preportions'. It is 1992 and already 300,000 civilians have straved to death. The international community takes notice and brings in aid, only to have various warlords take the food and use it for their armies. Approximately 20,000 marines are sent in and restore order. One warlord, Mohomed Farrah Adid, waits until the marines withdraw in April of 1993 and then declares war on the remaining UN peacekeepers. In August a group of Rangers, Delta Force and the 160th SOAR arrive with the three week mission of capturing Adid and bringing him to war trials. Six weeks later the has not been completed.
On October 3rd, they get a tip that a meeting is going to be taking place between some of Adid's leutinents, in the Bakara Market ,the heart of Adid's strong hold in the city. A surprise attack is launched,in the middle of the day , in a totally hostile neighborhood. First the deltas are helicopered in on the little birds and they infiltrate the building , and secure the prisoners. Four Chalks of Rangers rope in off of the Black Hawks and secure the perimeter. Then the Humvess come in and pack everyone up and out. But when one of the Black Hawks is hit by an RPG and crashes several blocks away from the target area, all hell breaks lose. When a second black hawk is hit and crashes things get even worse. The rangers find themselves out numbered, fighting for their lives and the lives of their fellow soldiers as they lost heir mission objective and fight to secure the crash sites.
However this film is not so much about the politics, and the overal situation as much as it is about the men who fought that day. That tag line,'leave no man behind' explains the message of Black Hawk Down and the mantra of those who lived it perfectly. Black Hawk Down is about caring about some one else's life more than your own .
The beginning of the film is mostly character development and with an esemble cast containing 35 speaking parts. Add in the fact that they are all dressed in miltary garb and cuts , things can get confusing if one isn't paying attention. Here's a helpful hint, the delta guys have regular hair and get to wear "cool" sunglasses, everyone else has the miltary cut. But if one really wants to make it easy on themselves, just know that they are all american soldiers and they will all look exactly alike with dirt all over their faces and after the fighting starts the technically and artistically great battle scenes which give this picture an R rating. Think Saving Private Ryan in Africa kind of realistic battle scenes.
It is to a great credit to the makers of this film that they wanted to make this picture as accurate as posible in order to honor those who died that day. The actors went through a one week boot camp with real rangers and deltas. The miltary was also closely involved with the shooting of the picture. Real Black Hawks were used (flown by real SOAR guys) and in some of the shots there are real rangers jumping out of them. Out of the thirty five there are several key characters.
Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbor, Hollywood Homicide) plays Sgt. Matt Eversmann , a ranger, who is the idealist of the group. Everson's believes that there is two things that they can do in Somalia, either sit back and watch ' a country tear it self a part on CNN' or help. This is the first mission as chaulk leader and he is anxious to do the right thing. Hartnett is perfect for the role of Eversman. His character convey's to the audience what it should, a noble but slightly 'wet behind the ears' soldier.
Ewan McGregor (Molin Rouge, Star Wars Episode One & Two) loses his british accident for his part as the bitter and frustrated Spec. Danny Grimes, a ranger who has been trapped behing a desk for his miltary career. While every one else has gotten to be a ranger, he has been spending his days smoking ciggarettes, drinking coffee, and making wise cracks while entering data into the computer. " I made coffee through desert storm!" he sneers. That Sunday, things are different when an accident occurs while horsing around in the barracks , resulting in Grimes gets his wish . He is getting sent in on a mission. Grimes character arc is one of the most interesting of the film as we see him go from self assured office guy, to a scared disscheved rookie, to a seasoned soldier who can make good coffeee under battle conditions.
Jason Isacc (The Patriot, Windtalkers) is Capt. Steele, the stern fatherfigure/teacher of the rangers. He feels that the brazen and hot shot attitudes of the Deltas is disrupting the discipline of his rangers.
Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan, Natural Born Killers) is Lt.Col. Danny McKnight who was the highest ranking officer on the ground that day. He plays the tough warhorse in charge of the Humvee caravan. Sizemore's portrayal of McKnight is reminsant of John Wayne's of Lt. Col.Ben Vandervoort in The Longest Day (1962). Two of the Delta's that get the most screen time are SFC Jeff Snaderson and SFC 'Hoot' Gibson.
William Fitchtner (Pearl Harbor, Go) is SFC Sanderson, who takes Grimes under his wing during the heavy fighting. SFC 'Hoot' Gibson is hot Austrian newcommer Eric Bana (The Hulk) . 'Hoot' is a sort of posterboy for the army. He has seen a lot of action, and thus is a wise, successful solider. He has absolute loyality to his fellow soliders and demostrates countless acts of compassion and bravery.
Sam Shepard is the burdened Maj. Gen. William F. Garrison in charge of the operation in Somalia. He is your typical insert midwestern/southern state) miltary general type.
Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Lord of the Rings) has a small role as the young and eager Private Blackburn.
The ongoing excahnges between Spec. Shawn Nelson (played by Ewen Bremner) and Spec. Lance Twomby (played by Tom Hardy) are a bit of comic relief from all the carnage. It is in the way that the two talk and the facial expressions that they use that bring a smile to the face. After the first Black Hawk goes down , all of chalk four is the first sent to the crash site. Except for Twomby and Nelson, who are left behind to keep up the perimeter for the humvees. In all the confusion the humvees leave without them and they are stuck there shooting , protecting nothing. After a while they decided to go find the crash sight. On their way there, Twomby fires his weapon one too many times too close to Nelson's head, resulting in Nelson going deaf, with slightly comical results.
The most touching moment of the whole film is after the second black hawk is shot down. Two Delta's volunteer to secure the downed chopper against the thousands of somalis that are heading towards it . After roping down they find the lone survivor of the crash, C.W.O. Mike Durant (Ron Eldard). They protect him until they run out of bullets and are killed. The injured Durant, however is captured. It brings tears to the eyes to watch him grasp at a picture of his son while he is beaten by the mob.
Grimes (to Blackburn) - " I have a rare and mysterious skill that precludes me from doing missions." Blackburn - " Typing."
"You Americans don't smoke anymore. You lead long, dull, and uneventful lives." - Abdullahi Hassan
"Y'know what I think? Fon't really matter what I think. Once that first bullet goes past your head, politics and all that shit justgoes right out the window." - 'Hoot'
"People ask me, why do you do it man? They don't understand, its about the men next to you. That's all it is." - 'Hoot'.