Lone Survivor is a serious change for the better for Battleship bomb maker Peter Berg. It’s based on the thoughtful memoirs of now-retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the sole man left alive out of 20 U.S. soldiers caught in a 2005 firefight in the mountains of Afghanistan’s Kunar province.
For all of its macho intensity — booming bullets, whirling chopper blades and falling bodies — Lone Survivor isn’t just another war movie. We see the conflict from both sides, although the American one gets the most screen time and our immediate sympathies.
Mark Wahlberg plays Luttrell, part of a “fire team” quartet of SEALs dropped by helicopter into a mountainous Taliban stronghold. The others are team leader Michael “Murph” Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), gunner’s mate Danny “Danny Boy” Dietz (Emile Hirsch) and sonar ace Matthew “Axe” Axelson (Ben Foster). The actors are almost unrecognizable behind scruffy beards but they all deliver the goods.
Berg is showing, and perhaps fully accepting for the first time, that the acrid smoke of war never completely lifts, even when you are staring into the face of your supposed enemy.
Extras include several making-of featurettes.
RoboCop 2014 should by rights be a sleeker ride than Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 predecessor, given all the CGI advances since then, yet it clanks where it ought to purr.
The essential story remains, pushed to 2028 from the previous mid-1990s setting, but still set in a blighted Detroit. Brave young Detroit cop Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman of TV’s The Killing) falls prey to a vengeful car bomb set by the stooges of a local crime lord. Tech giant Omnicorp — bossing by Michael Keaton, brains by Gary Oldman — has the robofix to get Alex back on the beat with a bionic bod and slightly scrambled noggin.
There was a rude logic to Verhoeven’s vision, because it was a really grim story that both satirized and eulogized the bullet-ridden American Dream.
In the almost laugh-free remake, people stand around a lot talking about the ethics of biomechanics, and fussing over family and business matters, rather than just setting RoboCop loose to blast away.
Extras include deleted scenes and making-of featurettes.