Black Hawk Down
On October 3, 1993, Army Rangers and members of the elite Delta Force participated in a covert operation in Mogadishu, Somalia that went horribly wrong. Sent to abduct two lieutenants of a vicious Somali warlord, the soldiers found themselves surrounded by hostile militia. Two Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and many men lost their lives. Mark Bowden of the Philadelphia Inquirer told the story of the battle in his exhaustively researched, critically acclaimed book, BLACK HAWK DOWN, and filmmaker Ridley Scott (GLADIATOR) and screenwriter Ken Nolan have done an amazing job of bringing the dramatic story to the screen. Like Bowden's book, the film does not thoroughly examine the context of the conflict, but gives a detailed and intense blow-by-blow account of the fighting. The outstanding ensemble cast includes Josh Hartnett as a competent but nervous Ranger sergeant leading his first mission, Ewan McGregor as a "desk jockey" who excels when sent into combat, Eric Bana (THE INCREDIBLE HULK) as a cocky and enigmatic Delta, and Ron Eldard as a downed Black Hawk pilot. The violence of the film is brutal and nearly constant. Scott unflinchingly captures the chaos and mayhem of battle with tremendous visual finesse.
Tears Of The Sun
Lt. Waters (Bruce Willis) and his elite team of US Navy SEALS have their work cut out for them when they are dispatched to war-torn Nigeria with orders to rescue an American citizen, Dr. Lena Kendricks (Monica Bellucci). The mission is pretty cut and dry except for one glitch: Dr. Kendricks will have to abandon the natives to whom she has been providing healthcare and those that work in the mission where her rudimentary hospital is located. Of course, Dr. Kendricks refuses to leave without her people, forcing Lt. Waters to choose between completing his orders as directed or putting the lives of his men on the line by helping the refugees cross the border to Cameroon on foot. To complicate matters, the group is being pursued by militant guerillas who destroy everything in their path. Willis is in top DIE HARD form as Lt. Waters, a tough-as-nails military man who confronts his conscience and makes decisions that surprise even him as he finds himself influenced by the stubborn Dr. Kendricks. Directed by Antoine Fuqua (TRAINING DAY), this film offers an enlightening and disturbing look at the conditions that permeate war-torn countries.
Casualties Of War
After being denied the chance to go to a nearby village to visit a prostitute before starting a reconnaissance mission, a tough, embittered American sergeant (Sean Penn) involves the four men of his patrol in the kidnapping of a young Vietnamese woman. The impending gang rape and murder of the woman splits the patrol into two factions--those for it, and those against it--with young Eriksson (Michael J. Fox) leading the dissension. But before long, the sergeant has convinced everyone but Eriksson to go along with the plan, making an already difficult mission unbearable for the morally conscious young soldier. Penn gives a powerful performance in this brutal, thoughtful war film from a script by playwright David Rabe (HURLYBURLY). In addition to Penn and Fox, this Brian De Palma movie features early screen roles by John C. Reilly, John Leguizamo, and Ving Rhames."