Action/war drama based on the best-selling book detailing a near-disastrous mission in Somalia on October 3, 1993. On this date nearly 100 U.S. Army Rangers, commanded by Capt. Mike Steele, were dropped by helicopter deep into the capital city of Mogadishu to capture two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord. This led to a large and drawn-out firefight between the Army Ranges, US Special Forces, and hundreds of Somali gunmen; resulting in the destruction of two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters. The film focuses on the heroic efforts of various Rangers to get to the downed black hawks, centering on SSG Eversmann, leading the Ranger unit Chalk Four to the first black hawk crash site, Chief Warrant Officer Durant who was captured after being the only survivor of the second black hawk crash, as well as many others who were involved. Written by
Matthew Patay: revised by Corbin L.
Twenty soldiers lost their lives during the raid. The epilogue lists 19. Eighteen of the soldiers who died were Army Rangers and Delta Force members or Task Force 160 aircrew. There were also two soldiers, Pfc. James Martin from 2-14 Infantry and Sgt. Cornell Houston of the 41st Engineer Bn.--which was attached to the 2-14, 10th Mountain Div.--who died during the battles of 3/4 October. The combined task force of 2-14 along with members of the 41st Engineers were the Army unit sent in to rescue the Rangers. Matt Rierson, who is also in the list, died two days after the battle when Somali mortar-men bombarded the base (as they did every evening, usually to no effect). A Malaysian soldier and a Pakistani soldier who were part of the rescue convoy were also killed in the fighting. See more »
Black Hawk Down is first and foremost an immensely effective war film, but beyond that, its one of the most subtly differently made war films ever. Most war films usually either have a single hero through whom we see everything (i.e. Platoon), or present us with a squad of soldiers, all of whom are identifiable "types" (i.e. Saving Private Ryan). Black Hawk Down takes a different approach, instead giving us a very wide array of characters, none clearly singled out as a hero or type to command the audience's attention. The general effect is to create that feeling of a team army that George C. Scott so ardently expounded to us at the start of Patton. Furthering this feel of military professionalism, the film never cheapens itself by putting too much emotional weight into one moment. The plot moves ahead at a constant pace, cutting from location to location, without slowing down to focus too much on individual soldiers. The effect is of watching documentary footage of a real military operation gone wrong. While the effect of this scripting approach may produce some detachment among viewers on the first viewing, it makes the film all the better on subsequent viewings.
And you'd better believe there will be subsequent viewings, because Ridley Scott has created one of cinema's all-time great pieces of eye candy here. The editing, cinematography, grading, scoring and visual effects all combine to leave a viewer just as drained upon leaving the theatre as these soldiers were on leaving Mogadishu. The intensity of this film's combat is easily equal to Saving Private Ryan, and leaves such pretenders as We Were Soldiers behind in the dust. Black Hawk Down lacks the former's emotional resonance, but unlike the latter, it thrives on the fact, creating a final product as mind-challenging in its construction as it is mind-blowing its visualization.
243 of 295 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?