Forces spéciales (2011) Poster

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10/10
Great Movie!
dustyn-barlow29 April 2015
Wow wow wow where to begin... I started this movie with the expectation that it was going to be just a campy B-Movie, with some cool action scenes and cheesy one liners (with a generic name like "Special Forces"). Little did I know I sat through 2 hours of the best choreographed, best acted, and most heart wrenching tale, I have seen in a long time. It is pretty much the French version of Sole Survivor. Djimon Hounsou strikes again as one of the best actors I have ever seen, I consider my self a "tough guy", but his emotional moments had me fighting back the tears. Another favorite character of mine was Raphaël Personnazs' character of the Rookie Elias. He was that guy we all want to be when we think of a hero. He always acts without regard to himself to save lives, and is torn apart seeing Innocent people killed, but the movie does a good job of showing that war is a terrible thing. Lastly as being someone whom served in Afghanistan, I can say the military choreography was spot on. The actors did an excellent job of of reenacting combat. This is a must see and I already ordered the Blue Ray off Amazon, because this is a must watch, and I want it in my movie library. 5 out of 5
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Much better than I expected
Jean-Marc Liotier5 November 2011
Starts as the expected showy advertising for French armed forces (I love the genre but I understand it may not be everybody's cup of tea), then masquerades as some attempt at a lame military action storyline... And then before you know it you find yourself emotionally pulled into a story that provides its share of insights into the contemporary meaning of being a professional soldier. Obviously heavy support from the French armed forces to the production enables the attention to detail that provides credible full immersion into the environment through many vignettes. Stunning landscapes make that even better. Sure, a couple of tactical choices and implausible coincidences pivotal to the story look like concessions to the necessities of a Hollywood movie scenario... But I'll gladly forgive that - and the use of music too : the temptations of becoming a documentary or a caricature have been resisted after all, and what's left is an engaging survival story that will catch an audience far wider than the military niche.
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4/10
Decent action movie that loses itself halfway through
D-Sligar25 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, overall this was a pretty decent action film and all looked well up to half-way through the film. It was at this point the writer MUST have forgotten he had elite men in the special forces as the main characters. Why do I say this?

*** SPOILERS *** How is it that almost the entire team gets wiped out by the end and the waifish reporter is the only one that initially makes it out? The film will boggle your senses as you see the "elite" making some major boneheaded decisions that end up in them getting seriously injured or killed. Secondly, how is it that out of the entire team NONE of them carried any type of mass-injury inflicting devices; i.e., grenades and claymores (okay, they had at least one... but JUST one)??? You can clearly see the grenade launchers attached to their weapons, but not once do you see them use it.

Finally, the thing that really kills the movie is the entire lack of credibility given the shear numbers of "taliban-types" involved in the movie. You'd think they were like cockroaches hiding under every stone, nook and cranny... not to mention they never seem to die. When they initially go in to rescue the reporter, the team killed practically ALL of the taliban in the small hideout, then the leader shows up with maybe 10-12 more. The team ends up dropping at least half that number but the taliban keep increasing in numbers as if they're spawning in a freakin video game!!!

Then, when the choppers come in for extraction, do they have ANY type of air support at all? Nope, and a easily shoulder-launched rocket takes one out before they're even in the zone. Does the commander; er, admiral, send in another, better prepared extraction package? Nope, pretty much just leaves them s.o.l. Total b.s. and the lack of skill shown by the special forces team made it even worse. Not to mention the cost of lives just to save one reporter from a tenacious antagonist that proceeds with one-track terminator-like intent... not even worth it!

*** END SPOILERS ***

I kept wanting to just shut off the film after seeing all this b.s. just keep popping up, yet forced myself to finish the movie just to see if things ever got better. Nope, never did... suck waste of time. The film shots were nice, but there was hardly any dialogue total lack of character development. Watch only if there's nothing else on and you need an action movie fix (though, suspend rational thought when you do so). Not terrible, but not good either.
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7/10
Nothing brilliant, but a decent action film
Argemaluco30 June 2012
At first sight, it would seem that Special Forces is one of many cheap straight-to-DVD action films. The art of its Blu-Ray box couldn't have been more generic; its title doesn't say too much; and its cast has some famous actors, but none of them is a big star. However, the reality is very different...Special Forces is a polished French production made with enough money to compete with Hollywood films from this type, something which gave it the opportunity of being filmed in spectacular natural settings, employing genuine military hardware, and orchestrate action scenes with high technical and visual values. However, the screenplay from Special Forces has various clichés, and it looks like the one of any typical B-movie we could find on some TV channel at night.

The screenplay from Special Forces is developed through a familiar road, even though with enough deviations in order to keep a moderate suspense and the obligatory melodrama which works in order to humanize the characters with picturesque glimpses to the their nature and occasional details about their personal lives. Sometimes, this "humanization" works, and sometimes, it doesn't, depending on how well it's integrated to the story. For example, we know that one of the soldiers wants to go back home in order to witness his son's birth, and even though that's not a very original reason,it's enough for justifying his impatient attitude and desperate actions; but other characters lack of definition, and as a consequence, they fall into the involuntary anonymity; so, when one of them dies in combat and the film portrays the pain from his colleagues, it's difficult for us to share those emotions, and instead of sadness, we feel a slight boredom.

However, Special Forces kept me generally entertained despite not being a highly memorable film. One of the aspects I most liked from this movie is the way it examines the reasons why the French government would invest so many resources and risk themselves to provoke an international incident in order to rescue a journalist they didn't care about when she was doing her job; and I also liked to see a similar questioning between the soldiers themselves, specially when things start going wrong and it seems that they won't survive the mission...Is it worthy to sacrifice a dozen of loyal soldiers in order to save only one life? Where does the humanitarian mission end and where does the political manipulation begin?

The actors from Special Forces make an adequate work, highlighting Diane Kruger and Djimon Hounsou. The cinematography is excellent, and the action scenes are well filmed. On the negative side, some action sequences look incompatible with the characters' profession. I mean, I'm not an expert in military strategy, but there are some moments which draw the attention for the foolishness these "elite soldiers", who are supposedly trained for any situation, commit. Nevertheless, I had a good time while watching Special Forces, and even though it's not something brilliant, I can give it a moderate recommendation.
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3/10
Not that good
Bohumil Cambalik24 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Only minor spoilers...

I watched this movie because it was made by French and really hoped for some realistic "non-Luc Besson" action. I believed this movie would really show us how special forces work. And as for the first part of the movie (the rescue action) I really felt like I was there. It was all made believable and I was hungry to watch more. Unfortunately it soon took an ugly turn and the whole movie turned into some kind of a road movie without an interesting plot.

I took the first hint when our special forces are pursued by some 10 to 15 Taliban fighters. SF lie behind a rock and wait for them to come closer until they open fire. But guess what. They don't fire from behind the cover. Instead they choose to stand up (or kneel, whatever) and expose themselves to enemy fire. Of course none of them gets hurt but hey, isn't it better for your aim to lie down? And isn't int better for your safety to shoot from a cover?

The movie went on in this fashion and I soon realized what it means to be in special forces. It means to shoot the enemy (who is doing nothing but running towards you as if their guns only worked at 20 meters distance), you must always stand to provide a better target (preferably in an open area) and never rely on modern technology to get you out of enemy territory.

There was a bright side to this one as well. They did not use English as the first language in the movie (as they usually do). French was used, sometimes the native tongue and sometimes English. Special effects were also good but the special forces were definitely not...
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6/10
Good start, moderate in the middle, fail at the end
tolgaozgun21 November 2013
Movie started very good by giving sense you are really part of the special forces team. All the humor in order to get over the fear of the operation. End the start of the operation was pretty good it was a simple plan but with a good execution except the sniper part since I haven't a sniper without a buddy to watch operation area.

After the operation int evacuation part it was really a messed-up story. Two choppers full of soldiers are afraid of some tali**ban punk with a rocket launcher (not Stinger) by the way rocket-man had wasted its only ammunitions... I think one mini gun should sweep them off even if it did not kill them all I am pretty sure that all tali**ban cockroaches gonna sh**it their pants ...

After this point everything got pretty illogical in every way possible both technical and emotional.

To sum up :

Still watchable. Acting and the scenes are quite good. But script play and reality is below average. if screenplay was good it would 7-8 over 10
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Gets boring after a while
kochampivo8 March 2012
I am not going to watch this movie again. Why? Because there was few moments in the movie where it felt real. Although some of the actors like the female reporter did a good job of acting, the surroundings didn't seem to be following. The action part looked like any other with the bad guys falling like flies and the good guys standing exposed to the bullets and nothing hitting them. The bad guys resembled zombies and just walked towards the bullets to die as soon as they could. Whenever any of the good guys were hit, everybody cried and screamed like it was the end of the world and they had a lot of time mourning right in the middle of sustained shootings. But the bad guys didn't care dying and as mentioned fell like flies to the ground. The chase scene also didn't look real. While the heroes had to pass high altitude in extremely cold and snow storm, the bad guys suddenly appeared and surprised them. Unlike the heroes, they had little clothing and no sign of wear and exhaustion. This movie could be a lot better if the action scene were a bit more realistic and the bad guys had more character and looked smarter. Other stuff that I didn't like was the fact that these guys where not found although the military had hundreds of ways of finding them. They didn't search for them and these guys had nothing electronic to send a signal back to base although they had everything else imaginable like infinite number of bullets to shoot during their journey. Sometimes in the movie you could see that they had used ideas from other movies to make it more dramatic. You can of course watch this movie but don't be afraid to get disappointed.
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9/10
One of the Best and Most Underrated Action Movies I Have Recently Seen
Claudio Carvalho14 July 2012
In Afghanistan, the French journalist Elsa (Diane Kruger) and her colleague Amen (Mehdi Nebbou) are covering the story of Maina (Morjana Alaoui), a woman that was sold to a man when she was a child. The Taliban leader Ahmed Zaief (Raz Degan) abducts Elsa and Amen and tries to force her to read a message to the Western governments.

The Frech president sends six Special Force men to rescue Elsa that his hidden in a fortress in Pakistan. The team composed by Commander Kovax (Djimon Hounsou), Tic-Tac (Benoît Magimel), Lucas (Denis Ménochet), the sniper Elias (Raphaël Personnaz), Victor (Alain Figlarz) and Marius (Alain Alivon) release Elsa and Amen from their imprisonment but they lose their radios. Now the group needs to cross the inhospitable land to save their lives with the Taliban chasing them.

"Forces Spéciales" is one of the best and most underrated action movies I have recently seen. The talented Diane Kruger is one of the most (if not the most) beautiful contemporary actresses and has an awesome performance in the role of a French journalist kidnapped by the Taliban.

The action scenes are excellent, with great choreography and it is funny to read reviews telling that they are unrealistic as if it was a documentary and not an action film. The film is engaging from the beginning to the last scene in the end of the credits and like in most European films, the cast speaks more than one language. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil): "Forças Especiais" ("Special Forces")
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5/10
Good action, little logic
Ivar mr.21 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Usually the action in these types of films tends to be very realistic and this one doesn't disappoint in that area. All of the action is done nicely in co-operation with the army, it looks good and credible. The problem I have with this film is the overall story - an elite group of soldiers on a rescue mission and when it goes bad they create a backup plan (considering the mission type seems highly unlikely that they already didn't have one) is to start climbing over mountains to head to safety. And in the process their chasers keep coming at them by running straight into their line of fire again and again failing every attempt, never changing their strategy or attack method. Even if we leave the lateral out it gets worse. The film portraits the difficulties of professional soldiers on a run but at no point do they show or consider that the same difficulties also apply to their chasers (who don't have such military training), they just keep popping up never tired or low on ammo (this also applies to special forces, reload anyone?). Considering it's a movie we can expect the previous faults and forgive them. Still I was hoping for a more tactical approach from the special forces, not just running around sacrificing men until they run out.
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1/10
Cheesy propaganda
dweeb dweeber23 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
This film is just like the tear of the sun. Military sponsored highly propaganda film. The editing is bad as I get dizzy keep seeing quick changing scene. I know they shot this in location, but they have to keep doing this wide angle spin shot on top of some mountain every time they think they have a great scene. Dialogue are cheesy and brain dead. And they keep showing their military equipments, maybe trying to justify to their french tax payer of their high rates. The stereotype message that I got from this movie, bad guys all has a camcorder ready to film some ransom with some back drop Arabic wordings and disrespects women.
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2/10
terrible and complete waste of time
zeenster10 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Wanted to watch an interesting show to distract me from life (at least for the duration of the movie) but to watch 2 hour of final destination combined with national geographic scenic aerial camera angles with suspend disbelief type combat (infinite ammo) just made me irritated. I have seen more realistic firefights in Xbox call of duty game (any of them). I would ask for money back if I could! Waste of time and the stranger next to me agreed because he was snoring through the second half.

The problem with the movie is that it takes itself too seriously but does not get the details right. No soldier in his right mind would a)stand on a ridge-line and fire at the enemy b) conduct most of the firefights standing (no matter how good it looks good on screen) c)have weapons only for show (the grenade launcher (noobtube) attached to their rifle is NEVER used) d) leave an empty cartridge jammed in the ejection port (in one of the scenes as they are walking, watch out for the gold cartridge) e) choose not to compromise the mission one day and then compromise it the next day f) ambush the enemy haphazardly (no plan of attack, no element of surprise and no clear leadership directions)
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7/10
A pleasant surprise
Jerome Stampe9 November 2012
While 'Forces Spéciales' has some shortcomings, I have to say I enjoyed watching it. Sure the team doesn't always look up to the task, a few actors may not be too convincing either (although most are) and one may wonder about the tactics used in the film.

What I liked about this movie was that the crew and cast went to Tajikistan to shoot the Afghanistan and Pakistan scenes which makes the whole story more realistic – American productions would usually settle for Morocco or Jordania but the scenery is not quite the same. Another quality in 'Forces Spéciales' is the storyline which is kept simple, there is not subplot or complicated background: A French reporter is kidnapped by the Talibans, a team of team of soldiers is sent to rescue her. Also, languages have not been unified into English, something Hollywood still has problems with regularly.

'Forces Spéciales' might not be the best action movie ever (I am not sure this is what it's supposed to be anyways) but it has nothing to be ashamed of in comparison to 'Act of Valor' which was a big disappointment for me.
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5/10
standard combat film
dmuel26 December 2011
Forces Speciales tells the story of the French Special Forces and their mission, in this instance, to save journalists who have been kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan and taken to the tribal areas of Pakistan. The covert operation develops complications and the sole lure of the movie is to discover whether the mission will succeed or fail; will they live or die.

As one reviewer notes, the movie is nearly a commercial for the French Special Forces, and the plot of the movie, what there is of it, involves a kill-crazed Al Qaeda leader and his nameless and near-faceless band of zombie-like henchmen who relentlessly pursue their victims. Whoever gets in the way of this insane band of thugs, Afghan, Pakistan, foreign soldier or whatever, they seem to crave killing them quickly. And, the supply of these killers seems limitless, offering the viewer ample opportunities to watch them machine-gunned down in large numbers by the heroes, including a few scenes that include an accompanying heavy-metal music soundtrack.

Yes we see the heroism, self-sacrifice and compassion of the gallant French warriors, along with the typical scenes of male-bonding. But much of this movie is standard fair for the genre, and a very one-dimensional look at the problems of this troubled area of the world. If you think that suits your taste, go for it! One last comment, when will we stop seeing overweight, gray-haired men portraying elite commandos? This is a young man's occupation. I'm surprised we didn't see Jean Reno as the commando leader, but that would have been even more difficult to believe.
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4/10
Good acting, but totally unrealistic
snowmobil926 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The first part of the movie was pretty good and realistic, but after they freed the journalist and that other guy it just got worse and worse.

I mean these guys are special forces, but instead of taking cover, they just stand there shooting, ofc not one of them gets hit.

When the taliban sniper takes out one of them and Elias (their sniper) goes after him, he runs out of the village, goes down, aims, takes his first shot. Hits him in the leg. Now the enemy sniper is in pain, and won't be able to shoot for at least several seconds. But instead of taking a follow-up shot, what does he do? He gets up and runs another 50 meters, lets the enemy sniper take a shot at him and then finally kills him.

And it goes on and on...

But yea if these things don't bother you, i guess you should give this movie a chance, the rest was pretty good.
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8/10
A Nutshell Review: Special Forces
DICK STEEL9 December 2011
Co-written and directed by Stephane Rybojad, this debut feature is impressive and remarkable considering the sheer logistics involved in having it filmed in Tajikistan passing off as Afghanistan and its tribal borders where the film was primarily set. Rybojad cut his teeth with countless of documentaries, some of which involved the French special forces, so to say that he brings a degree of realism to the film is an understatement, having first hand knowledge about the weapons and tactics, despite having to weave a fictional tale around it that will appeal to a broad audience.

With a host of rifle weaponry, high-tech equipment and decked to the nines by smaller arms to larger ones like the Super Puma choppers (amongst others) and boasting even an aircraft carrier, some may be quick to claim that the film is nothing but propaganda for the French armed forces. But that can be so far from the truth, because what Rybojad had done is to provide a tale about humanity both good and evil, and the dilemma that anyone entrusted with a life and death situation to deal with almost on a constant basis. With just gun battles alone one may be better off with a computer game, but the story here, no matter how standard and cliché at times it may seem, worked without attempting to do more than it's capable of, knowing its limits and sticking very much to its strengths, despite having its final act a little bit clunky and a pivotal scene that turned out to be quite unbelievable in terms of geography, but with narrative films there's always the element of chance and coincidence otherwise nothing would actually happen.

While it's not everyday that we get to see a French action film, and one based on a uniformed group at that (the last being the GIGN in the film The Assault, which is based on a factual, historical incident), and this one in some ways reminded me of the Hollywood film Tears of the Sun by Antoine Fuqua. Both films feature a group of special forces troopers being tasked with an extraction mission, only to come face to face with a numerically superior opposition, having to battle the enemy while protecting their mark, and having the latter female and strong willed and at times at loggerheads with the mission objective, influencing how the troopers will function as a unit and having to constantly review whether they should just follow orders, or go about on a wider humanitarian mission that doesn't betray the conscience.

There's no Bruce Willis here, but Djimon Hounsou takes the charge as the leader of a group of six men in total tasked with a reconnaissance mission at first to uncover the whereabouts of the kidnapped journalist Elsa (Diane Kruger), before having their mission immediately turned to one of extraction. It may seem like an open and shut, routine mission with highly skilled, trained and equipped men balancing the odds of being numerically disadvantage, if not for Michael Cooper and Stephane Rybojad's story throwing a spanner in the works by taking out all their communications equipment very early on, rendering a change in their LZ impossible, and being left to their own devices to escape from Elsa's Taliban captors who are fast closing in on them. The structure here may seem similar to Tears, but it doesn't come with any requisite twists and turns. In fact the enemy may well be the harsh terrain and sub zero temperatures the group has to battle against, and for those pampered by things blowing up in the first half of the film, this portion on may seem like an anti-climax, especially when the story seemed to lose its tight grip on the plot, and made concessions to allow for closure.

The introduction was what set the stage with a glimpse of how tight the Special Forces work, flying in with their choppers on a mission to capture a war criminal, and a number of set action pieces to whet the appetites of the action junkie from the actual rescue of Elsa and the protection of tribal villagers who had shown them hospitality. But ultimately the story never allows you to forget about each of the characters, giving each some very strong identifiers that you'll feel for them especially since Cooper and Rybojad shows no mercy if any were to slip up and be complacent, never in their intention to build supermen or a super team, even if early skirmishes may seem to suggest something like that. It is this avoidance of caricatures that makes you feel for the safety of everyone each time a shot rings out, and as weapons and ammunition become light, fuses a real sense of danger and fear. The villains however are plainly one-dimensional, even for the chief terrorist Zaief (Raz Degan), who has no lack of scenes to show why he's pure evil and is one to be gotten rid of.

Still, Special Forces ranks up there with the many films from around the world about specially trained men and women in uniform being called upon to put their lives at the forefront in the protection and well being of others, and you can either view this as a purely action flick, or a tribute to the spirit of the such groups, with a stark comment as explained by a character, that it's better to go in a blaze of glory, than to live a life of anonymity.
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9/10
Loved this more than Zero Dark Thirty and other SpecOps movies
Jeffrey-Pugh5 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I'm embarrassed to write a glowing review, despite the nasty vitriol that other reviewers have directed at it. Good story, good acting (especially Diane Kruger in the role of Elsa), good action sequences, well-filmed and beautiful (if forbidding) country.

**SPOILERS BELOW**

But what I loved most was how under-stated and unpredictable this movie was in a so un-American way. From the beginning to the end, I really had no idea whether the team would waltz in, rescue Elsa, and waltz out without any problems (although it seemed unlikely when we were only 30 minutes in at the rescue), or whether they would all fail. Or who would die (Elsa? Ahmed Zaief? the Special Forces soldiers?)

When Zaief is shot and killed at the movie's climax, there is barely a half-second spent on him. No slow-mo, no absurd commentary from Elsa, no sigh of relief. The very real emotion is saved for the deaths of their comrades.

I admit that there are some glaring inconsistencies: the endless ammunition (on both sides), the lack of communication devices, the punishing climb through the mountains. But I didn't find these terribly distracting and don't this movie is any worse in this regard than others.

In Afghanistan, the French journalist Elsa (Diane Kruger) and her colleague Amen (Mehdi Nebbou) are covering the story of Maina (Morjana Alaoui), a woman that was sold to a man when she was a child. The Taliban leader Ahmed Zaief (Raz Degan) abducts Elsa and Amen and tries to force her to read a message to the Western governments.

The Frech president sends six Special Force men to rescue Elsa that his hidden in a fortress in Pakistan. The team composed by Commander Kovax (Djimon Hounsou), Tic-Tac (Benoît Magimel), Lucas (Denis Ménochet), the sniper Elias (Raphaël Personnaz), Victor (Alain Figlarz) and Marius (Alain Alivon) release Elsa and Amen from their imprisonment but they lose their radios. Now the group needs to cross the inhospitable land to save their lives with the Taliban chasing them.

"Forces Spéciales" is one of the best and most underrated action movies I have recently seen. The talented Diane Kruger is one of the most (if not the most) beautiful contemporary actresses and has an awesome performance in the role of a French journalist kidnapped by the Taliban.

The action scenes are excellent, with great choreography and it is funny to read reviews telling that they are unrealistic as if it was a documentary and not an action film. The film is engaging from the beginning to the last scene in the end of the credits and like in most European films, the cast speaks more than one language. My vote is nine.
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2/10
Unrealistic and crappy.
Jan Werbinski29 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
No defend formation and standing without cover while shooting to approaching enemy? They don't care about defending formation. Kids or scouts can do better. They have no communications with their ship. Come on! A few GPS receivers and Iridium or Thuraya satellite phones cost less than one rifle! Just send SMS with coordinates of your new pick up location. There is coverage in Pakistan. Engaging in defending the village and ignoring orders looks like they are not trained soldiers but bunch of irresponsible hotshots. Everything is so predictable like in teenage movies. Some say it's just special forces commercial and it looks like it's true. I give it two stars because there was some nice shooting. The whole story is crappy.
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7/10
Good action movie, not so good survival drama.
TdSmth519 March 2016
In the intro a French special forces team is in Kosovo to get a notorious war criminal. Unlike a US mission that would send maybe 1 chopper and 3 or 4 guys, the French send 5 or 6 choppers and countless guys. For some reason all these choppers don't seem to get noticed by the bad guys. Of course our team gets the guy no problem.

Next in Afghanistan, a French reporter interviews an Afghan girl. She's interviewed her before. The girl tells her the story of how she was sold into marriage. Her husband--the big bad local Taliban leader. I guess the Taliban discover that the girl is spilling her guts and when she leaves she's grabbed by dozens of Taliban. Our intrepid reporter decides she's going to rescue the girl with her two local helpers. Of course they immediately are grabbed as well and we meet the Taliban boss who wants her to to recite one of those confessions for the camera. She refuses and one of her helpers gets his throat slashed.

Back in Paris, the French government immediately launches a rescue mission--it's our team from the intro. The courageous French president of course doesn't think twice about agreeing to the risky mission to rescue a single reporter. When the team arrives in Pakistan where the captives are being held they witness the Taliban killing the Afghan girl. The team finds the reporter, Elsa, and her local assistant, Amen and rescue them. But the Taliban are on their tail. So they miss the rendezvous with the chopper and are on their own now with hordes of Taliban chasing them.

Several firefights and injuries ensue. The team leader decides they will walk to Pakistan!?! Crossing the Hindu Kush mountain range no less!?! Before the border they stop at a village. But soon the Taliban arrive. Amen decides to stay back because he knows the Taliban will wipe out the villagers. So Elsa also decides to help Amen and that forces the entire team to become "humanitarians" as the team leader complaints. Eventually they leave for the snowy mountains and everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. Of course there will be a final confrontation with the Taliban leader.

Special Forces is a rather odd French action survival drama propaganda movie. Odd because the action is realistic and great, but then the story is so unbelievable and the heroics so forced and some of the behaviors so nonsensical. We learn very little about our team. At some point before the Afghan mission they are at a party and one of them is presented as a main character, but he's also one of the less likable guys. The team is a strange mishmash of people, most of which don't look the part. The more interesting character is that of the young sniper. Initially, he's got issues killing people it seems, but what choice does he have. I guess French snipers work in solitary not as a team, so he's always off by himself to flank the bad guys.

Now, is it fair to ask for realism from a propaganda film? And as far as I could tell from the end credits there was some French government involvement aside from the usual financing. The way this movie was filmed you almost expect them to tell you that it was inspired by real events. And the movie does go beyond just presenting Western heroics versus the evil guys. The Taliban leader does get to complain about Western imposition of democracy at gun point. He does seek consultation with some higher ups and he's made to appear like a loose cannon. Our team also avoids stating political opinions but leave that to the politicians. The movie portrays the Western armed forces' habit of witnessing horrors and not intervening. Then it does a nice job of showing the Afghan village tradition of giving hospitality to all who ask for it, whether friend or foe.

It's a bit surprising that this movie precedes the American war propaganda films and unlike these, it's not afraid to harm its characters. Overall, Special Forces has strong first and second acts. But these are short. The long final act/journey gets tedious.
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1/10
Bad Screenplay, Bad Acting
shamalk7 March 2012
Scenes change every 30 seconds. Acting is really fake. Waste of time. Music and rapid camera movements does not imply it's action movie. Couldn't watch more than 10 minuets. There's no logic for the story. And there's no story at all. Can't believe people invest money on this type of movie. I'd say again don't waste time. Awful screenplay. Looks like someone joined some random shots at a dessert. Nothing more to say. I totally agree with D-Sligar's review: "I kept wanting to just shut off the film after seeing all this b.s. just keep popping up, yet forced myself to finish the movie just to see if things ever got better. Nope, never did... suck waste of time. The film shots were nice, but there was hardly any dialog total lack of character development. Watch only if there's nothing else on and you need an action movie fix (though, suspend rational thought when you do so). Not terrible, but not good either."
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2/10
Horrible screenplay
mactoday8 March 2012
Horrible screenplay, one stupid French journalist killed with her stupid actions in Pakistan the whole special forces that came to rescue her from talibs. Movie show heroism of French soldiers and how stupid their commanders who doesn't provide satellite phones to French special forces and can't organize the rescue with 2 military helicopters and at least one transport helicopter to save life of this poor French special forces. Well, it's wouldn't be a movie if there was a satellite phone and two military helicopters to cover withdrawal of special forces. I feel sorry for poor French soldiers and I feel sorry for director and screen writer of this movie.
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5/10
Worth a look but not brilliant or original or quite believable
secondtake6 February 2014
Special Forces (2011)

The main reason to see this movie is to get a look at a French parallel to American war movies set in Afghanistan. There are clear similarities, and even some borrowed clichés (assuming the American movies created the clichés—mostly from earlier war movies). And there are some interesting differences, like the way the characters are developed and their slightly different sense of camaraderie.

The bulk of this movie is similar to many adventure films. A group of "good guys" is trying to escape from forces of evil that want to kill them. This is on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the "bad guys" are some extremist Taliban (if that's not redundant). The main bad guy conveniently speaks perfect Oxbridge English (not French) and is thoughtful and thoughtless at once.

All of this seems like good stuff, and it is somehow interesting for its uniqueness coming out of French movie-making and French national pride. Don't expect any soul searching here, or actual revelations about character or even about the cause of war. The good and evil aspects are simply given, and then shown in the usual way. What sustains the movie through all this is that it's very well done, and the acting (and therefore the characters) are quite believable. There is true heroism and suffering. And a taut suspense in many scenes.

It's too long by far, however, and there is a huge chuck of the movie where the group, with its shrinking numbers, struggles through the mountains that seem to become impossibly snowy and alpine. It isn't clear why the French military gives up trying to save them after dropping them in enemy territory. The Americans, who would have been there more or less de facto, are not mentioned or hinted at (which I don't mind, but it's not quite realistic as the crisis gets worse).

There's even an improbable moment, after days of absolute struggle through some high snowy terrain, that the bad guys show up as if they took a taxi. Maybe they did. But it's all so convenient and packaged.

So, take it for what it is. Well done, solid in some ways, and wobbly in its larger arc.
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1/10
Worst movie I've seen this year
kampungdusun1 March 2012
Complete and utter waste of time. I would have rather watched smurfs 3 times than this ever. I think the movie director should be shot. There should be a health warning on it - will induce stupidity. Please remove this movie from the world. Give me back my 2 hrs of life. Idiotic french crap. The whole team should have died. They deserved to. The leading lady should have died at the start, and saved the entire movie. Please please de-rate this and prevent more ppl from falling victim. But seriously though, bad storyline, bad acting, totally generalizing taliban as mindless killers, I don't see why this movie had to be filmed if at all. please please please take this off the movie list.
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9/10
First and most, this movie is a tribute
John-S36214 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
First and most important, this movie is a tribute and sadly describe a mission going south. Having watched both versions (French and English) A lot got lost in the translation... It displays an actual and realistic shady world that most don't want to believe exists. Being a serviceman myself, it please me seeing movie like this that revolves real everyday heroes that lives in the shadows. They made it more real than Act of Valor and by far. They can't make it more real and 'pleasing' for the general population than this as anything more would be a documentary. I've seen reviews bashing 'elites' and so on, do your research or speak of experience. Quick example ***SPOILER*** The sniper take down, people wonder why he runs after hitting the enemy in the leg... Where there is one,there is two... He assumes he's not alone and relocate to take second shot as hes exposed already.If a second shooter would try to shoot ,he knows its not the same one... ***SPOILER END8***

Overall, if you want to watch an accurate and sneak peak of how quickly things can go wrong and the sacrifices some makes everyday. Watch this movie with an eye of culture , not pure entertainment void to fill and you might see things differently. I say again , it is a tribute and borderline documentary.
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5/10
The CO Should Be Fired
georget-115 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
First, while I really like this genre as well as many gritty French policiers movies, Special Forces was a big disappointment. The "elite" team sent in to rescue the journalist was no more competent than a band of Eagle Scouts would have been in that situation. The team parachutes into Pakistan during broad daylight and gently floats to earth interminably circling one another like a gaggle of sport jumpers. An incursion into Pakistan with any chance of success would require a night drop and HALO techniques. Without the use of camouflage sticks to darken their faces, they blithely launch, again, a daylight assault on a heavily guarded compound, of which they have little intelligence. They scoop up their objective, the reporter, and make a run for it, but of course, there was no interdiction personnel assigned to destroy or hinder the Talib reinforcements. Of course things get worse when their sole means of communication is destroyed and they can't contact higher headquarters. The helos assigned to recover them fly in, broad daylight, get chased away by Talib gunfire causing our plucky band to have to high tail it over the Hindu Kush mountains back into Afghanistan. Didn't anyone ever hear of redundant comm systems, and backup extraction points? Apparently not, so with the Talibs in full pursuit they trek onwards. Disregarding any sense of security they blithely walk into a Pakistani village hoping that the locals will be friendly. Of course they are, which results in a playful game of keep away with one of the soldier's hats, much more important than perimeter security, and oops, one of the solders gets sniped. How was he part of the unit anyway as it looked as if he was serving as an ANF assistance instructor when the team arrived in country? Anyway, after clearly exposing themselves by walking on every ridgeline in the country, more soldiers die and the Talib numbers grow. After seemingly evading being overrun by weathering a snowstorm, the half dead survivors are suddenly ambushed by the chasing Talibs who are all fresh as daisies. How did they get there? The amount of ammo expended by our heroes would require a deuce-and-a-half to carry, yet despite sending 10s of thousands of rounds downrange do they happen to carry any grenades or claymores? Nope. Finally, by sheer luck, the reporter is found and she pluckily helps the SAR team find the team survivors, now reduced to two. Most likely they'll receive the Legion d'Honneur medal, but what they really need is a refresher course at basic infantry training school.
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10/10
Honestly, One Of The Best Action Movies I Have Seen In A Long Time!
Rod C16 March 2012
Firstly, this is my first review ever...

I'm not going to tell you what happens in the movie at all, as that irritates me when that is someone's review...Why do people do that?

I watched this movie thinking it might be OK...

The movie is engrossing right from the start and I think it was about a third of the way through when I thought to myself, this is going to be a great movie and it definitely did not disappoint me, right up to the very end!

To me it could believably be a true story, as the realism and emotional journey of this story is breath taking!

This movie gets a 10/ 10 from me and a "10" is definitely rare to be given by me!

I hope you enjoy it as much I did...
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