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On the brink of the 2007 U.S. troop surge, two Army Recruiters face the daunting pressures of recruitment while their own deployment is on the line. Sgt. Harris (Lew Temple) has been stationed in the recruiting office long enough for it to feel like home. On the other side of the world, a roadside bomb rips through a Humvee, and after recovering from the attack, Sgt. Mason (Clayne Crawford) gets reassigned and winds up in Harris's office. Mason wants to go back to the front lines, but he finds out that the war isn't confined to the battlefield. Written by
Each year we end up with a handful of lower profile and higher profile war films, from big budgeted epics or patriot targeting fist pumpers to small scale character studies, there's a wide range of war centric tales coming at us at a consistent pace.
With so many war films over so many years it's becoming increasingly harder to find tales that feel fresh or don't riff off others, so it's a nice change of pace to see the micro-budgeted A Fighting Season deal with some fresh and eye-opening scenarios of modern day military life.
Season eschews the battlefield in favour of returning to American soil and offering instead an insight into Army recruiting as traumatised Sgt. Mason played by Lethal Weapon TV series break-out star Clayne Crawford finds himself away from the battleground and thrust into the often thankless task of finding the Army's newest batch of fresh faced soldiers, often barely out of school.
It's within this topical scenario that debut director Oden Roberts delves into some important and no doubt touchy subject matters of American pride, as the country deals with an ever growing voice from within that is no longer calling out for war and action, but rather peace and reconciliation and the pride of the American armed forces are feeling the full force of young men and women backlashing against the idea of taking up arms and sticking it to the so called baddies.
Robert's also isn't afraid to showcase the underlying issues that have plagued the Army over recent years and the culture which features the likes of excessive drinking, arrogance and a loss of overall vision is on full display here.
As Mason finds himself under the charge of teetering on the edge office commander Sgt. Harris, we become privy to the lowlife tactics and seedy underbelly of the recruiting process as quotas need to be met and goals kicked, no matter the personnel costs that may come with that. Offering us the viewer a chance to contemplate what goes on behind the scenes of the war raging on around us, giving this war film a powerful take home message.
A unique modern day war film, this low budget effort may lack a certain shine and polish but Robert's film is an often eye-opening and emotionally engaging look at a little known facet of Army life and a timely reminder to all of the costs associated with running a war that feels as though it may never truly come to an end.
3 ½ Red Bull offerings out of 5
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