MISSION KANDAHAR – “A tepid war thriller that’s low on action, but high on emotion”
Directed by: Nicole Holofcener
• Gerard Butler as Tom Harris
• Ali Fazal as Kahil
• Bahador Foladi as Farzad Asadi
• Vassilis Koukalani as Bashar
Tom Harris, an undercover CIA operative, is stuck deep in hostile territory in Afghanistan. When an intelligence leak exposes his identity and mission, he must fight his way out, alongside his Afghan translator, to an extraction point in Kandahar, all whilst avoiding the elite special forces unit tasked with hunting them down.
Gerard Butler’s latest big screen outing is a tepid war thriller that’s low on action, but high on emotion. That’s because this is not a typical over-the-top action-bonanza, but rather a gritty and grounded tale of survival. Ok, there are moments of action movie excess, but there’s more narrative meat on the bone than most. It’s a raw look at some of the various people at play in a seemingly never-ending war. And while Butler’s character is admittedly not the most interesting, the actor plays the role with subtle toughness and grit. In short, you like him and ultimately root for him. The film does have a pacing issue however, surely to make some moviegoers sleepy at times. That is until they are blasted awake by the bass-heavy soundtrack and onslaught of gunfire. And while the film’s energy falters more times than not, Mission Kandahar’s biggest sin is that it doesn’t add anything new, or show anything we haven’t already seen before. The themes are the same, just the people have changed. It’s also the same questions being asked – just who are the good guys here? It makes the whole thing rather forgettable. But, if you stick with it, you’ll be hard pressed not to care about these characters. And isn’t that what it’s all about, really?