ABC Film Challenge – Action – B – Black Hawk Down (2001)

Director: Ridley Scott

Writer: Ken Nolan (Screenplay) Mark Bowden (Book)

Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Ewen Bremner, Sam Shepard, Gabriel Casseus


Plot: 160 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.


There may be spoilers the rest of the review


Verdict: Hard Hitting Military Movie


Story: Black Hawk Down starts as we learn about why the Americans are in Somalia during the conflict within the country in 1993. We meet the host of different soldiers with different ranks with the main focus on the squad leader Eversmann (Hartnett) on his first mission as leader, with experienced squad leader Hoot (Bana). The mission is simple extract to captured soldiers from the middle of the militant controlled town.

When one of the helicopters is shot down the mission changes and know the soldiers must fight the militants in the city to save as many men as possible.


Thoughts on Black Hawk Down


Characters/PerformanceGoing through the characters may take a while, it would be fair to say we barely learn anything about our characters outside of this combat, of the main focal ones we have on the day promoted to leader Eversmann who is good and being fair to his men which includes the desk soldiers Grimes who has never been in conflict before. McKnight is the vet that gives the orders from the ground. Hoot has been in conflict many times and takes the similar role to Eversmann as gives the loose advice on how to command a small unit. Sanderson is like the super soldier that runs into conflict knowing it will be the best defence against the enemy. The soldiers do all get their own small stories of the conflict, with Nelson Twombly being one of the most memorable.

Performance wise, we have a cast which plays out like a who’s who of Hollywood starts or stars to be, not a single person gives us a bad performance and each member of the cast could be believable as a soldier through the film.

StoryThe story is how one mission turned into a massive conflict for control of the city as the American soldiers must overcome the Somalian militant. This story is more about the action and as always does only show the American’s being the good guys even if they don’t understand the conflict they are walking into, while with that statement I am not saying I side with the Somalian’s either. The story could be considered thin because it does only show one long conflict but that does mean we get the extended look at each member of the unit in their own battle to survive.

History/WarThis is one of the many battles America has faced in the 90’s yes, it is only one battle but it shows just how this battle went down in one of the biggest battles of modern warfare.

SettingsThe city shows us just how difficult conflict would be for both sides, we see how vantage points could leave soldier exposed but also how difficult it could be to stay safe.

Special EffectsAll of the effects put us right in the middle of the battle showing us how brutal, deadly and horrific the battle was.

Final Thoughtsif you want to see one of the best modern warfare movies, this is the best conflict showing film out there, it has an amazing cast that would go onto bigger projects in Hollywood too.


Overall: Must watch war movie.




Takers (2010)

logoDirector: John Luessenhop

Writer: Peter Allen, Gabriel Casseus, John Luessenhop, Avery Duff (Screenplay)

Starring: Chris Brown, Hayden Christensen, Matt Dillon, Michael Ealy, Idris Elba, Steve Harris, T.I. Harris, Jay Hernandez, Paul Walker


Plot: A seasoned team of bank robbers, including Gordon Jennings (Idris Elba), John Rahway (Paul Walker), A.J. (Hayden Christensen), and brothers Jake (Michael Ealy) and Jesse (Chris Brown) Attica successfully complete their latest heist and lead a life of luxury while planning their next job. When Ghost (Tip T.I. Harris), a former member of their team, is released from prison he convinces the group to strike an armoured car carrying $20 million. As the “takers” carefully plot their strategy and draw nearer to exacting the grand heist, a reckless police officer (Matt Dillon) inches closer to apprehending the criminals.


Verdict: Slick Heist Film


Story: It can be hard to keep the heist genre fresh because there is always some very simple rules that every film usually follows. The strong leader who has a second who keeps everything together and comical brother pairing, a group of seemingly different people whose skills come together, a determined cop, an old member and the idea this will be the last job but even risker than normal. This follows all the rules without straying to create any originality, saying that these rules are what makes this a good film and why try and change something that is broken. (8/10)


Actor Review

(This is not in order of impotence)

Chris Brown: Jesse the cocky brother and member of the crew who select skill set is never really explained but when he is in trouble he always finds a way out with a brilliant free running scene. Good performance from the controversial singer showing he can be part of an assembled cast. (7/10)


Hayden Christensen: AJ the man who can get his hands on everything, he is good in a fight and his overall charm makes the youngest member of the team crucial. Good performance from the heavily criticised actor. (7/10)


Matt Dillon: Jack the reckless cop who won’t let the case rest until he finds out who was behind the job, leading him to push his daughter away and leave him figuring out everything on his own. Good performance from the ever reliable Dillon. (7/10)


Michael Ealy: Jake the smart brother who keeps both their interests at heart, he plans the details of the job while others get what he needs. Good performance creating a good bond with Chris Brown to create a good brother relationship. (7/10)


Idris Elba: Gordon the leader of the crew, who always keeps the jobs quick and clean with a long enough gap between them all that no one will suspect them. Good performance from Idris showing he is the go to lead coming out of the UK.(8/10)


T.I. Harris: Ghost the former member who is fresh out of jail, who brings the team one more job to make up for his lost time. Good performance creating a very calm persona throughout. (7/10)


Paul Walker: John the calm second in command/advisor to Gordon who keeps everyone together as is usually the go to guy to double check everything before going through with the job. Good performance from Walker showing he is a good member of an ensemble cast. (7/10)


Director Review: John Luessenhop – Good direction to create a good crime thriller that keeps your attention from start to finish. (7/10)


Action: The action doesn’t happen too often but when it does it is all very entertaining. (7/10)

Crime: Good crimes heist thriller elements used throughout. (9/10)

Thriller: Keeps you wondering what will happen next to all the characters. (8/10)

Settings: Good settings used mainly all LA which works for the busyness of the moments. (7/10)

Suggestion: This is one that all the fans of the genre should see, but I feel more people should try it they will enjoy what they see. (Try)


Best Part: The Free Running Escape.

Worst Part: No real originality.

Action Scene Of The Film: Free run escape.

Believability: No (0/10)

Chances of Tears: No (0/10)

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

Similar Too: Ocean’s Eleven


Oscar Chances: No

Box Office: $69 Million

Budget: $32 Million

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

Tagline: Money doesn’t count


Overall: Enjoyable Crime Thriller

Rating 75