War Movies Worth A Damn: The Siege of Jadotville

jadotville

Netflix just came out with a really well made Historical Cold War Drama titled The Siege of Jadotville.  Now this time period will not be familiar to most folks, but For those of you familiar with the Cold War History of Africa, you will definitely remember the Congo Crisis and the 1961 CIA sponsored Assassination of  Patrice Lumumba (which the movie begins with).

One of the reasons why the superpowers were interested in the Congo, particularly the province of Katanga, is that this region had one of the largest seams of Uranium (which can be weaponized to make nuclear weapons) in the world and in addition provided half or more of the worlds supply of Copper and Cobalt, which interestingly enough, was needed to build the guidance systems for ICBM’s, which both the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R were building at a break neck rate in 1961. The Geo-Political aspect of this conflict is extremely in-depth, which gives the movie a whole different feel than just “another war movie.”

Side note: For you Weapons junkies like me, this movie has some really nice period correct hardware in it as well, to include:

  • FN FAL
  • Swedish Carl Gustav M/45 SMG
  • SMLE Lee-Enfield No.4 MK1 Rifle
  • SMLE Lee- Enfield No.4 MK1 Sniper Rifle
  • Vickers Machine Gun
  • Bren Machine Gun

Interesting tidbit: The Swedish Garl Gustav M-45 was used by US Army SOG Forces in Vietnam throughout the sixties and into the early seventies. John L Plaster in his excellent book Secret Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines with the Elite Warriors of SOG discusses their use in detail.

 

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

 

 

 

War Movies Worth A Damn: A War

 

Ever since Netflix raised their monthly rate from $8.65 to $10.00 I have been waiting to see if an increase in price was going to equal an increase in better movies, and this month I can say that is true.

A War is is a Danish War Drama (with superb English Subtitles) that depicts a Danish Army Company deployed in Helmand, Province Afghanistan. The movie is split between showing both the hardships on the battlefield and the homefront, as the story moves from the struggles of Company Commander Claus Pedersen fighting the Taliban to Commander Pedersen’s wife back in Copenhagen trying to manage 3 children and a household as a single parent.

At first, I was not sure this was going to be my type of War Movie simply because of the back and forth it shows between Commander Pedersen and his wife, but I was pleasantly surprised as this “drama” actually adds to the telling of the story as a whole, which is basically the STRESS Soldiers endure when having to both do their job on the Battlefield and be concerned about their families back home.

The crux of the storyline revolves around the hardships and challenges of fighting a Counter-Insurgency military campaign against a brutal and smart guerilla enemy. The Commander is faced with extremely hard decisions during the course of the movie, decisions he knows the Taliban is placing on him as a Guerilla Force to see if he will crack. One of these decisions is how he properly protects the friendly civilian population against the Taliban, while weeding out the small percentage that aids and abets the Taliban.

The overall quality of the movie really catches your eye right away. The cinematography is fantastic, and although I know this was not filmed in Afghanistan, they sure make it look like it! This was definitely not a low-budget movie, as the scenery, military uniforms, weapons and overall tactical movement of the troops is spot on.

For the Civilian Operator interested in learning about the history of Counter-Insurgency Warfare and Guerilla Warfare tactics, particularly those used by the Taliban, this is a good movie to do that. All the subtleties of COIN are here; the balancing of hard-hitting military operations while maintaining a good working relationship with the local populace; The struggle to protect civilians when your hands are tied militarily in what you can do based purely on being a humanitarian. The dichotomy is fascinating to see, because you quickly understand how the Guerilla Warfare tactics of the Taliban, which were used to drive the Soviet Army out (and before that the British), are still today just as effective in harassing  a modern, technologically superior military force like that of NATO.

This flick teeters on being more of a War DRAMA than just a simple, run-of-the-mill war movie simply because the Overall REALISM is what really draws you into the story. What firefights and action there are totally supports the flow of the story and does not seem too gratuitous or gory for the sake of being gory.

If you are looking for a shoot em’ up, type War Movie, this one is not for you! But, if you are looking for Well-Made, Well Acted, Thoughtfully Made Military War Drama that explores ALL sides of the True COST of Fighting a War, then this one is for you!

In closing, I would also like to say this: So many times people are so quick to “Thank A Veteran” for their service, but the same time people are also just as quick to judge a Veteran for a decision that he had to make under fire, in WARTIME that may have resulted in “civilian” deaths. We ask a lot of these men, and one of the things we ask is for them to make difficult, life changing decisions with imperfect information in mere seconds. The average civilian has no ideal what this is like, they only know some “innocent civilians” in a third world country that we are trying to liberate are dead so this soldier must be punished. That is Hypocritical bullshit and it is WRONG on every level. Should soldiers be held to the legal standard as set by the Geneva convention in War? Absolutely, but when these standards are impractical and unrealistic and are only there to serve a political end I think they should be done away with.

I think this excerpt of Jack Nicholson’s speech from the movie A Few Good Men sums up my feelings:

“I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it.

I would rather that you just said “thank you” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand the post. Either way, I don’t give a DAMN what you think you’re entitled to!”

 

Run Time: 1 Hour 55 Minutes, Danish and Pashto Language with English Subtitles.

Stay Alert, Stay Armed and Stay Dangerous!

 

War Documentaries Worth A Damn: “My Fighting Season”

“My Fighting Season” captures the chaos and brutality of life on the frontline of the Afghan War.

Last year, actor-turned-filmmaker Ricky Schroder, released the first installment of his six-episode documentary series called “The Fighting Season,” which chronicles the U.S. military’s efforts to bring the war in Afghanistan to a close after 13 years of grueling counterinsurgency operations.

Much of the footage featured in the series was pulled from helmet cameras worn by frontline soldiers in an attempt to show what that effort looks like on the ground. The result is what Schroder has confidently described to Deadline as “the most realistic combat experience on the modern day battlefield ever shown.”

The second installment of the series, titled “My Fighting Season,” follows U.S. Army infantrymen in 2014 as they operated along the border with Pakistan — one of the country’s most treacherous battle spaces.

The 6 part series will begin to air on July 5th on Audience Network, Channel 500.

Judging by the trailer, it’s going to be one hell of a film. Take a look.

Read the Original Article at Task and Purpose

(Note: I corrected the air date from June 28 to July 5th via this article)

Today in History: “Top Gun” The Movie Turns 30 Years Old Today!

OMG, I am feeling old…I remember going to see this like 3 times at the theaters when it first came out (you know you are getting old when you preface a lot of your sentences with “I Remember!”) I have to admit, now when I watch this movie, I find it all a bit corny and cliche’, but in 1986, this movie was all the rage. -SF

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“Great balls of fire!” Aviation classic “Top Gun” turns 30 today.

Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Top Gun” is a staple movie among service members and veterans. Released 30 years ago on May 16, 1986, it was the highest grossing film of the year. And you’d be hard pressed to find a naval aviator who hasn’t seen the cult classic. The movie has a little bit of everything, from its killer soundtrack, to light romance, to epic F-14 dogfights.

In honor of the 30th anniversary of the movie’s release, here are eight little-known facts about “Top Gun.”

1. The film is dedicated to a stunt pilot who died during filming.

Art Scholl — an aerobatic pilot, aerial cameraman, and flight instructor — died during the filming of “Top Gun.” His Pitts S-2 camera plane went into a tailspin and plunged into the Pacific Ocean. Scholl’s chilling last words, “I have a problem — I have a real problem,” were heard over the radio by the crew.

2. It cost $10,000 an hour to use F-14s.

Shots of the aircraft carrier sequences were filmed aboard the USS Enterprise, showing aircraft from F-14 squadrons VF-114 Aardvarks and VF-213 Black Lions. For every hour of flight time with an F-14, Paramount paid $10,000. Overall, the movie cost about $15 million to produce, which is equal to $32 million today.

3. Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer didn’t get along during filming.

The tension between Maverick and Iceman seems like really good acting, but it isn’t. It turns out that Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer didn’t get along, and as a result, the aggression seen in the movie was organic.

4. Goose never actually gets a full name in the movie.

Goose, portrayed by Anthony Edwards, is never actually named within the movie. He only ever goes by “Goose.” However, his full name is meant to be Nick Bradshaw.

Read the Remainder at Task and Purpose

 

 

War Books Worth a Damn: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Although I obviously have not seen the movie yet, I can vouch for this book as being one of the best stories I have ever read of a soldier trying to make sense of life after War. You should definitely put this one on your reading list and make plans to see the movie, as it looks like a goodun’. -SF

The trailer for Ang Lee’s highly-anticipated “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” has finally dropped.

Sony Pictures has just released the trailer for the film adaptation of Ben Fountain’s award-winning 2012 Iraq War novel, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”.

A book widely regarded as one of the the finest novels about the war. In keeping with its literary origins, the film is — or at least appears to be — more nuanced than, say, “American Sniper” or “Lone Survivor,” focusing less on combat and more on the soldier’s struggle to reconcile that experience with life back home.

The film centers on a 19-year-old war hero, Spc. Billy Lynn, who embarks on a two-week “Victory Tour” with members of his unit after surviving a harrowing firefight in Iraq that is captured by an embedded film crew. To boost support for the war, Billy and the squad are ordered to take part in the halftime show of a pro football game, during which they begin to realize that they’ve grown disconnected from the country they’re fighting for.

“It’s sort of weird, being honored for the worst day of your life,” we hear Billy say in a thick Texas drawl at the opening of the trailer, as a somber rendition of David Bowie’s “Heroes” plays in the background to remind us, the audience, that being a hero is not all it’s chalked up to be.

The film has been generating buzz since it was announced that Ang Lee would be directing it. Lee has won two “Best Director” Oscars: the first for “Brokeback Mountain,” and the second for “Life of Pi.” But this may be his most ambitious project yet. Lee shot the movie in 3D, at 4K resolution, and 120 frames per second, with the goal of making the combat sequences feel as realistic as possible. This is the first time a feature film has been shot in what Sony is calling “immersive digital.”

Lynn is played by Hollywood newcomer Joe Alwyn, but the cast features quite a few bonafide celebs, including Kristen Stewart, Steve Martin, Vin Diesel, and Chris Tucker. The movie is due to hit theaters in November.

Read the Original Article at Task and Purpose

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