I’m a sucker for military movies. Heck, look at how much time I invested in watching Strike Back. So I’m often scouring Netflix for good military action. Unfortunately, while there are a lot of action movies, their military quotient is pretty bad. The weapons, equipment, attitude and tactics of the characters in these movies kills my willing suspension of disbelief. I can’t get into these movies and don’t enjoy them. Strike Back, for all its faults, meets my relatively low bar for authenticity. See, I’m not saying realism, because that’s not what I’m looking for. Make these guys look suitably SOF, give them kit that looks pretty close to something high speed, and have them use tactics that are believable for elite commandos, and I’ll watch.
I approached Forces spéciales (Special Forces) with some trepidation. I think I had it confused with another movie I had read about set in Africa that sounded ridiculous. As it is, this French venture is set in Afghanistan and the Frontier Regions of Pakistan with an opening set in Africa. So I gave it a shot. I’ve liked Djimon Hounsou in everything in which I’ve seen him, so I was relatively well-disposed going in.
This is a French take on movies like Tears of the Sun or Acts of Valour. It’s more Tears of the Sun because it has a strong narrative and that narrative is about a rescue and escape, with a lot of evasion thrown in there.
The actors look suitably bad-ass. The action is suitably believable. If you liked Tears of the Sun, you’ll probably like this, although there are subtitles, so if you can’t deal with those you’re going to have a bad time.
I can’t really enthuse about this, because it lost its steam around the half-way mark. When it became a move of survival against the elements, my attention started to wander. And, honestly, the ending flushes any semblance to consistency down the toilet. I can’t really get into it without spoiling the ending, but it makes your disbelief almost impossible to suspend, willingly or not.
So I’m giving Forces spéciales 3.5 out 5 French macho one-liners, because when it does actions scenes, it does them well. The survival drama and ending really drag down the rating.