Forces Spéciales (2011) Directed by Stephane Rybojad. With Diane Kruger and Djimon Hounsou.
Forces Spéciales (Special Forces) is a French produced search and rescue action adventure film that plays as a cross between the gunfire chaos of Rambo and the survival elements of Peter Weir’s The Way Back.
From the off, director Stephane Rybojad is in a rush to get the set-up out of the way as we’re hurried through a series of vague character introductions accompanied by an irritatingly generic action-friendly soundtrack that amounts to Diane Kruger’s headstrong journalist ‘Elsa’ being kidnapped and held hostage by the Taliban. Time then for our crack team of super soldiers to step in and save the day, which is what happens…kind of.
Where Rambo was self-aware and tongue-in-cheek, Special Forces is po-faced and straight-up. The action itself, while being reasonably well-staged is utter fantasy as enemy forces line-up in exposed lines to be picked off at ease by our trigger happy heroes. What begins as a rescue then evolves into a battle against the elements as a stereotypically determined (and notably off-screen) Taliban force track the team through rocky paths and over snowy mountains. Everything is amped up and over emphasised which is a shame as the locations are breathtaking and there is a developing sense of connection between some of the characters in the final reel.
Ultimately Special Forces must go down a misfire due to it’s impatient build up, overblown action and predictable caricatures. Diane Kruger salvages some credit and does as well as can be expected with a limited script, but on the whole the film pushes the boundaries of credibility far too hard for its own good. 2.5/5