Rated: R
Release Date: 01/19/2018
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures

Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Peńa and Trevante Rhodes.

Director: Nicolai Fuglsig. Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Molly Smith, Trent Luckenbill, Thad Luckenbill and Emma McGill. Executive Producers: Yale Badik, Marty Funkhouser, Garrett Grant, Val Hill, Broderick Johnson, Andrew A. Kosove, Chad Oman, Ellen H. Schwartz, Doug Stanton and Mike Stenson. Screenwriters: Ted Tally, Peter Craig and Author Doug Stanton ("Horse Soldiers"). Cinematographer. Rasmus Videbaek.
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

There’s a big, battle brewing at the box office this weekend. The awesome Aussie, Chris Hemsworth--aka “Thor”-- and star of the new, war drama, “12 Strong” will attempt to knock down Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s red hot action comedy, “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” from the top spot which its held for two weeks.

“12 Strong” is based on Doug Stanton's 2009, non-fiction book “Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan.”

The movie tells the remarkable, true story of how CIA paramilitary officers and U.S. Special Forces--Green Berets-- were sent to Afghanistan immediately after the September 11 attacks.

The 12 heroic Green Berets, notably, Hal Spencer (Michael Shannon, “The Shape of Water” and TV’s “Waco”), Sam Diller (Michael Pena, “A Wrinkle in Time” and TV’s “Narcos”), Ben Milo (Trevante Rhodes, “Moonlight”), Thad Luckinbill (Vern Michaels, "Only the Brave” and TV’s “The Young and the Restless”) and their leader Capt. Mitch Nelson (Hemsworth) operated under the code name Task Force Dagger.

Their mission involved joining forces with Northern Alliance warlord, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum (a terrific Navid Negahban, TV’s “Curb your Enthusiasm”) and fighting their way to Mazar-i-Sharif with the help of U.S. strategic airstrikes until the Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces were destroyed.

Prior to the classified mission, Capt. Nelson assures his commanders, Col. John Mulholland, (William Fichtner. (TV’s “Mom”) and Lt. Col. Bowers (a serious Rob Riggle, TV’s “Modern Family”), that not only are his troops the best men for the job, but the captain guarantees they’ll complete their mission in three weeks-time rather than the scheduled six they were given.

It’s a promise Capt. Nelson makes good on too and is another reason to marvel at what these elite American troops accomplished particularly when the odds of victory were overwhelmingly stacked against them.

Not only were these guys outmanned initially, but in order to overtake the Taliban they were forced to enter the combat zone via horseback which is something no other American military had done since World War II. Most of the men had never ridden a horse before and had to learn on the fly. But remember, they're Green Berets.

Newcomer director Nicolai Fuglsig (“Exfil”) and screenwriters Peter Craig (“Top Gun: Maverick”) and Ted Tally (“Red Dragon”) keeps “12 Strong” grounded in its harsh reality and sprinkles just enough male-centric compassion and humor to offset the Jerry Bruckheimer produced film’s explosive violence.

“12 Strong” is a rollicking, patriotic drama that truly honors the courage and heroics of some of America’s finest soldiers and a reminder why we should always respect them and salute their service.

Be sure to catch my movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:40 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.

Check Out This Trailer For "12 STRONG"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.


Halls Of Anger Title: Halls Of Anger
Year Released: 1970
Running Time: 96
Production Company: Mirisch Corporation
Director: Paul Bogart
Director of Photography: Burnett Guffey
Screenwriter: John Herman Shaner and Al Ramus
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: Editor's Note: While this "Old School Video Pick" of "Halls of Anger" has run before, I couldn't help but update a few things in it after recently watching it again along with a few other Calvin Lockhart movies, like "Melinda" and "Rain." Lockhart was an enormously talented actor who left us way too soon.

Audiences may best remember Calvin Lockhart, as the tall, dark and handsome actor who...
What racially/controversial Broadway play did Calvin Lockhart star in with Angela Lansbury?