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2000s, Combat

Black Hawk Down (2001)

Duration 2h 24m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story A 1999 book of the same name by Mark Bowden which followed a series of articles in the Philadelphia Enquirer. These in turn described the real events which took place in 1993 in Mogadishu.
Writers/Script Ken Nolan
Additional Info Although the UN forces in the area had been attacked by the faction leader in what had become a civil war, with the effect of causing widespread famine, it is still quite difficult to understand what the American special forces were doing there. This has maybe had a negative effect on what is an extraordinary film.
Director Ridley Scott
Starring Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, Eric Bana, William Fichtner, Ewen Bremner, Sam Shepard, Ioan Gruffudd,   Jason Isaacs, Jeremy Piven, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Tom Hardy, Orlando Bloom
Elevator Pitch When two Black Hawks, providing air cover for an operation to capture two terrorist leaders in Mogadishu, are shot down by RPGs, special forces soldiers are sent in to recover the survivors and the bodies of the dead. They encounter unexpected well armed resistance, resulting in a battle which lasts overnight, the Americans sustaining a number of casualties and some injuries before they are finally able to escape with the assistance of UN forces.
Content Some time spent preparing for the raid as we get to know the guys. The helicopters fly into the city, they crash and after that almost continuous gunfire as the soldiers battle it out with the AK-47 armed Somalis. They are in radio communication with a control helicopter – in turn able to talk to the general back at base. There is a lot of blood as many soldiers are injured and some killed. We wonder if any of them are going to make it.
A View In my attempts to watch, well, anything I was not looking forward to this, since I do remember the real event. But it turned out to be riveting. To start with I had difficulty understanding the broad American accents, strange since many of the actors are not American, but once the action started it did not matter anyway. I have made it an “Almost Must See” because it is brilliantly structured. Ridley Scott got a Best Director nomination at the Oscars and the film won the Best Editing award.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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