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"Lone Survivor": Mark Wahlberg Vs. the Taliban 

Wednesday, Jan 8 2014

As if to atone for his 2012 debacle Battleship, Peter Berg's Lone Survivor is the kind of testosterone-drenched war movie your dad probably liked to watch on Saturday afternoons. Based on a highly disputed book about what the film's poster touts as "True acts of courage," Lone Survivor pits four Navy SEALs against the Taliban in a lush section of Afghanistan. It's no secret that Mark Wahlberg is the title character, and he and his bros Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, and Ben Foster take an endless amount of abuse — including repeated tumbles down rocky hills, sequences just begging for the "Yakety Sax" treatment — while managing to kill bad guys with one shot, before getting their own artistically back-lit deaths. It's the military equivalent of torture porn, and Berg spends the first act making sure we love these lugs with the wonderful mugs now more than ever. He even includes a shimmering Explosions in the Sky score that evokes Berg's great Friday Night Lights television series, as does the presence of Kitsch and the reprise of Lights' motivational "full heart" mantra. Unfortunately, Lone Survivor will probably be a great recruitment tool, full of totally-not-homoerotic male bonding (their stateside girlfriends are nags) while ignoring big questions of whether we should be in Afghanistan at all.

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Sherilyn Connelly


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