Blu-ray
Worth a Look
3.5 stars
List Price
$24.98
Amazon
$9.99 (60%)
3rd Party
$8.39
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»
Overall Grade
3.5 stars

(click linked text below to jump to related section of the review)

The Movie Itself
3 Stars
HD Video Quality
4 Stars
HD Audio Quality
4 Stars
Supplements
2 Stars
High-Def Extras
3 Stars
Bottom Line
Worth a Look

Special Forces

Street Date:
February 19th, 2013
Reviewed by:
Review Date: 1
April 15th, 2013
Movie Release Year:
2011
Studio:
Koch Entertainment
Length:
109 Minutes
MPAA Rating:
Unrated
Release Country
United States

The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take

Stephane Rybojad's 'Special Forces' is a wham-bam-thank-you-mam-slam of an action movie. The intense visuals and situations that the characters are put into are horrifying. The set locations are dangerous. It seems like the actor's gave it their all for this film. Unfortunately, after the first leg of this action-thriller, things get all Michael Bay on us with quick zooms and pans, and some wretched dialogue that is only reserved for B movies. That doesn't stop the movie from being entertaining, but it definitely knocks it down from true terror to silly action. But I believe this will find a decent audience on home video.

'Special Forces' packs a stellar cast, but that doesn't always make for a stellar film. It seems like Rybojad didn't know what to do with big named actors. We center on Elsa (Diane Kruger), who is a French war journalist who is kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Elsa is brutally tortured by her captors, and her torture is recorded and sent to Paris.

The French President then assigns an elite Special Forces team to rescue the journalist by any means necessary. A little too quickly, the special forces unit locate Elsa and rescue her. However, the Taliban leader leads a group of men to track down the Special Forces unit and Elsa and kill them. Unfortunately, because of this chase, the elite unit is forced into the desolate mountains of Pakistan, where they lose all contact for their rescue back home. Stuck behind enemy lines, the special forces team must continue to search for help and rescue or make a harsh decision to stand their ground and fight the Taliban.

For me, the feature length documentary on the making of this film in the extras was more intense and interesting than the film. However, even though the movie itself is entertaining, I can't get past how quickly it turns into a commercialized and cliched piece of cinema.

The cast which consists of Diane Kruger, Djimon Hounsou, Benoit Magimel, Denis Menochet, and Raphael Personnaz do a very good job of keeping things flowing and suspenseful, however their dialogue grows to schlocky lines, but that's not their fault. It just feels like the movie took a different direction. And with the quick cuts and laughable zooms, this action flick falls into the silly category more so than the thriller drama it could have been.

I wish there was something more to this, but the fact is, this is just a pop-corn action flick that is flashy with tons of dead bodies and guns a blazing. That being said, it's fairly entertaining and worth a look if you're curious, even if you find yourself laughing and shaking your head.

The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

'Special Forces' has a great 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio.

The colors pop vibrantly, and for a film that takes place mostly in the desert, I was impressed on how many Earth colors were used. The blues and greens really do stand out here. The detail is very sharp and provide some great detail in closeups and fine stitching in the uniforms. The depth is also very good, providing a sense clarity between characters and objects. The flesh tones are natural and smooth with the black levels running deep and inky.

Overall, this looks like a big budget action flick and has no evidence of motion blur, banding, or any artifacts. A solid video presentation.

The Audio: Rating the Sound

This release comes with an impressive French DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix and sounds great.

The dialogue is always clear and never drowned out by the vast gun shots or sound effects. The directionality of the soldiers yelling and the bullets flying by are great. It sounds like you're in the middle of a warzone. The ambient noises in the field come through the surrounds nicely, and the larger action sequences pack a punch with great dynamics and a bit of bass to rumble you.

There were no cracks or hissing that I noticed, making this a very good action audio mix.

The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff

  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 6 mins) - Here are some deleted scenes that add nothing to the story and were clearly cut due to pacing and timing. Not much to see here.
  • Marius (HD, 4 mins) - Here we have a French naval badass named Marius who tells us what it takes to be an elite commando, complete with some actual training footage. I would be out of commission within the first hour. Very cool feature.

HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?

  • Making Of (HD, 90 mins) - Here is a great feature length documentary on the making of this movie. We see everything on the production of this flick from the pre-production, to the filming, to everything in between. It's very informative and a lot of fun. Seems like there were some intense moments on set and work was a bit difficult for the cast and crew as they were filming on location overseas. Definitely worth checking out.

Final Thoughts

'Special Forces' is an entertaining film, but it lacks structure and direction. Yes, there's plenty of violence, and fans of super fast action films will eat this up. The video and audio presentations are solid with some pretty great extras, even if there are only three of them. This could be worth a look for the curious

Technical Specs

  • 50GB Blu-ray Disc
  • DVD Disc

Video Resolution/Codec

  • "1080p"/AVC MPEG-4

Aspect Ratio(s)

  • 2.38:1

Audio Formats

  • French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • English: Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles/Captions

  • English
  • French

Supplements

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Real Life Special Forces: Marius

Exclusive HD Content

  • Making-of Featurette

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List Price
$24.98
Amazon
$9.99 (60%)
3rd Party
$8.39
Usually ships in 24 hours Buy Now»

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