Blu-Ray Review – SPECIAL FORCES (Forces Speciales)
Coming to blu-ray and DVD next week is the new action flick from France, Forces Speciales, but is it as bad as the generic title suggests? Scott takes a look…
I must admit, when I got the press release for this film, I was a bit put off by the title. I mean how generic and manufactured does a title need to be? But actually I was pleasantly surprised and this debut feature by Stéphane Rybojad is a solid film that will hold your interest.
The film tells the story of Elsa Casanova, played by Diane Kruger, a French war correspondent who gets taken hostage by the Taliban whilst reporting from Afghanistan. Faced with her imminent and very public execution the French Government quickly dispatch a crack squad of elite solders from the Special Forces Unit to free her.
The scrambled team Led by Kovax and his go to man Lucas, played by Djimon Hounsou and Denis Menochet, also including the happy-go-lucky Tic-Tac, played by Benoit Magimel, and the killer with a conscience Elias, played by Rapheal Personnaz. They are super well trained and focused on doing there mission.
Elsa’s captor is a mad but shamed Taliban leader, Zaief, played by Raz Degan, who is on very sinister and maniacal form. He is also on a mission to retian his former glory amongst his peers.
The initial mission goes without flaw, but when the rendevouz for extraction fails it is up to them to get out safely. The only way home is a trek through the mountains of Pakistan all the time with the Taliban at their heels.
For a debut feature Rybojad does a pretty good stand up job as Director. At times his inexperience shows. He is more used to making documentaries and short films. The opening act is a bit confusing with an erratic edit and constant jumping between countries.
The plot is not going to ever break new ground for most viewers. We have seen this type of Good Versus Evil, West vs East soldier battle time and time before. The soldiers are shown as almost caricatures we have seen in many films, Focused Elite Killers on the outside, but, soft hearted, emotional and immature on the inside.
But please do not let this put you off. The film is actually quite good. The action sequences are thrilling and excessive, but lets face it, that is why we watch an action film right? The scenery is the highlight though. The setting of Tajikistan which neighbours Afghanistan is beautiful, the mountains are stunning and really shown off at their best in the beautiful cinematography on display on the blu-ray.
The performances by the entire cast are good, considering how thin the plot actually is. Kruger, Hounsou and Magimel are the standouts. Degan may camp it up a little too much, but his villainous character is very commanding when he graces the screen.
If you are expecting a high brow intelligent war movie like The Hurt Locker, you will be slightly disappointed. But if you go in accepting that this is an easy on the grey matter actioner where the French show they can go in, get dirty and get the job done and at the same time never lose their gallic coolness, I guarantee you will enjoy the ride.
- Interview with Marius: Expert Training
A short film with behind the scenes and clips of Marius, a real life French Special forces trainer who also got a role in the film.
- Making of
This 90 minute making of film is a really good watch. It charts the entire shoot and gives some really great insight into the amount of training and preparation the actors and crew went to to make the film feel more realistic in nature
- Deleted Scenes
A group of 5 deleted scenes.
SPECIAL FORCES (FORCES SPECIALES) IS RELEASED NATIONALLY IN THE UK ON DVD AND BLU-RAY ON 12TH MARCH 2012 BY STUDIOCANAL
About The Author – Scott Lawlor
Chief Editor of FRC. A self confessed geek with an unhealthy thirst for all things Home Cinema. Whether it is the latest Action film or Subwoofer.
Have you seen this film? Is it your cup of tea? Comment below…