every hawk has his day....
1 July 2002
This is probably one of my faves when it comes to the "we're Americans & we're going to kick ass"-type movies: because we don't. I was denied entry into the army (4-F) shortly before the whole Somalia incident began in 1993. After seeing this movie back in January of this year, I was glad that I couldn't/didn't go. I got this sinking feeling the more the soldiers's plans dwindled until finally escalating into chaos. Jerry Bruckheimer actually produced something more edgy, gritty and a little less polished than his previous films which made me find this believable. Ridley Scott (whose films I've admired except for "Hannibal") once again has proven himself a versatile director: a man who never makes the same movie twice. The film doesn't have to preach a political message, but instead the warlord in the beginning states to Sam Shepard, "this is our war- not yours." To me, that was enough. "Black Hawk Down" is more occupied with showcasing the true ugliness of war and doesn't try to prove itself over "Platoon" or other anti-war movies. I was also impressed to see that Josh Hartnett wasn't an animatronic puppet and could actually carry his own instead of simply being the same dude with a wardrobe change. Ewan McGregor does a decent job without trying to upstage anyone else. My father (who is a retired army officer & a Vietnam vet) pointed out that he worked for generals who were as incompetent as Sam Shepard's character in his career. Being that I am the same age as a lot of the soldiers were at the time this movie took place, I was able to identify with the characters, and didn't feel as if they were cliches of guys from Hollywood Vietnam or WW II movies. I think a lot of the critics (who have never even seen danger in their lives) compare this film to Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" or anything from Oliver Stone, because they feel that that is the true formula to a war film. That is like trying to mold every sci-fi film into a "Star Wars."

I know that a lot of people didn't like this film for various reasons; (too violent, not enough character development,not enough sex, possibly racist, etc...)but in the same year of films such as "Planet of the Apes," "American Pie 2," "A.I.," "Rat Race," and many more forgettable flicks, this one sure stood out as one of the best films of 2001.
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