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Black Hawk Down
DVD disk
Oct 8, 2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Black Hawk Down order
Director:
Ridley Scott

Actors:
Josh Hartnett
Ewan McGregor
Tom Sizemore

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Based on a true story, this film recounts the events that took place in Mogadishu, Somalia in the fall of 1992 when a group of Elite U.S. Rangers and Delta Force personnel launched an attempt to capture a warlord who was using starvation as a weapon against the population. Unfortunately, it didnít work out as planned and the mission was a disaster that cost many men their lives.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Is there any director out there with a resume as diverse as Ridley Scott? If there is, then kudos to him, but true to himself, Scott delivers yet another film of epic proportion and proves that no one can film "action" as well as he can. This film ended up just kicking my ass and the one thing I was apprehensive about, the 144-minute running time, zoomed by and left me begging for more!

To begin with, the film was interesting in the way that it didnít particularly ďstarĒ anyone. It simply incorporated a fantastic ensemble cast into a story, while letting the plot itself become bigger than any of the actors in it. Try this on for size: Josh Hartnett, Eric Bana, Tom Sizemore, Ewan McGregor, William Fichtner (one of my personal faves, a very underrated dude), Jason Isaacs (another one), Ron Eldard, Sam Shepard and a bunch more! If this were a sport, weíd be talking all-star team here and yet none of them managed to hog the screen too much and that helped the film in avoiding the usual war movie trap of having one dude save everyone.

BLACK HAWK DOWN is also a pretty awesome technical achievement. With the 2001 Academy Award winner for best editing (Pietro Scalia), the film looks like a million bucks and sweats action. The helicopter scenes are incredible to watch and it's basically non-stop madness from beginning to end, complete with more explosions and more firepower than one of my evenings at Taco Bell. It really looked, sounded and felt as if it was taking place before my very eyes. Some of the stuff looked really neat as well, such as the helicopters barreling down on rooftops and showering them with bullets, Iíve never seen one of these choppers, much less heard it shoot out of the mini-guns, but I can only imagine how intimidating it must be to see these things swooping in toward you. The same goes for the Black Hawks themselves...these things are just amazing. If youíre a fan of war films, action films or just plain "good movies", youíll really have a blast with this one.

As far as the message of the film goes, after an hour and a half of watching these guys shoot at each other, I actually began to wonder what it must have really felt like to be there and be under siege that way for almost 24 hours, watching your friends get shot and shooting at anything with a pulse. All those heroic visions of yourself that you have during childhood quickly transform into thoughts of ďIíd better leave this in their handsĒ. Naturally, I canít speak for the historical accuracy of every part of the story and weíll all understand that some liberty had to be taken in order to turn this into an exciting movie, but for what itís worth, this film can only help but develop appreciation for people who put their lives at stake over and over again for reasons they sometimes donít even understand while we stay home in our sofas watching DVDís.
THE EXTRAS
A bit on the slow side there, which will lead into the special edition that Columbia TriStar has already confirmed will be released (no date though). The only real attraction is a 25-minute long on-the-set documentary. With comments by Ridley Scott, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and most of the cast members, it's pretty neat to watch. It mostly discusses the story itself and the training undergone by the actors, as well as some set footage. Pretty regular as far as documentaries go and nothing extraordinary. You'll also find cast & crew filmographies, as well as a Spider-Man trailer to get your blood going.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Awesome film but a bit weak on the Special features side. Iím not usually a big fan of the double-dip, so I would recommend a purchase only if youíre obsessed with the film and expect to watch it several times before you can get your hands on the next release, or if youíre not one to really care for special features and would rather just watch a kick-ass film. If you want to wait, then you can always run to the video store and hope to find a copy there. Have a blast!
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