For Hicksflicks.com, May 30, 2014

"Lone Survivor" (R) is one of the better films of early 2014 (though it actually opened Christmas Day 2013), a well structured wartime thriller of a more recent stripe, one of the few to come out of the war in Afghanistan that has a sense of realism and isn't merely a screed about an unpopular war (something that also afflicts a lot of movies about Vietnam).

Based on a true story, the film begins by introducing the audience to a detachment of Navy SEALS assigned to go after a Taliban leader responsible for killing some 20 Marines.

Part of this mission sends a four-man reconnaissance team into a mountainous region where they are forced to make an impossible moral decision, which leads to an overwhelming firefight.

What follows is a kinetic series of events that show how tactics have changed in warfare, a well as the difficulty of determining exactly who your enemies are.\


Mark Wahlberg is excellent in the lead, playing Marcus Luttrell, on whose book the film is based. Actor/filmmaker Peter Berg adapted and directed. His previous directing efforts include "Battleship" (2012), "Hancock" (2008) and "Very Bad Things" (1998). To say this is Berg's best film is an understatement.

Fine performances by Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch and Eric Bana help, but this is very much a director's film and Berg deserves the kudos and box-office success his film has received (No. 24 on 2013's top 100 list).

"Lone Survivor" is now on a variety of home-video platforms, including DVD and Blu-ray.