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Reviews: Black Hawk Down
 
  • Black Hawk Down (Grade: B) — A stellar ensemble cast keeps the visceral shards of Ridley Scott's in-your-face war film glued together. Reviewed by Brian Orndorf.

  • Black Hawk Down (Grade: A+) — Ridley Scott's nonfiction adaptation of a doomed 1993 U.S. military mission in Somalia is a riveting, albeit morally ambiguous, war film. Reviewed by Joey Damiano.
    Posted: 01/16/02

  • Black Hawk Down Poster, Trailer Strike Right Chord
      The tone of a newly-released teaser poster and trailer for Ridley Scott's "Black Hawk Down" appears to lie in the tricky area between gung-ho military might and somber respect. The film, slated for a March 2002 premiere, is an adaptation of journalist Mark Bowden's non-fiction account of a day-long firefight between U.S. troops and Somalis in October, 1993. Eighteen U.S. soldiers were killed and 73 wounded after a mission went awry in the confusing streets of Mogadishu.

    If the trailer is indicative of the entire film, Scott will succeed where Michael Bay failed so miserably. Bay's "Pearl Harbor" bent and bastardized historical events around a "Titanic"-esque love story—an unfortunate move since far more people will see his film than read and study the documented history. Like Bay, Scott faces the challenge of getting the story right, but with "Black Hawk" the stakes are higher. Most Americans have only a faint recollection of the Somalia campaign, so what they see in "Black Hawk" will be their first, and in many cases, last, view of what occurred. If Scott dips into military cliches and braggadocio, people won't understand the fear and horror these soldiers endured.

    You can judge for yourself whether Scott and his crew are headed in the right direction by viewing the poster at Coming Attractions and the trailer at Apple.com.
    Posted: 10/10/01


    Black Hawk Down: Ridley Scott Challenges Modern Warfare
     
    Black Hawk Down  
    © 2000 Penguin Putnam  
    Still glowing from his "Gladiator" success, director Ridley Scott is turning his attention to the modern battlefield in an adaptation of Mark Bowden's best-selling book "Black Hawk Down."

    Bowden's non-fiction account details the events of October 3, 1993 — the day U.S. Rangers and Delta soldiers engaged in a harrowing battle with Somalis in the streets of Mogadishu. The late-afternoon mission to capture two leaders in Mohammad Farid Aidid's clan turned into an overnight firefight, ending the next morning with 18 U.S. soldiers dead and 73 wounded. (The Philadelphia Inquirer's "Black Hawk Down" section has complete coverage.)

    The proficiency Scott displayed with "Gladiator's" epic production will serve him well with "Black Hawk's" complex, intense story. He'll be challenged to accurately depict two helicopter crashes, an enormous military convoy, and prolonged urban gunfights. Because the story's events occurred eight years ago, historical accuracy will be paramount. Hollywood's penchant for revisionist history could crack open barely-healed scars. If the filmmakers don't pay heed to the feelings and opinions of the veterans, this film deserves to fail.

    The narrative's collection of major and minor characters will require a significant ensemble. Tom Sizemore ("Saving Private Ryan") and Josh Hartnett ("Pearl Harbor") have signed and The Hollywood Reporter says Ewan McGregor and Sam Shepard are in negotiations. Woody Harrelson has been rumored for a small role, but no confirmation has appeared.

    Columbia Pictures is releasing "Black Hawk Down" in Oscar-friendly November. While Oscar contention may be the aim of the studio, Scott and his crew should realize they have the opportunity to make a profound statement about modern warfare. If they stay true to Bowden's work they'll show millions of people that technological combat is nothing like a videogame.

    For more information on the film visit CineMAYHEM.com.

    Related: Gladiator review


    Posted: 01/31/01