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Break out the Barf!

‘Lone Survivor’ is jingoism

January 8, 2014, 12:00 am
Mark Wahlberg is a bad actor. There are movies when he’s passable (Date Night; Ted). But most of the time he’s inexplicably praised (his wretchedly unbelievable performance in The Departed) or he makes bad movies worse (The Happening; Broken City; The Lovely Bones; I Heart Huckabees).

It’s particularly distressing that he’s no better than usual in Lone Survivor, a worthy story that’s given the jingoism treatment by director Peter Berg, whose last big-screen endeavor was Battleship. It’s been a long time since Friday Night Lights, Pete.

Walhberg is Marcus Luttrell, a real-life Navy SEAL who survived horrible circumstances in Afghanistan following a mission that seemed doomed from the start. Luttrell, Murphy (Taylor Kitsch, another bad actor), Dietz (Emile Hirsch), and Axelson (Ben Foster, who’s better than the movie deserves) are pinned down by Taliban fighters in a remote region after a mission goes bad (note: don’t trust goat herders).

There are plenty of war movies with similarly bald plots, and the battle scenes are compelling. But watching Wahlberg threaten to kill everyone near him with a grenade comes off like sketch comedy, which isn’t Lone Survivor’s purpose. Its purpose is to show that these SEALS died for you.

There hasn’t been a movie that feels so much like church since The Passion of the Christ.


Directed by Peter Berg
With Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch and Ben Foster
Regal Stadium 14
121 min.


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