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Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden(TV) (2012)
John Stockwell directs this tense action drama documenting the covert mission undertaken by a US Navy Seal team to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. After receiving intelligence that their quarry is hiding out in a compound in Pakistan, the CIA mobilise crack US Navy Seal Team 6 to train for a daring night-time raid. After arriving at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and being put through punishingly intensive training for their mission, the team learn that their target is Osama Bin Laden, codename: Geronimo. As they set out on the deadliest mission of their lives, the unit must come together in one final, all or nothing attempt to take down America's most wanted terrorist.
For more about Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden and the Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden Blu-ray release, see Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on January 2, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Cam Gigandet, Anson Mount, Freddy Rodriguez, Xzibit, Kathleen Robertson, William Fichtner
Director: John Stockwell
» See full cast & crew
Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden Blu-ray Review
The controversial TV movie makes its way to Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, January 2, 2013
The recent weeks and months have seen a larger-than-average assortment of controversial movies released to cinemas and television screens. For a myriad of reasons -- chiefly their political content, level of violence, or use of foul language -- several films have found themselves the subject of countless dinner table and water cooler discussions, television spots, radio talk show exchanges, blog posts, and print media pieces. Films like Zero Dark Thirty, Jack Reacher, and Django Unchained have recently been found at the forefront of debate, but the first to arrive on Blu-ray, and the first to premiere a couple of months back, is SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden, this film noteworthy for its politically controversial pre-election airing on National Geographic, just hours before polls opened for the national November 6th elections. Politics generally being beyond the purview of this site's reviews, this article will largely focus on the picture's technical content; readers can perform a simple web search to unearth more information on the controversies surrounding the film and the pro and con positions surrounding that angle.
After-action interviews are the foundation for SEAL Team Six's fictitious reconstruction of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. SEALs and analysts recount the story of how the raid progressed, from an early 2002 identification of a Bin Laden courier named Abu Ahmed Al-Kuwaiti and on through to the nighttime raid on May 2, 2011. The film focuses on several key players, including Navy SEALs "Stunner" (Cam Gigandet) and "Cherry" (Anson Mount) and CIA intelligence analyst Vivian Hollins (Kathleen Robertson) who harbors something of an unhealthy obsession with tracking down the terrorist leader. After the SEALs lose one of their own in an ambush, they're forced to quickly regroup and train for a mission to eliminate a high-value target (HVT) operating out of Pakistani compound where some thirty people live. There, the trash is incinerated, the children are home schooled, and the HVT is the only one free of household duty responsibilities. Despite in-fighting over unit leadership and mourning the loss of their brother-in-arms, the SEALs must come together to prepare to take down the most wanted terrorist of the 21st century.
It's no secret how this movie will end, but in this case it's more interesting to see how history may have played out, how the inevitable conclusion is reached and the goal achieved. Certainly the film doesn't have the (supposed) access of Zero Dark Thirty at its disposal -- nor does it enjoy the same budget and production values -- and no doubt much of the "real" story has been changed, enhanced, downplayed, or otherwise gotten "wrong" in the name of entertainment value or, yes, maybe even a little political grandstanding. Nevertheless, the net result is an entertaining and engaging movie experience that doesn't rely on gunplay but rather characterization and drama to tell one of the most fascinating stories of the post-9/11 world. Regardless of what one believes of the film's politics or even the validity of the story itself -- both operational uncertainty and conspiracy theories abound surrounding Bin Laden's death -- SEAL Team Six in many ways captures the imagination with its peeks behind the veils of secrecy and into a world of clandestine operations, big decisions, and military muscle. The film adequately conveys the massive scope of this or any similar military operation in the technologically enhanced world, glimpsing the manpower, the countless hours of work, the risks, the rewards, the interrogations, the assets on the ground, the soldiers, the spies, and yes, even the politicians that all played key roles in taking Bin Laden out. The film does well to demonstrate the role of low-tech assets and high-tech logistics coming together for a period of years for the execution of a minutes-long raid that would help shape the course of history.
SEAL Team Six also proves just as entertaining and well-constructed as it is dramatically engaging. The film boasts only two extended action scenes, one a very well-done ambush-shootout in an Afghanistan ravine -- succinctly photographed sans music and allowing for a truer sense of battlefield authenticity -- and the Bin Laden Abbottabad compound raid at the end. The latter feels a little more commercialized and action movie generic when compared to the first, and it also lacks that true sense of immersion into the moment. Nevertheless, it's generally effective but does largely pale against the more satisfying character development and drama that precedes it. SEAL Team Six doesn't simply plop random players into the film and call it a day; it instead takes its time to develop dynamics for them, whether they sit behind a desk or operate behind a weapon. The soldiers in particular -- the members of Team Six -- come together nicely, each with a personality all his own and none of them generic and mindless automatons with helmets and kevlar hiding who they truly are. There are touching family moments, intra-squad rumbles, good general camaraderie, and more to them than their military training and debriefings might otherwise paint them to be. Of course, the movie can only do so much in ninety minutes and with so many pivotal players, but it does manage to create a true sense of "team" amongst the men and a determination within the intelligence and political communities that accentuate the main story and make SEAL Team Six a surprise winner with a nuts-and-bolts core that should satisfy most audiences regardless of their political persuasions and reaction to some choice political moments intercut (particularly early on) within the film.
Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden Blu-ray, Video Quality
SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden fluctuates quite a bit between crisp and strongly detailed and wishy-washy dull and problematic. There are many excellent, near reference-grade moments in SEAL Team Six that reveal very crisp and supremely well-defined Afghani terrains, sharp military uniform lines, and facial textures. On the other hand, the HD video appears ridiculously glossy and flat, inorganic and very smooth. Colors never really explode off the screen, but stability is admirable, whether in brightly lit outdoor scenes or low-light interiors. Black levels are generally fine in these scenes, ditto flesh tones. The transfer finds many of its problems during the after-action debriefings dotted throughout the film; pale blacks, poor color transitions across faces, aliasing, and low details all contribute to a bland picture. Various "real life" footage from sources like The White House appear expectedly blocky and of web video quality. The image isn't in line for best of 2013, but it gets the job done for a made-for-TV movie shot on one of the glossiest canvases in recent memory.
Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden Blu-ray, Audio Quality
SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden features a trustworthy DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The track handles all of its elements with relative ease and plays them with admirable presence and clarity. Music enjoys nice spacing and crisp, accurate details throughout the entire range. Various ambient effects -- whether around the Afghanistan war zone or in busy intelligence offices -- gently pull the listener into the environment. Gunfire is very well done; there's a notable authenticity to automatic weapons fire. The first firefight, free of music and permitting the shots to dominate the stage, offers an excellent sonic experience as shots crack out from various corners of the stage and from several distances. Both full auto fire and semi-automatic or single-shot blasts all play with commendable sonic accuracy. Dialogue is always clear and firmly planted in the center channel. This is a solid all-around performer that accentuates every bit of the film from beginning to end.
Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Only one supplement is included. The Making of 'SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden' (HD, 17:30) features cast and crew taking a look at the story, mission details in the film versus public knowledge in real life, the film's character roster, the multiple character perspectives seen within the film, the cast's military training, recreating the Abbottabad compound in New Mexico, shooting the action scenes and working with weapons, cast performances, Director John Stockwell's style, and the rigor of the shoot.
Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden is really quite a bit better than its lower budget made-for-television and, it might seem, made-for-controversy and made-for-political-gain aspects all suggest. There's a lot to like in its straightforward, no-frills approach; politics aside it paints an intriguing picture, no matter how accurately, inaccurately, or somewhere in between the story captures history. It's not a guns-blazing picture but rather a thoughtful character study of the men and women, technologies, risks, and rewards of making one of the 21st century's (so far) most historical moments happen. It's well-acted and well-made, a movie that should please all viewers who appreciate a good story inside the military and political arenas. It does get its own political two cents thrown in, but outside of a few such moments this is solid entertainment for the mind as well as the eyes and ears. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of SEAL Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden features decent video, good audio, and one supplement. It's definitely worth a rent, and at a relatively modest asking price, genre fans would be smart to buy.
Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden Blu-ray - November 28, 2012
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment will bring to Blu-ray The Weinstein Company action thriller Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden a.k.a Codename: Geronimo - The Hunt for Osama Bin Laden (2012). Based on a script by Kendall Lampkin and directed by John Stockwell, ...
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