copyright © Jedo Dre 2011

There is a certain infamous stereotype about American action movies in general and war movies in particular, in which a white main character guns down a legion of faceless incompetent enemies, usually of non-white ethnicity. An additional part to this stereotype is the propagation of some message to give our heroes some great cause as an excuse to kill a bunch of people. Black Hawk Down has good action and presentation but it is also a text book example of such a stereotypical movie. I am not complaining, but it seems the movie claims to being something more than it is and hence a deliberation is in order.

The movie opens with a message about some local Somali warlord using hunger as a terror tool (Somali Civil War from 1990s), but the struggle of the local people and the mission at hand is just an excuse for our gun toting heroes to shoot some stuff. Once introduced, the plot has little to no significance. The rest of the film comprises of situations in which the US soldiers find themselves and the related firefights.

There is a scene in this film where the US folks are surrounded by a group of Africans and these folks are jumping backward and forward, angry and loud. They are made to look like a bunch of incoherent gorillas or pack of hungry rabid dogs.

The movie looks very cool. Helicopters land almost on your head with various cool angles and viewpoints, like the overhead satellite view. Smoke and dirty texture come at you through the screen. There are enough cool firefights and rocket launches.

The presentation is very effective in large part due to the music. Behind it is the Hollywood's top man Hans Zimmer. The action music has Arabic influence but also has some Western distorted guitar mixed in. It is good and could be subsequently recognized in other people's video projects. However it is the involvement of other artists that makes the music special. The sorrowful singing of Baaba Maal, Denez Prigent and Lisa Gerard cuts into your soul.

There is a load of high grade actors in this film, which seems to be in line with other big war movie productions like the Thin Red Line and Saving Private Ryan, which shows this movie's aim despite it not having the same epic setting. The value of this choice can be put into questions when these guys spend so much of the movie's time covered in helmets, goggles and dust that makes them difficult to recognize.

Black Hawk Down is pretty good action movie. As long as you do not expect it to be more than a good male-dominated gun fight, it should not hurt to see.

Black Hawk Down