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12 Strong | 2018 | R | - 1.6.7

Based on the true story of the American Army Special Forces team ordered into Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban in 2001, just after the 9/11 bombings. With Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, William Fichtner, Elsa Pataky, Taylor Sheridan, Geoff Stults, Michael Peña, Rob Riggle, Trevante Rhodes and Navid Negahban. Directed by Nicolai Fuglsig. Several lines of dialogue are spoken in Russian with English subtitles. Many lines of dialogue are spoken in Afghan languages with no subtitles or translations. [2:10]

SEX/NUDITY 1 - A woman kisses her husband in a couple of scenes. A husband and his wife lie in bed together (with their young daughter too) and hug and kiss. A man kisses another man on the cheeks in greeting.
 A husband asks his wife for sex before he deploys to Afghanistan and she refuses saying that if she holds out she'll be sure he'll come back to her.
 A woman wears a low-cut top that reveals cleavage, bare shoulders and upper back. We see a man's bare chest and abdomen to the hip.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A man quizzes three crying girls about math and spelling as they watch their mother on her knees with a bloody hijab; the cloth is removed from her face and we see that she has been beaten (blood and bruises are seen on her face), the man shoots the woman in the head and she falls over dead in front of the children while another man pleads with the man and screams. Many men with weapons hold their hands in the air and walk toward another group of armed men who assume they are surrendering until one of the first group yells and blows himself and many others around him up (we see a man with a lot of blood on his abdomen and face).
 Gunfire is exchanged between Taliban fighters, American soldiers and Afghan fighters in several scenes with men being thrown through the air from explosions, equipment being destroyed, and men being struck by gunfire (blood splatters and their bodies are thrown). Many bombs are dropped from planes and blow up encampments in several scenes (we see some men being blown through the air and charred bodies on the ground later). Men on horseback ride into areas after they have been bombed and shoot at remaining fighters; several men are struck and fall from their horses (we see blood spurt) and during one such scene a tank rolls toward them and takes aim until one horseman shoots the driver and blood sprays. An explosion throws a man from his horse and both he and the horse are shown on the ground; the man struggles to revive (we see blood on his head) and the horse eventually gets up and seems OK. Armed men hide behind a wall and under heavy vehicles prepare to fire on other armed men approaching them; they all open fire and a grenade is thrown blowing several men into the air. A bomb strikes behind a group of soldiers and they are thrown into the air. A sniper hits a scout in the head and blood spurts. A man on a horse chases another man in a truck; the truck crashes into a hole and the horseman dismounts and shoots the driver (blood splatters). After one firefight we see a young boy dead on the ground with blood in his mouth.
 Many rockets are launched into a rocky hillside causing the rocks to slide down and pile on men below. Twelve soldiers disembark in a dark area and see two armed men approaching them; the soldiers grab the two men and throw them to the ground before another man arrives and tells them the two men are their escorts (there is a lot of yelling). An Afghan general calls a Taliban warlord on a walkie-talkie and tells him that Americans are there to bomb him; bombs drop nearby and dirt is thrown in the air.
 We see a video of a woman and are told that she was stoned to death for having become pregnant out of wedlock (her body is seen in a hole in the ground). A wounded man spits blood and we see a very bloody leg wound as another man tries to bandage him. What seems to be a dead man lies on a table as another man bathes him (he is covered from the waist down with a cloth and we see a hole in his side). A man's bloody arm wound is stitched up after a battle. A man yells when he is helped off a horse and we are told that he has a slipped disc in his back.
 Several armed men stand up and yell at each other (no one is harmed). We see news coverage of the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center Towers, the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, and the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center Towers, along with news reports on Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Strategies are planned for a team of men to work with an Afghan general who would lead them to the Taliban where they would order bombing runs from US planes.
 Soldiers fly at 25,000 feet in a helicopter with no oxygen masks; one soldier vomits (we see goo) and a few others fall asleep or are unconscious. A man kicks over a desk in frustration.
 A man yells at another man in a few scenes. A man looks at a toppled desk in another man's office and says, "Good kill." A man tells his pre-teen son that he is leaving to fight in Afghanistan and his son is upset. A captain reprimands a soldier for saluting him "in country," saying that he will get him killed if the enemy saw. Men talk about a mission in Afghanistan and say, "Capture is not an option." An encampment is called, "The Alamo," and one soldier says, "You do know everyone died at the Alamo." A man talks about there being 3 Afghan militias and that they hate each other. A man talks about there being a price on the heads of American soldiers. A man says that no girl over the age of 8 should be educated. A man says that his father ruled with an iron fist and a leather belt. A man says that he fought with a guy and "beat him up pretty bad"; he was given a choice between jail and the army. A man says that a general would kill the man responsible for someone under their protection dying along with the man's family. A man says "Wars are won in the dirt." A man talks about another man killing his family.
 Soldiers in barracks joke and wrestle briefly, one knocking another onto a cot. A soldier walks away from an encampment and says that he is going to urinate; a young boy follows him and the man is uncomfortable with his proximity (we do not see urine).


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LANGUAGE 7 - About 29 F-words and its derivatives, 2 sexual references, 24 scatological terms, 6 anatomical terms, 13 mild obscenities, name-calling (career wrecker, bastards, bogey men, weak, warlord, killer eyes, son of a dog, graveyard of many empires, enemies, cowards), 16 religious profanities (GD), 16 religious exclamations (Oh God, I Swear To God, Thank God, For God's Sake, Jesus Christ, Christ, God Is Great).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man drinks vodka from the bottle.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - 9/11, Afghanistan, war, Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, Taliban, covert operations, malaria, humanity, fearing death, victory without bloodshed, hope, soldier vs. warrior.

MESSAGE - War is impossible without bloodshed. It is difficult to defeat an enemy you know little about.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.



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