Lone Survivor is the story of four Navy SEALs conducting a reconnaissance mission in the mountains of Afghanistan. Some pesky locals discover their position and place the team in a less than ideal situation. Release the civilians and run the risk of them alerting the enemy of their location, or kill them and be war criminals, ruining the Navy SEALs honor and long standing reputation. The SEALs release their captives and sure enough, are ambushed by hostile forces in a fierce mountain side battle.
Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster play the members of the SEAL team and deliver great performances all around. Even though Wahlberg is about ten years older than the rest of the cast, and it was a bit weird watching him take orders from Taylor Kitsch, he's the bonafide "star" of the film and is *SPOILER* (not really...read the title brah), the lone survivor. In my humble opinion, it's Ben Foster who steals the show here. He puts a Doc Holiday-ish spin on his character that transforms him from badass to ridiculously badass. The bond between these characters is not only believable, but during the insane gun fights it borders on heartbreaking. I attribute this to the tremendous talents of the cast (yes I just praised Taylor Kitsch's acting skills), using their onscreen chemistry to propel the film...because the script alone sure as hell couldn't.
Perhaps Lone Survivor's worst offense is shielding itself behind the "based on a true story" defense. The film opens with footage of legit Navy SEALS training and ends with images of the actual personnel who died during the real Operation Red Wings. It has been shown that the events depicted in this film have been greatly exaggerated, or grossly inaccurate...depending on your view. When you take away the forced sentiment that comes with these "true story aka real hero" movies, you're left with the a flawed film that might not have been detected otherwise. Make no mistake, Lone Survivor is a thoroughly entertaining action film, with great performances and some stunning cinematography. Maybe a more skilled director could have successfully taken the film beyond the confines of "action flick" like Berg so desperately aspires to, unfortunately, he falls short.