DVD Review: Special Forces

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The idea of a French action film is an oddly unnerving one, but that’s what we’re going to get today with “Special Forces”, a copy of which our friends out at Entertainment One sent out our way to review.

“Special Forces” takes us out to Afghanistan, where Elsa Casanova is a reporter on assignment. But it’s not going well for her at all, as she’s taken captive by Taliban forces who are about to execute her. The titular Special Forces unit is sent to retrieve her and bring her back home alive, but that’s the exact opposite of what the Taliban’s after. So naturally, this is going to kick off a wild pursuit, between a group of soldiers honor-bound to get Casanova home, and a group of soldiers honor-bound to prevent it.

For some reason that is quite unclear to me, large portions of the movie appear to slip past without subtitles. Thankfully there’s an English language track, otherwise I’d be mostly lost. I say “mostly” lost, of course, because “Special Forces” is a fairly familiar slice of action fare. It’s a lot like “Navy Seals” and “Five Days of War” mixed together. The combination isn’t a bad one, but it’s also nothing particularly unique. There is some uniqueness in here, of course–I can’t remember the last time I saw special forces operatives on the run–but still, it’s a straight shot of action movie mixed in with just a twist of something different.

For those who like action movies, however, “Special Forces” will likely fill the bill as well as anyone could expect. There are some very well-done sequences here overall, especially a cleverly-executed sniper duel about an hour in. Still, good quality execution can only elevate a familiar and mediocre plot structure only so far, leaving us with a solid if unremarkable action film. The ending, meanwhile, is a bit of a downer, but only a bit.

Special features, meanwhile, include your choice of French or English audio, as well as your choice of French or English subtitles. Plus, you’ll get trailers for “The Sweeney”and “Cosmopolis”–though oddly, you won’t get to them from the main menu, they’ll just be ahead of the main menu–as well as a set of deleted scenes and a short called “Marius”, which introduces you to real life special forces, though it will be completely in French, I believe. Subtitles will be provided, though, so no issue there.

“Special Forces” will prove to be nothing special, but sufficiently well-executed to make it worth a watch. Action buffs especially should clear a night for a rental on this one, as it will be worth your time to do so.

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