12 Strong Movie Review (Balanced & Compelling)

(3.7 / 5)
12 Strong Movie
via – Warner Bros.

12 strong showcases the first military operation to answer Taliban in its own land Afghanistan after 9/11 attacks. The idea becomes worthy and interesting itself. The movie is based on true events; audience can’t hold them to not engage in it. It may feel like larger than life mainstream war-action flick, but thankfully it is real and delivers cinematic qualities. If you are an American, there is much more emotion for you especially.

The script is loaded with passion, courage and adventure. The movie begins with displaying Al-Qaeda’s attacks on America and reaches to the day of 9/11. So from the very beginning, it becomes compelling. And, when U.S troop leave to Afghanistan to eliminate Taliban from Mazar-i Sharif city with the help of their alliance’s army of 200 against 50,000 terrorist; it embarks conflict, adventure and passion to you to see the bad dead.

So the script gets build solid in a few initial minutes of the watch time and thereafter you would expect only events. But that isn’t the case, a good script should have conflicts and twists during the journey; 12 strong does it with fluency.

Another reason the movie makes you engaged are the troop themselves, led by Captain Mitch Nelson who doesn’t have war experience. He actually makes an effort to get into the operation; Mitch wasn’t the first choice by his officers. This force you to see him and his team win at anyhow.

The movie also houses a space of empathy, just before being in the mission, all the militarians are shown spending time with their families, including Mitch’s little daughter. They make promises to avenge 9/11 and get back soon.

The character of Abdul Rashid Dostum, played by Navid is the essence of the storyline, he also helps the movie remains compelling after the second half.

The events in the movie are fascinating and adventurous; you see Taliban’s cruelties, barren condition of the land, collaboration of modern U.S military with old school Northern Alliance and large scale but realistic action. This creates a powerful screenplay and you don’t get bored anywhere in between.

I would especially like to talk about horses in the movie, when U.S troops reaches Afghanistan’s border, the only medium to proceed are horses where many struggle to ride it; the movie focuses on it.

It looks like the movie has been shot at real locations, hence the cinematography is realistic and impactful.

As the movie is about a secret operation, the action is sequences are smart along with being large scale. The movie doesn’t show one huge battle, U.S militarians proceed to Mazar-i Sharif eliminating terrorists in the way. When the both collide, a battle with automatic guns, bazookas, bomb dropping begins which looks stunning. I loved the action.

RATING – 7.5/10

Concept – 7.5/10
Story – 6.5/10
Screenplay & Direction – 8.5/10
Connectivity – 7/10
Action – 8/10
Cinematography – Naturally Beautiful
Acting – Effortless


The movie opens showing past attacks of Al-Qaeda on America and assassination of Northern Alliance leader by Taliban.

It is the black day of 9/11, while helping his family making adjustments in their new home; Captain Mitch Nelson watches the news of the incident on T.V. He soon reports to his office and tells his officer to let him and his team go to Afghanistan to have avenge. The officer denies as Nelson hasn’t been in a real battle field, however he gets permission to give interview at U.S military base for the operation because of his fellow Hal Spencer.

Nelson and his boys get recruited for the job when he impresses the general with his war strategy.

Their plan is to land at the border of Afghanistan where they will be helped by CIA operatives who will take them to Northern Alliance leader Abdul Rashid Dostum. There, they have to make a good collaboration with Dostum’s army and then eliminating Taliban from Mazar-i Sharif.

The troop land in Afghanistan but they mistakenly behave aggressively with CIA operatives, the situation gets controlled before it gets heated. They are taken to Alamo where they are told that the Northern Alliance has been divided into three and they hate each other more than they hate Taliban. Soon, Dostum arrives at the place with his men. Captain Nelson gifts him a bottle of Vodka and the both shake hands to take down Taliban. However, Dostum only has 6 horses, Nelson orders Spencer and other five to be in Alamo.

They leave to a Taliban occupied village. In the morning, Dostum tells Nelson to call the air support and bomb on Taliban in the village. However, the Captain is unsure about the position so he moves near and gives exact values to the air support. With a rainfall of bombs and military attack, the first fight is won.

They spend the night in a cave where Nelson and his fellow Sam Diller share words. Soon Dostum comes to them and criticizes them for having their men with guns around the cave. Dostum tells that it is his responsibility to protect them and they don’t need to do so. But, Nelson ends the chat by mentioning it as an army rule.

Meanwhile, the operation chief Mullholland doubts the ability of the Captain due to his sluggish strategy.

Next morning, they move further where Dostum with his army attacks on Taliban. However, Taliban gets tanks and missiles form a supply line nearby. The bad again loses the battle but many man of Dostum gets killed.

Nelson rages on Dostum for such childish attack without any strategy where he confesses that he was unaware of the supply line.

On the other hand, Mullholland calls another unit to collaborate with Dostum’s revival and attack on the city from south. While creating the plan for the next big battle, the Captain tells Dostum about it where he leaves the operation with anger.

Nelson and his men rejuvenate themselves to fight alone. They attack on Taliban where it looks like they are trying to surrender, however it turns to be a trick and a terrorist blasts himself, making Spencer critically wound.

(Spoiler) While having struggle to take down the bad, Dostum again joins them and makes their position stable. In an edgy battle, the operation gets successful where the leader of Taliban who killed Dostum’s family is also shot by him. (/Spoiler)

About Ayush Chandra

Hello Movie Fans, I am Ayush from Aligarh city India. I love to analyze and write about movies, so I am here to share with you interesting and comprehensive articles on Movies. I especially like to review Movies.

View all posts by Ayush Chandra →