Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review and Reaction to "Lone Survivor"

Like many Americans, I saw Lone Survivor during its opening weekend. When my wife and I met some friends at the theater, we were amazed at the size of the crowd. Earlier showings during the day were sold out, and based upon the number of people in the theater for the show we attended, it was either sold out or very close to it. While I'm not much of a fan of crowds, I thought it was great that so many wanted to see the film. In my opinion, it was another way to support our military.

Bad-assery defined
Navy SEAL Trident (Photo credit: kPluto)
As I write this review and share my thoughts and reaction to the film, I am going to do my best not to give too much away. I do not want to ruin it for those who have not had a chance to see it yet. I encourage all adults to see it, because I think it will have an impact on you leading to an even greater appreciation of our veterans and what they do for us. However, if you're not a fan of crowds, like me, it wouldn't hurt to wait a week or so to let the crowds die down. Also, everyone should know that Lone Survivor is rated "R" for a reason - the language and battle scenes are pretty intense.

I am a typical guy - I like movies with action, shooting, and blowing stuff up. I also enjoy military films, documentaries, etc. I've always had a great deal of respect for our soldiers and the sacrifices they make in order to serve our country and protect us. I began to really understand what they do when I was in college, but it seems each time I watch a film like this, I understand a little more.

I've been through a lot in my life. I'd like to think I'm pretty tough, but the movie affected me in powerful ways I did not expect. At one point, I thought I might have to leave, because the film was so intense and vivid. If the intent of the producers / directors / actors was to make the film so realistic that you feel like you're in it, then they accomplished their goal.

I never served in the military because of my various health issues, so I can't speak from experience, but I think this movie has got to be the most realistic portrayal of combat I've ever seen. You literally feel what these brave SEALS experienced making it like nothing I've ever seen. (If you've experienced combat and can speak to the film's realism, please leave a comment on this post as to how realistic the film is. I would love to hear from you.)

Lone Survivor impacted me in a couple of ways. First, as I mentioned, it increased my understanding of what the U.S. military does, of how hard they fight, and the sacrifices our veterans make. I also found myself continuously thinking about how those SEALS had fought and bled for me - for me and my loved ones to keep us safe from the thugs in other countries who want to kill Americans. Thinking about that brought me to tears and humbled me during the film and as I left the theater.

I also got to thinking about why veterans do what they do. It's not because they get paid well or have great benefits. In fact, I'm of the opinion that our country must do more for them. They fight, sacrifice time with their families, bleed, and die for one reason - they love their country. I like to think I'm patriotic, but I realized during Lone Survivor that my patriotism amounts to a single drop of water in the ocean when compared to the patriotism of these SEALS.

The second way Lone Survivor affected me is that I got angry at one point during the film. The SEALS are under heavy fire and call for air support. "Command" responds that no air support is available, because all the Apache gunships are already committed to troops elsewhere. In other words, there's not enough equipment to go around. These guys are fighting their tails off to survive, and their request for help is denied because "we're out." Really?

Now, please don't take what I just said as me blaming "command" for the lack of air support, because I'm not. You could tell they desperately wanted to help, but they just didn't have any equipment to send them. Their hands were tied. I'm sure the ones who tied them reside in D.C., too. I'm also sure it had to do with budget constraints, since we're broke as a country. Time and time again we've heard politicians in D.C. say, "the country can't afford it," but then they always find millions to spend on their special pet pork projects or to send to some third world country's dictator in hopes of bribing him into liking us. It's all bull malarkey. Our priorities are screwed up as a country, plain and simple.

You know what? We should all be ashamed. We, yes we, the citizens who vote, watch, and allow the president and Congress to waste hundreds of billions of dollars on pork projects and other crap every year should be ashamed. The fact that our military doesn't always have the equipment to get in, do the job safely, get out, and get our guys and gals home in one piece is our, the voters and taxpayers, fault. Why? Because we keep re-electing and sending the same yahoos back to D.C. every election year who make the decisions that sometimes leave these brave men and women hanging out to dry. It's on us and us alone.

Headshot of John Kerry with the U.S. flag in t...
John Kerry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Y'all know I'm right, too. I could give multiple examples of it, but I'll stick to just two :
  1. Right after John Kerry, a Democrat, replaced Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, he announced that the U.S. would be sending millions of dollars in additional foreign aid to Egypt. During the scene I spoke of above, I thought about that waste of money and my blood pressure went up. When Egypt wants more aid, the response is, "Sure. We'll send it over ASAP," but when Navy SEALS need air support, the response is, "We would love to, but sorry, we're out." It's enough to make even a man like Billy Graham cuss.
  2. The Republicans aren't immune to this BS, either. During the last "budget battle" in D.C., legislation was proposed, which was sponsored by Paul Ryan, a Republican, and eventually passed into law which contained a reduction in veterans benefits. The reduction even applied to veterans who were disabled due to injuries they received while in combat serving US. You may also remember the so-called "conservative" Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney's running mate in 2012. With Republicans like him, we don't need the Democrats to screw our military and the country, the Republicans are doing a great job all by themselves.
Lone Survivor is a must see. I think it will have an impact on you. It may even leave you with similar feelings as mine. However, as I mentioned, it is graphic and realistic, and now that I've had a few days to digest it and think about what I saw, I know it has changed me.

Lone Survivor has forever changed me when it comes to election day. Previously, I had two criteria I used in evaluating a candidate - their views on guns and abortion. I now have a third one - I'll call it "veteran friendliness," and it includes evaluating a candidate as to whether they are 100% committed to :
  • ensuring our military has all the equipment necessary in order to get the job done quickly and safely, and
  • ensuring veterans and their families have great benefits and are helped transition back into civilian life when they return home.
Any candidate who does not meet both criteria will not get my vote. Likewise, any incumbent, Republican or Democrat, who has one, just one, vote supporting a decrease in military spending or veterans benefits will be voted out by me. I don't care if they've voted "veteran friendly" thousands of times before. In my opinion, they're either all in, or they're out. I hope many of you will join me in holding politicians accountable this way. My one vote will not have an affect, but thousands of us doing what I just proposed in the voting booth will. It will catch the politicians' attention faster than a female White House intern catches Bill Clinton's.

I think it's important that we look out for our veterans this way, because they have looked out for us. Our military fights the wolves overseas for us with bullets and bombs in order to keep us safe at home. We should fight the wolves here at home for them, in D.C. and the state houses nationwide, with our votes, phone calls, and e-mails in order to make sure them and their families are taken care of while they're overseas and after they return home. Our veterans will likely never ask us to do any of this, but they shouldn't have to. We must do it because it's right. Any wolf politician who doesn't agree needs to be voted out and sent home - period.

As I wrap this up, I want to say thank you to the producers, directors, writers, and others involved in making Lone Survivor. I think you have served your country and the SEALS the film is based on very well by telling their story very vividly. Americans need to know what our military men and women actually do and the conditions they do it under. I think the realism in this film is amazing, and I suspect many Americans, besides me, will be affected in a positive way by it.

I must also say thank you to all those who served on the mission the film is based upon, both the ones who gave their lives and the "Lone Survivor." You have not been forgotten. The country will be forever in your debt.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: