I don’t think Afghanistan looks like very much fun. Note to self: do not honeymoon in Jalalabad. Afghanistan certainly wasn’t fun for the fallen soldiers in Mark Wahlberg’s dramatization of true life events in The Lone Survivor. Considering the title, I don’t think it is a spoiler to say that only one person survives—Wahlberg being the only A-List actor in the cast is pretty much guaranteed to crawl out of this morass. I had high hopes at the outset of this movie; you have a bunch of muscular GI’s cavorting about in their chonies, hazing each other and what have you. Big surprise we’re not exactly extinguishing the Taliban insurgency, when it seems the American armed forces have time to jiggle about to Jamiroquai songs in Afghanistan on the taxpayers’ dime. But I digress.
I do salute the actual fallen soldiers portrayed in this film. Truly it was a tragedy. The story follows Mark Wahlberg and his comrades who have identified one of the Taliban leaders in the far reaches of some mountains which look a lot more like Wyoming than Kabul (turns out this was filmed in New Mexico). They let some goat herders go free and soon enough swarms of Taliban are on their asses. This movie has all the realism of a Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon. The American soldiers hit their marks quite easily while the Taliban shoot their guns approximately 72 times for every time they hit an American. The Taliban bullets hit the Americans, but the bad guys’ bullets must be made of Play-Doh or Silly Putty as the American soldiers can limp along fairly easily after being shot in the head or the crotch or the femur. That is until they fall off ravines. The ravines don’t hinder anyone much, either. At this point I’m like, “Come on guys, they fell 20 feet onto solid rocks not Styrofoam.” I could have lived without seeing this movie.
Can I Take the Kids?: I vote against it. It will just desensitize them more to violence and the horrors of war. Have them read the book, instead.
PC Police: There is clearly an Asian soldier pictured among the actual fallen soldiers shown in the credits, while the soldiers in the movie are all white (at least I only remember white soldiers in this movie). Wouldn’t there be a sprinkling of African-American soldiers as well considering the diversity of the present US armed forces?
Also, the Taliban all wear a lot of make-up, and I got the message effeminate male = bad guy. Be it Taliban or Al Qaeda, I don’t remember any pictures of Osama Bin Laden in which the terrorist appeared to wear Maybelline Great Lash® Mascara. Nothing about the Taliban ever said to me, “Easy. Breezy. Beautiful.” I would let it slide, but Mark Wahlberg has a history of LGBT dissing in his movies. There’s the famous Philip Seymour Hoffman (rest his soul) scene in Boogie Nights where his gay-identified character is rebuffed (link). Message to teens: gay people are perverts who hit on straight men and are not deserving of love. Then last year in Pain or Gain, the one gay character in the movie hits on the The Rock, and the The Rock violently beats and bloodies him up. Message to teens: it’s OK to violently attack gay people. And now we have The Last Survivor in which effeminate people of color (Taliban in eyeliner) attack the helpless Caucasian, hetero-identified soldiers. The “Effeminate Evil Arab” is a trope Hollywood serves up rather frequently, from Jafar in Alladin to the Babylonians in 300. Though I may be reading too much into this, I’m officially putting Marky Mark on my shitlist. Bravo, Marky. BRAVO!
Support Impossibly Glamorous! You can do so by purchasing my book Impossibly Glamorous in paperback or digital. Find it at your local independent bookstore, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and just about everywhere! Play with me on Twitter.