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STUDIO Entertainment One
RUNNING TIME 94 Minutes
• An Age of Heroes Documentary Featurette
• Interview Soundbites
• Deleted Scenes
• B-Roll Footage
• Theatrical Trailer
A perfect example how a war movie without characterizations make you wish everyone would die to save your time.
Director Adrian Vitoria Actors Sean Bean, Danny Dyer, Aksel Hennie, Izabella Miko
The true story of the formation of Ian Fleming’s 30 Commando unit, a precursor for the elite forces in the U.K.
Age of Heroes has an interesting selling point that almost forgotten during the length of the movie. Unfortunately, this is not a case of what could have been, but what was done. Unless you are fully vested in the 30UA division of the British Military or a significant Ian Fleming fan, forget this and watch a better WW2 movie.
I often feel a lot of casual movie watchers don’t understand the importance of developing characters and what that means in terms of the film. Sometimes this can be a real struggle for movies that have an ensemble of characters all fighting for screen time. In a war movie, it is critical to build that relationship with the viewer, that way they genuinely like or hate the characters on the screen and develop the feeling that you don’t want them to die. When these characters walk into an area that screams there is no way out, you hold your breath, you wince with their pain and you feel sympathy for the situation they are in. When there is little character development, who cares who lives or dies. Let them die or even hope they die in order to end your suffering and likely boredom.
I don’t think I ever figured out who the lead was supposed to be in this movie, and it wasn’t split enough to be shared, but it does shift the point of focus between a few characters. Danny Dyer plays the mandatory rebel soldier that doesn’t respect authority. He’s a great super soldier, but hits his superiors, spits on them and even takes a senior office hostage at gunpoint, but instead of spending years in military prison for kidnapping he is rewarded by getting taken out of a reform camp by the very Major he kidnapped. Not because of his previous experience, but because he was crazy enough to kidnap him.
James D’arcy plays Ian Fleming who commands a lot less importance than you would think when the movie summary and tagline both mention Age of Heroes is about a task force he was involved with. He has about 10 minutes of screen time, and only one scene I felt was relevant, when he was talking with Sean Bean about the creation of the new Special Operations AU30 group that the Major would lead. He spent the other bits of his screen time acting like a glorified receptionist, listening to their radio communications and poorly attempting to help them. The effect left me feeling Fleming was a douche that couldn’t be bothered putting his neck on the line for the men he sent on a suicide mission. In no way do I think this was the desired intention. After the film ended, I looked up more about Fleming and imagine my surprise to find him a real mover and shaker in the British military and completely worthy of my respect.
Sean Bean needs to find a new agent. I am under the belief that if I see Bean is in a film, that he will play a strong leader that ultimately winds up in the same place he always does. He is Dead Meat from Hot Shots!. As an actor, I love the guy, but come on, it’s getting old. I know, you are playing characters from different era’s or worlds, but they all have the same arc. I am always the first person to see him in something and that alone has made me watch it in the past, but I am getting over that as no matter how good an actor he is, if he plays the essentially the same part, it becomes extremely boring and not worth my time. BTW, I wrote this right before Nick put up this >article so he must have read my mind.
In the Dvds I have reviewed I have found quite a few that lacked in the director’s vision, but you can tell that they possibly have something great to come. I am not as sure with Adrian Vitoria. The pace of this movie doesn’t hit the required action marks. Even though it starts with a battle and ends with a battle, the battles don’t maintain the flowing stream of events that keep us engaged. We often have a hard time figuring out the landscape of where people are fighting and sometimes who is at risk of being hit and who isn’t.
The beginning scene has 3 soldiers running freely acting like they are scared and Danny Dyer carrying a wounded soldier at a much slower speed. The three jump a log and take cover, all showing fear that they may die while Dyer plods at a snail’s speed while gunshots are heard all around. The wounded man on his back gets shot while Dyer holds him and they both fall down. The shooting stops. The enemy closes to within sight, only looking at their fallen foes and forgetting the 3 are nearby huddled behind cover. After they get close enough to see they only could have hit one man and there are two laying there, they wait to be fired on from Dyer and THEN the other 3 before returning fire. I get that Dyer is supposed to come off as a hero, but the other 3 were in a war and in fear of their life. I cannot see any way that they would have laid there scared without stray fire to try to keep the enemy away. This is the stuff most people hate about Hollywood action films, and plays out worse when there is less of an ammo budget to distract the viewer from the stupidity at hand.
I also don’t get the point of Isabella Miko. She’s hot, I agree, but not when she wears a bird’s nest instead of a hat and is covered from head to toe the entire film. She doesn’t play a romantic lead. She only shows up after half the movie is over and serves almost no purpose to force her character to be a woman. At least give us the obligatory “You must wear this” changing scene. Or give us the usual Misogynistic woman can’t do anything right character Hollywood normally dishes out. I wouldn’t be mad, but she is on the DVD cover and contributes nothing to the film, not because she wasn’t good enough, but because there wasn’t a reason for her in the script. Why give her priority billing if her character contributes nothing. The film may have played better if the soldiers fought giant spiders, but we didn’t see them.
The Blu Ray has some nice features, some that are actually better than the film. The Documentary about the real UA30 was very interesting and revealing about the inspiration behind this movie. It plays out similar to Band of Brothers’ opening scenes with real life veterans talking about their experiences and letting you have the honor of seeing the men they have lived to become. I would much rather have seen 90 minutes of small scenes re-enacted from each of their experiences. The B-roll footage to me seemed funnier than the very dry Blooper reel. The deleted scenes showed they would have added nothing to the story, and they also included some interviews and topped it off with a trailer. A decent package for a not so decent film.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars