November 27, 2011

Filthy Review - 5 Days of War

5 Days of War (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Finnish director Renny Harlin has had a mixed career with his choices of movies. He has made enjoyable flicks, such as Prison, Die Hard 2 and Deep Blue Sea, and then he has made the instantly forgettable, like The Covenant. One thing that has tied most of them all together though is that pretty much all of them are popcorn flicks, they don’t really require any real thought and there’s nothing wrong with that.

5 Days of War is a different kettle of fish though, in that he has taken a far more serious approach to the subject matter. This time out the story focuses on the 5 day war between Georgia (the Country not the State) and Russia, which happened in 2008. Don’t worry though, you still get plenty of bang for your buck, although this time out it is dealt with in a slightly less gung-ho manner.

The main story focuses on reporter Thomas Anders, who himself suffered a loss in the Iraq war, and his cameraman Sebastian as they head out into Georgia to cover the emerging story of the conflict in Georgia. Georgia had previously declared their independence from Russia, and now Russia want them back. They are quickly thrown into the midst of the battle when a wedding is the casualty of an airstrike.

As a reviewer I don’t really know all the in’s and out’s of this particular war, and I certainly don’t know how accurate this movie’s depiction of it is. As with any story you are really only going to get one side of the story. What I will say is that this movie did have Georgian funding. So, make of that what you will.

Taking the movie as a spectacle though it does work surprisingly well. Harlin doesn’t flinch away from the nastier aspects of the story, and as I mentioned we do get treated to some quite spectacular set-pieces. On top of that there are some decent lead performances from Rupert Friend as Thomas and Emmanuelle Chriqui who plays Tatia, who is the sister of the bride at the aforementioned wedding. There’s also Heather Graham in a tiny cameo, slightly, but only slightly, larger roles for Val Kilmer and Dean Cain, and Andy Garcia who does give an emotional performance as Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

I did actually enjoy 5 Days of War, as I do like a good war film from time to time, and it does deliver on the action front. I do think that the message was a little heavy handed and the end credit montage was a little too much.

If you want to watch a wham-bam thank you madam kind of movie you could do a lot worse than to watch this. If you are looking for a movie about the political history of Russia and Eastern Europe I might suggest taking your research into more neutral surroundings.

5 Days of War is an entertaining, if a little heavy handed, movie that passed two hours quite nicely.

5 Days of War is released Blu-ray and DVD on November 29th through Anchor Bay

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