Archive for category Film

Film: Go See Captain Phillips!

Finally, a film that I can rejoice about. I wrote about this film back in 2011 and I have been anxiously anticipating it’s release ever since. I was not disappointed either and I highly recommend this film.

For those that are not familiar with this incident, here is a quick snippet from wikipedia.

The Maersk Alabama hijacking was a series of maritime events that began with four pirates in the Indian Ocean seizing the cargo ship MV Maersk Alabama 240 nautical miles (440 km; 280 mi) southeast of the port city of Eyl, Somalia. The siege ended after a rescue effort by the U.S. Navy on 12 April 2009. It was the first successful pirate seizure of a ship registered under the American flag since the early 19th century.It was the sixth vessel in a week to be attacked by pirates who had previously extorted ransoms in the tens of millions of dollars.

The story of the incident was reported in the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea (2010) by Stephan Talty and Captain Richard Phillips, who had been master of the vessel at the time of the incident. The hijacking also inspired the 2013 film Captain Phillips, with Tom Hanks playing Richard Phillips in the title role, Barkhad Abdi playing Abduwali Muse and Faysal Ahmed playing Najee.

What is unique about this film is that the audience already knows what has happened, so the directors/actors/writers all had to make a movie about the journey or story, and make it compelling enough to keep the audience’s attention. I believe this film accomplished this task. The director Paul Greengrass is also famous for directing the Bourne movies, and you can totally see that style of film making in this film.

For Captain Philips, Tom Hank’s performance and portrayal of the man was excellent. He did not over act the thing, and you really got a sense of the frustration and fear he and the crew experienced prior too and during this incident. The last scene of the movie was especially gut wrenching, and this performance among others will make this movie a strong contender for the Academy Awards. (six nominations by the way…)

The other star of this film is the Somali pirates. The movie did an excellent job of summarizing what drives these pirates and not choosing a political angle. At first I thought they would justify why these pirates are doing what they are doing because of a lack of fish or some other lame excuse. That these were ‘poor fishermen’ and all the fish have been removed by larger commercial operations so they had to turn to piracy.

Nope, the pirates mentioned this angle briefly as an excuse, but at the end of the day, a pirate is a pirate. And you see the Captain Phillips character go through this arc of perception of his captors as well. At the end of the day, he came to the right conclusion that these were greedy and violent men, bent on doing whatever it took to get the job done. So I was glad that the movie portrayed these guys correctly, yet still gave you something to think about as to their reasoning for being pirates.

Which by the way, the Somali pirate leader Muse was played by Somali actor Barkhad Abdi and he did an outstanding job! He played the role perfectly as a ‘Captain Ahab style leader‘, driven to capture his whale called the Maersk Alabama. Barkhad is also an Academi Award nominee.

I have been following the maritime security industry for the last couple of years, ever since piracy became a huge deal. The Maersk Alabama hijacking brought some seriously needed attention to the matter. It is just one incident of many, that really drove my thoughts and opinions on what needed to happen in the maritime security industry. That less than lethal was a joke when it came to dealing with pirates armed with RPG’s and AK 47’s.

As I watched the film I kept thinking that these guys needed armed guards–which was my mantra back when this first came out in the news. If anything, this incident got the ball rolling as to why armed guards are so important, and the film did an excellent job of showing why. I am sure the audience came to the same conclusions as well.

To that point, it was the outstanding accuracy and cunning of the Navy SEAL sniper team that ended this ordeal. I thought this aspect of the movie was well played, and proportional. The SEAL aspect of this film did not drown out the Somali pirate crew story or the Maersk Alabama crew and captain story. It was all equal parts of the story, as it should be.

I was also taken aback by the enormity of the shipping ports and these vessels. The actual Maersk Alabama vessel was used in this film, thanks to Maersk, and the US Navy contributed aircraft and vessels as well for this film. All of it added realistic detail to the film and made it very believable. You actually felt like you were there with Captain Phillips and the pirates and the Navy SEALs, as they all were living through such horrible and complex ordeal.

A big hat tip to director Paul Greengras and executive producer Kevin Spacey, and the rest of the crew/actors/writers for getting this movie made. This thing gets a big Feral Jundi thumbs up and definitely check it out on the big screen if you can! -Matt

Buy the DVD box set on Amazon here.

Facebook page for film here.

Official page of the film here.

 

Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi and Paul Greengrass.

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Film: The Project, By Shawn Efran And Adam Ciralsky

Now this looks like a cool documentary and it will be interesting to see the reaction to this film? It definitely has an interesting cast of characters that were interviewed for the film or were actual participants. Specifically, the folks from SCS and the good work they did to train and stand up the PMPF. Here is a quote from below.

Cast: Roger Carstens, Erik Prince, Lafras Luitingh, Rudolph van Heerden, Michael Shanklin, Matthew Bryden

What will really be cool is if they were actually able to capture some of the hostage rescue missions that the PMPF performed, with the help of Roelf van Heerden and his men. -Matt

 

The Project

The scourge of Somali piracy has been devastating the Middle East and North African shipping industries for nearly a decade. As a country with no functioning central government for over twenty years and no military training permitted under UN sanctions, Somalia has been largely powerless to curb the increasingly bold and violent actions of the pirates. Enter the Puntland Maritime Police Force, a secret paramilitary group of mercenary pirate hunters. Initially so undertrained and malnourished that members broke their own legs during marching exercises, the PMPF grows its numbers and hones its tactics under the watchful eye of former U.S. Army Special Forces operative Roger Carstens. It ultimately faces mutiny, death and political infighting in a dangerous quest to pull off the impossible: waging an epic battle on the high seas to rescue dozens of innocent hostages.

Featuring interviews with controversial Blackwater founder Erik Prince and the UN’s arms embargo monitor Matt Bryden, along with shocking firsthand footage from filmmakers embedded within the PMPF, The Project is a gripping, real-life war thriller exposing an unknown, anything-goes battle for control of the seas in one of the most dangerous places on earth.
—Cara Cusumano
Film Information Collapse
2013 | 90 minutes | Documentary Feature
Directed by: Shawn Efran and Adam Ciralsky
Language: English

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Film: Battleground–Rhino Wars

This is a new miniseries coming out on Animal Planet which looks pretty interesting. They have recruited some former SF types to work with a South African anti-poaching unit to take this on and you can check out what they will be doing in the video below.

What is really cool about this show is that it brings attention to a very desperate fight that is going on right now to protect these animals. Check it out. -Matt

 

Battleground: Rhino Wars

The world renowned Greater Kruger area of South Africa, just north of Johannesburg, is the new ground zero in a war to protect magnificent creatures on the edge of extinction. Rhinoceroses are being hunted to death by poachers who will stop at nothing to kill them just to take their horns. The death toll is astonishing; last year alone, nearly 700 rhinos were killed with baby rhinos and calves separated from their mothers and left to fend on their own. The human toll too is steep. More than 100 park rangers have been killed by these poachers in the battle to halt these criminals. The situation is worsening. Park rangers and security forces are desperate for help. And now four U.S. Special Forces veterans have come to help fight for the rhinos…

Beginning on Thursday, March 7, at 9 PM (ET/PT), Animal Planet will be embedded in Battleground: Rhino Wars, a three-part miniseries that documents this intense conflict that is centered on the worldwide commercial demand for rhino horns, an exotic commodity that’s more valuable than gold on the black market. The miniseries reveals the conflict between blood-thirsty poachers and one of South Africa’s anti-poaching units, which has recruited armed forces to stop the illegal, lucrative trade of rhino horns. Cameras reveal a bloody war that these elite U.S. warriors find themselves fighting, in an area where both rhinos and people are being slaughtered with increasing regularity.

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Film: Haywire

Back in early 2010 I posted a deal about this movie coming out, but it wasn’t called Haywire. It was called Knock Out, but it still had all of the big name stars in it.

What makes this interesting to our industry is that it’s main star, Gina Carano, is a real life female mixed martial arts fighter (retired now), and she plays a very lethal security contractor in this film. This is a female lead that really knows how to fight, and could probably defeat all of her male co-stars in the ring, to include many of the males watching this film out there. lol

That is probably why Oscar winning director Steven Soderbergh wanted to get her into this film. To try and redefine the classic female action star role–a truly lethal and beautiful lead. Here is the trailer for it below and it looks like it could be a fun movie to watch. -Matt

 

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Film: Coriolanus

Now this looks interesting. This is the film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play called Coriolanus, which was based on the Roman general Gaius Marcius Coriolanus. Beethoven even wrote a piece called the Coriolan Overture. Although with this film, the setting is in modern times. (they also filmed it in Serbia, and used Serbian soldiers as extras)

Now the key here is can a modern film version of this play, resonate with today’s audience? Who knows, but it will be interesting to check out. -Matt

 

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Film: Ridley Scott And Gerard Butler Team Up For Film About Simon Mann

Wow, this is unexpected?  It is also cool to see Ridley Scott do another Africa/conflict type film. Blackhawk Down was an outstanding war film, and Scott really hit the mark with that one

The other story about this, according to Mann’s twitter, is that he is talking with folks about doing a first person shooter game! Erik Prince has some competition in the gaming world I see? lol  Although I do not know if the game will be part of this movie, but even if it isn’t, it will still benefit from a movie.

Also, I kind of think that Gerard is not exactly the best choice of casting for Simon Mann. He doesn’t look like him, or even talk like him. But Gerard brings the star power, as does Ridley Scott, and I am sure Mann’s book fired up the imagination of both guys.  The question is, can a studio sell a mercenary film about a failed coup attempt?

The other question I have is if Ridley Scott and the writers will listen to what others might have to say about Mann and his book?  Because I am sure there are folks out there who disagree with what was said in the book, and would be very interested in making sure that all sides of this thing are fairly represented. It would also make for a more interesting movie if it had all of those perspectives. Who knows, and chalk up another film that we will track. -Matt

Edit: 11/18/2011– Simon Mann just confirmed in a tweet that the video game is part of the movie deal.

 


Ridley Scott and Gerard Butler Team Up for Fact-Based Mercenary Pic

by Dave Trumbore
November 17th, 2011
Although director Ridley Scott is currently busy with the production of Alien-pseudo-prequel, Prometheus, that doesn’t stop him from taking on new projects. Especially when that project stars Gerard Butler (300) as a former British Army officer who puts together a group of mercenaries to attempt a coup against an African nation’s government. Scott is attached to direct and produce the thriller based on the real-life exploits of Simon Mann. The script, written by Robert Edwards (The Bomb in My Garden) will follow Mann through the failed coup, his imprisonment and eventual pardoning.

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