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Movie Review: Black Hawk Down

Story: I was going to get some popcorn to celebrate seeing this, my last released film of 2001 (then I remembered I am on a diet). I am glad I chose not to eat because my stomach was in knots during the entire film. Does knowing what is going to happen make it more difficult to watch a film? I think so.

If you don't read the few lines at the beginning of the film and you somehow have no memory of our humanitarian involvement in Somalia's civil war in 1993 this film might work better for you. It appears that producer Jerry (shoot 'em up) Bruckheimer and director Ridley Scott decided to focus on an action film rather than the political, moral and strategical, whys? and what happened? of this simple surgical strike to capture some operatives in downtown Mogadishu that turned into an American nightmare (our worst casualty loss since the Vietnam War) where 19 of our soldiers and over 1000 Somali's were killed. Adapted from Mark Bowden's book which was based on a series in the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper this is a grueling, ofttimes, difficult to watch war film. If that is your cup of tea, you will enjoy this film. Otherwise, stay home.

Acting: I would call it more like reacting. It was a total full on action film with barely time for us to get to know anyone.

Critters: A donkey and lots of street dogs.

Visual Art: No time for art with all of the bullets flying. But some of the visuals were very strong.

Blatant Product Placement: The US Army

Soundtrack: What could be wrong with a soundtrack that starts out with Elvis Presley's Suspicious Minds and then continues with Guns N Roses' Welcome to the Jungle?

Opening Titles: A few simple lines of copy describing in very little detail where we were, what year it was and what was going on. All credits were at the end.

Theater Audience: I was in the secret balcony alone until one minute before the film began. I peeked over the balcony to view the audience downstairs where I saw a pretty large crowd of mostly men...all sitting one seat apart from one another. Three twenty-something Orthodox Jewish men found my secret balcony and chose to sit directly behind me (I noted they did not sit one seat apart from each other). One of them offered to share his popcorn with me because he had the jumbo combo and it was too big. (I said, No thank you).

Squirm Scale: Very high.

Predictability Level: Not applicable.

Tissue Usage: One.

Oscar Worthy: No.

Nit Picking: The most horrifying image that I recall from this Mogadishu horror was the repeatedly played footage of Sgt. Gary Gordon's half naked corpse being dragged through the streets. They chose not to show this in the film. It is implied, but not shown. I can understand that decision but to 'prettify' a vivid memory like that one, in order to make the film more palatable, distorts the horror of war and seems like a lie. We CAN handle to truth.

Big Screen or Rental: If you want to see this film the big screen is a must. For other Ridley Scott films that I liked a whole lot better you could rent: Thelma and Louise, Someone to Watch Over Me, Blade Runner,and Alien.

Length: 15 minutes over the 2 hour Lobo rule.

LOBO HOWLS: a bloody 7