If you have not read part one, and are thoroughly lost or confused as to the purpose of this post… do yourself a favor and click here.
Black Hawk Down (2001), [R]
Based on the book by Mark Bowden. Detailed, factual, and sticking closely to its source material, Black Hawk Down triumphs not only as a gripping story of camaraderie and courage, but also as a raw, unflinching depiction of modern warfare. The acting, cinematography, and directing are all top-notch, and the battle sequences are stunning in terms of sheer realism and authenticity. Above all, much like Saving Private Ryan, the film left me with an even deeper appreciation for the bravery and sacrifice of our troops.
Defiance (2008), [R]
Based on a true story, Defiance is one of the best, most underrated pictures of 2008. The historical accuracy of the film, though not perfect, is surprisingly good, and the performances of Daniel Craig and Liev Schrieber are spectacular. The story is well-told, intensely thrilling, and also thought-provoking, leaving the viewer with plenty to think about long after the end credits roll. Pretty much a must-see film, especially for guys.
Valkyrie (2009), [PG-13]
Valkyrie is a factual, unpretentious, and straightforward tale of heroism and sacrifice, revolving around the last attempt to assasinate Adolph Hitler. History tells us the assaination plot failed, and that Hitler committed suicide months later – but that doesn’t stop this movie from being as taut and suspenseful as any thriller.
The Lost Battalion (2001), [NR]
Notwithstanding its made-for-television origins, this A&E production is an exceptional war film. Rising above cliched storytelling and run-of-the-mill plot devices, it vividly portrays the horrors of war and the “never say die” attitude of the men who fought in such extreme conditions. The performances are solid all around, the history is accurate, and the battle sequences are tightly shot, impressively staged, and brutally realistic, in the tradition of other greats like Saving Private Ryan. And although copious amounts of strong language are staple in most of today’s war movies, the script for The Last Battalion is, for the most part, refreshingly devoid of unwanted obscenities.
Hotel Rwanda (2005), [PG-13]
This powerful, inspiring film tells the true story of Paul Rusesabagina’s courageous stance against the savagery and violence that occurred during the 1994 Rwandan conflict. If you haven’t seen it, you really must. Don Cheadle gives the performance of his career as the protagonist, a man who has only his wit and willpower to protect himself, his family… and 1,200 refugees.
Taken (2009), [PG-13]
Pierre Morel’s Taken is a harsh movie. It’s violent. And it’s very unsettling. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it. Amid the brutality is the powerful story of a father who loves his daughter so much he’s willing to fight to protect her life and purity. He doesn’t give up, he doesn’t back down, until she is safely in his arms again. And he doesn’t negotiate with bad guys. This isn’t to say the film’s ethics are flawless, and there is one particular scene in which I think Neeson’s character crossed the line. Everything considered, however, the good qualities of Taken more than redeem it, making it a worthwhile choice for those in search of a thought-provoking action thriller with plenty of grit.
Collateral (2004), [R]
Michael Mann’s gritty crime thriller is an excellent film that requires your brain to come along for the ride. And it’s a ride you won’t soon forget. Thanks to a smart script, stellar plotting, and the raw performances of Cruise and Foxx, there’s ample opportunity for rich, thoughtful character studies that will provoke plenty of intelligent discussion long after the film is over.
The Manchurian Candidate (1962), [PG-13]
Based on the novel by Richard Condon. The Manchurian Candidate is, in my opinion, one of the greatest political thrillers ever made. After watching it, all I could think was, “Wow.” Brilliant performances by Lansbury, Sinatra, and Harvey lend even more gravity to the already chilling storyline. I was literally on the edge of my seat during the entire film – especially during the final scenes, which add new meaning to the word “intense”.
Amazing Grace (2006), [PG]
Based on the true story of William Wilberforce and his passionate, never-say-die struggle to abolish the slave trade, Amazing Grace is one of those films that will have you on your feet cheering at the end. Despite a uniformly excellent cast, Ioan Gruffudd stands head and shoulders above them all – his portrayal of Wilberforce is something to see.
A Man Called Peter (1955), [NR]
Based on the book by Catherine Marshall, A Man Called Peter is a superb depiction of the life of Peter Marshall, an immigrant Scotsman who eventually became Chaplain of the U.S. Senate. A quick-witted, fiery preacher, he was a man who stood by his convictions, and who sought to serve God in every way he could… and God used him mightily because of it.
Once again, got any favorites/recommendations of your own? If so, be my guest and share ’em down in the comments section, whether you’re a guy or a gal.