While Zero Dark Thirty is going to get its mass release in January, you can whet your appetite in the meantime with the independent film SEAL Team Six. I can’t make a comparison between this and Zero Dark Thirty, but I can say SEAL Team Six achieves moments of proficiency with its smaller scale approach while still aiming for the feel of realism.
Directed by John Stockwell, the film tells the unfolding plan of the raid on Bin Laden in Pakistan. The unique aspect of this movie is it takes a three-pronged approach in delivering the story to viewers. We get to see it from the points of view of the CIA, SEAL Team Six and a Pakistani intelligence duo assisting the U.S.A. Director Stockwell does a proficient job in connecting the three bodies and displaying the hurdles they encounter in making this a successful mission.
Probably the most recognizable actor of the bunch is William Fichtner (The Dark Knight, Entourage) who plays CIA official Mr. Guidry. Fichtner also provides the best acting of the bunch, as this film is sometimes hampered by the occasional mundane bit of writing and underwhelming acting. Also on the CIA side is Kathleen Robertson (Boss) and American Pie‘s Eddie Kaye Thomas. The most recognizable of the SEAL actors is Cam Gigandet (The Roommate) who I struggled with as a convincing leader of the most heralded special forces team in the world. Let’s face it. The SEALs are a different breed of bad ass. Gigandet comes across too much like a pretty boy in his role, which bites away at the believability.
Even with its hiccups, the film still has successful moments. The opening scene in the Afghani mountains is tension-laced, the Skype-style goodbyes to their family members is sobering and the assault on the Bin Laden compound is engaging (though not heart-pounding). It’s obvious there was a lot of homework done to put this film together, though I’m curious to see the differening details between it and the upcoming Zero Dark Thirty. I already picked up on a few like the duel Blackhawks that dropped in the SEALs, but the absence of the top secret Comanche stealth helicopter that was a crucial part of the mission. Then again, it is a small independent film so they worked fairly well with what they had.
The video was definitely a high point of the film as its provided in a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC format with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 . For the most part, the scenes came across grit-free with naturally vivid-looking earth tones in the arid Pakistan terrain and the very sterile hallways of the CIA headquarters. Some of the darker scenes struggled to get detail recognized, but overall it was a pretty solid picture through and through.
Seal Team Six’s audio is listed as a DTS Master Audio 5.1 experience. The discharge of the SEALs’ M-4′s provides for an encompassing experience with bullets flying in front and behind you. The dialogue, as expected, arrives from the front speakers while other effects like the thumping helicopter rotors and foot scrambles to a post result in a delivery at all angles. There are moments when I was hoping for a little more impact from a ricochet or a more impactful gasp of dread from a flailing terrorist, but still, it gets the job done.
Here is ultimately the biggest disappointment on the disc; one extra to view. Viewers are treated to a “making of” that covers interviews with the cast and director as well as details of the actual raid. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good extra and does display in high def, but it needs some ‘extra’ help here.
- The Making of SEAL Team Six (17:30)
I didn’t quite know what to expect with this movie. It starts off with a bang and then morphs into more of a deliberate pace with the planning, team building and execution of arguably the most famous Special Forces mission in U.S. history. It has its moments where time drags a little, though the video and audio help the overall score here.