Out of all of the movies about modern combat in the Middle East, “Lone Survivor” should be considered one of the finest. Poorly made war film’s biggest faults tend to be poor cinematography and even poorer cliché laden scripts, both of which are avoided here.

“Lone Survivor” manages an intensity with superb action for a solid majority of the two-hour run time. While the title and opening scenes might feel like a spoiler at first, it works well as a unique story telling mechanism that builds suspense, tension, and dread for the inevitable.

Mark Wahlberg has a surprisingly strong role considering his career in comedies. He and the other cast members do a good job of avoiding the acting quality that was less than desired in “Act of Valor”.

What keeps “Lone Survivor” out of the tier of high-class film and prestige is its’ squandered opportunity to create a defining narrative. The gruesome violence itself makes a stronger statement than any character, which makes it all feel like only half way to the finish line. While the script avoids classic pitfalls, the dialogue itself isn’t particularly memorable or interesting.  As a Survival story based on the true events of Operation Red Wings, and as a tribute to the fallen, it is a fitting documentary-style piece. But “Lone Survivor” could obviously have been something more, which is a disappointing realization.

8.3/10