Age of Heroes
dir Adrian Vitoria
scr Ed Scates, Adrian Vitoria
prd James Brown, Lex Lutzus, Nick O'Hagan, James Youngs
with Sean Bean, Danny Dyer, Izabella Miko, Aksel Hennie, James D'Arcy, William Houston, Guy Burnet, John Dagleish, Stephen Walters, Sebastian Street, Daniel Brocklebank, Rosie Fellner
release UK 20.May.11
10/UK Metrodome 1h39
Age of Heroes
Hunting Nazis: Miko and Bean

dyer d'arcy brocklebank
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Age of Heroes Ambitiously tracing the story of Britain's first Special Forces mission, this film's shoestring budget is just far too apparent, making it impossible to take seriously. But it has its moments.

In 1940, Captain Jones (Bean) is assigned to lead a clandestine mission into occupied Norway to capture German technology that could turn the tide of the war. He recruits a team of crack commandos, including the brave hothead Rains (Dyer) and the Norwegian-Yank Steinar (Hennie). But they have a very rough landing in Norway, their spy contact (Miko) isn't who they expect and the ruthless Nazis quickly catch up with them. Can they get in, do their job and get out? Or will they need plan B?

The action isn't hugely convincing from the start, which appears to have been filmed in a London park rather than the wilds of France. Things look better in snowy Norway, but there are still so few extras that it sometimes seems more like an amateur re-enaction. And the abrupt ending comes as a surprise, feeling more like the end of a chapter than a movie. It turns out that this is the first in a planned trilogy.

That said, there are some seriously suspenseful sequences along the way, as these guys dive into several dangerous situations. The Nazis are gleeful sadists, merrily torturing captives and murdering innocent bystanders, which is somewhat cartoonish but adds a sense of terror to the film. Although the action set pieces are awkwardly staged and edited, never quite capturing the real feeling of combat.

And the corny script very nearly defeats the actors. Most make it through with their dignity intact, mainly because they play it dead straight. Even the slightest smirk would have sent this into Team America territory with all of the cut-glass accents and tally-ho heroics. At times we can feel the cast and crew straining to create a tough hard-man sensibility, but it's the melodramatic emotion that's more convincing ("How many fatherless children will there be once this war is done," pleads Jones' pregnant wife). At least the strength of the overall story keeps us from laughing too much.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 8.Dec.10

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© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall