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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Drama > War > Terrorism > French > Documentary > Politics > Special Forces (2010/E1 DVD)/Superpower (2010/Cinema Libre DVD)

Special Forces (2010/E1 DVD)/Superpower (2010/Cinema Libre DVD)


Picture: C+/C     Sound: C+/C     Extras: C-/C-     Main Programs: C-/B-



Ideology has seen political extremism spill over into various kinds of features from dramas to documentaries.  Here are two that show both ends within reason, why they fail and how they can date quickly…



Stéphane Rybojad’s Special Forces (2010) is not war porn, but is part of a “rah rah” cycle of military narratives about the war on terrorism that seem very formulaic, cookie-cutter, forgettable and in the face of Zero Dark Thirty very anti-climactic.  This one has Djimon Hounsou, Diane Kruger as a reporter and real life leader Marius in Afghanistan as said reporter is kidnapped.  Can they save her?


I was hoping this might pick up at any moment and having French forces for a change made this more bearable to watch, but it becomes impossible to suspend disbelief after the first half-hour as it all goes wrong, becomes highly formulaic and never recovers.  Heroes should never be boring, which is why this should really have been about and based on Marius.


Deleted Scenes that needed to be cut and look at Real Life Special Forces are the only extras.



Barbara-Ann Steegmuller’s Superpower (2010) was released two years after the Bush/Cheney White House ceased to exist, but you would not know this from watching the often informative but also dated and sometimes slanted two hours.  Some of it continues ideas that a certain far Left discourse has been talking about since the 1980s including the U.S. as imperialist, still touting communism to a great extent as feasible as and with more than a few overgeneralizations.


Obama is hardly mentioned, suggesting he is not far Left enough for the makers of the documentary, while some historical points are shockingly glossed over.  The former country of Palestine is brought up off hand as if it still existed, the reign of terror Stalin was responsible for is shockingly ignored when he comes up and there is some information that is outright dated.


Still, even when it is wrong, it is still a piece that makes the viewer think, but it has its points to make just the same and is bold in doing so.  However, it becomes more dated all the time and as usual, has no alternative suggestions for all the awful things it sees as happening and some of the and ones that are undoubtedly are.


Also fascinating was a long list of countries the U.S. intervened in without calling it a war, but this is just thrown at us with very limited explanation, including no extras on the DVD to back up what is being said.  That kind of looseness with the facts also undercuts this work.  A trailer is the only extra, believe it or not.



The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Forces and 1.78 X 1 image on Superpower are both soft and not great, but you would expect the former to look much better except it is styled down while the documentary has some very rough footage and more than its share of aliasing errors and other flaws throughout.  Both have lossy Dolby Digital sound with the 5.1 on Forces good but not great with more sound towards the front speakers than expected, while Superpower is barely 2.0 Stereo with plenty of compressed audio and other audio issues.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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