Age of Heroes makes my All-Time Top 10 British War Films (by imdb-91-231802)
When I heard Danny Dyer say they were trying to recreate an old-school British war film with Age of Heroes I was sceptical to say the least. Even the title seemed too syrupy.The key to the success of our classic war pictures is their sheer simplicity – films with names like The Cruel Sea and Went the Day Well? drew on simple plots and simple settings. Now, with directors able to call on the previously impossible effects of CGI, the temptation to go large must be over-whelming and in doing so that magical key might be lost.It rarely gets simpler than my all-time second favourite Ice Cold in <more>
Alex where John Mills leads a small party to safety across the Libyan desert with the promise of an ice-cold Carlsberg as their final reward. That's the plot. And then take Virginia McKenna's under-stated portrayal of heroic SOE agent Violette Szabo in Carve Her Name with Pride, where possibly the biggest expense was the hiring of a war-surplus Lysander aircraft. I'm not saying big is bad but when we do make them big we tend to make them messy and confused. Struggle through the cast of glitzy characters and the175 minutes of A Bridge Too Far and you start to wish the US Airborne will come and rescue you from the cinema. Obviously, there are exceptions. The five minute single-shot Dunkirk beach scene in Atonement was breath-taking and told the story better than it has ever been told before.But if the Brits were to make a war film on the scale of Saving Private Ryan we would probably end up with a sickening celebrity fest set in a stately home where everybody has expensive flash-backs to their war gone by.With a limited budget, Age of Heroes director Adrian Vitoria had to literally call the shots when he found the cost of blank ammunition too expensive. "How can we compete?" he asks. "The idea for me was we can't really compete as a full-on action movie but maybe we can readdress the idea that the British were involved in the Second World War and because I have a knowledge of that period and British Commando units I thought it would be interesting to portray those units and look at their legacy - which is what we have today in Afghanistan." Danny Dyer, who plays the lovable Cockney hard-nut Corporal Rains, says he loves the film's simplicity. "There's no tricks or gimmicks. It's not Hollywood." But he was staggered to see someone counting every blank he fired. "I thought we're making a f**king war film! But it is what it is and I'm very proud of it."With a modern take on The Dambusters in the making, more British directors are likely to seek inspiration from our current austerity and add that authentic underdog feel to the kind of films we make best. These tend to fall into four groups: the propaganda films made during the war – Life and Death of Colonel Blimp a prime example to get us knuckling down to the new concept of Total War. Those made immediately post-war were invariably based on officers' best-selling memoirs like Douglas Bader's Reach for the Sky or they turned excellent novels like Elleston Trevor's The Big Pick-Up into appallingly pro-Establishment cornballs like Dunkirk. But in the 1960s the tales of ordinary folk began to filter through and along came simplicity itself in The Long and the Short and the Tall and prime examples of the dogged British character with The Password is Courage . Arguably the worst of the bunch came in the 1970s when everything went Technicolor. But some stand out like the high-tension Anglo-American blockbuster The Eagle has Landed. Director Adrian Vitoria's Age of Heroes passes muster as great British war film. To hold it up against the classics of the past is to ask a lot but it works so well on every level that it slips neatly into my All-Time Top 10.It also bares more than a passing resemblance to another recent low-budget success. The King's Speech captured a very British sense of time, place and decency, and so does this new post-Crunch take on the British war film. Danny Dyer says the film harks back to a time when ordinary people were called on to do extraordinary things. "That's why I like the title Age of Heroes," he says. "Because that's what it was. It's about spirit and heart. Putting yourself in these situations and having to deal with it."For my All-Time Top 10 British War Films go to:http://civilwargb.typepad.com/alanpearce/ @AlanNPearce
Quite good and entertaining, a nice watch for the night (by hypersonic8999)
Before I saw the movie, I read a few reviews in IMDb and was quite disappointed because I had just rented the DVD. This is one of the first real films the director/writer has attempted and I must say it's quite good for a first attempt. A lot of people judge the film by its historical inaccuracies and the plot. I'll say that actually the plot was quite good. It was obvious that it copied the Dirty Dozen and Where Eagles Dare, but it was not in a way that would make me feel annoyed. The event is based on the recollections of Ian Fleming James Bond creator while he was serving in one <more>
of the first British commando units. I guess they changed the event though, for copyright purposes perhaps. We follow through the training of the commando squad and then see them in action, as they land in Norway to sabotage a Nazi radar facility with newly-developed radar technology.A lot of people complain about the plot being inconsistent. I'll agree that the ending seemed kind of chopped-off, but it wasn't in a way that we wouldn't understand for those of you who don't, check the Spoiler section . The acting was quite good and frankly the effects, battle scenes etc were also well done. Someone complained that the tactics used by the commandos were poor. Maybe they were, but let's not forget that we are talking about a unit that was completely newly-formed and was about to use tactics and strategies never employed before by the British Army. In fact the British Army up to 1930s-1940s was retaining the "code of honour in the battlefield" attitude and considered sabotage, ambushing and other covert operation actions to be "unethical". So they were venturing into new ground in warfare and that was shown very good whether intended by the writer or not by making these tactical mistakes.***SPOILER START***Well, now to resolve some questions people had in the reviews to the best of my abilities. Let's begin with the punishment of Rains Dyer . Having been in the army for 2 years myself, I can assure that punishments during training can be handed out for little or no reason at all. It's part of forming discipline and also ensuring unit cohesion if one does something wrong, everyone is punished . The trainers are just looking for excuses to punish people so that the trainees will be more careful and focused. It's basic psychological warfare. Rains is being punished because he talked back to his shooting instructor, and having been insubordinate before he was on a short lease. Secondly and most crucial, the ending. At the end scene people complain they don't know what happens to Sean Bean and the rest of the squad. We only see the Norwegian partisan and the radio expert walk into Sweden. In my understanding, Sean Bean was captured by the Germans reflects on the first real commander of an SAS detachment, captain Stirling being captured in 1943 by the Nazis , and the rest probably were executed. In context, one does not need to know what happened to the squad and is better left at the imagination of the viewer. The important part of the film was to show us that they carried out their mission and completed it successfully by protecting the intel they secured and the guy carrying it, up until they faced execution/capture. That's a point to be reflected on soldiering. Soldiers serve, but usually people don't really care to know what happened to them and I don't mean the officers getting famous, but I mean the common face-in-the-mud soldier . That's why we have memorials to the Unknown Soldiers. Again, this point was reflected perfectly for me at least at the end of the movie, whether it was intended or not.***END SPOILER***Most people focus on how badly the technical aspects of the film were executed to rate it, but they never contemplate much on points the film is trying to make or how it makes you think. When I watched this film it actually achieved what a good war film should achieve: It made me appreciate the sacrifices done by soldiers, made me understand how war is horrible and unnecessary, and it also gave plenty of good action. The film was directed and produced quite well considering it's low budget and was done by a very young director/writer. Personally, it entertained me, and that was its purpose. The 9/10 is to counter some really bad reviews. I'd give it 8/10 normally.Watch this film if you are in the mood for some world war 2 action and are tired of the old stuff you've rewatched a hundred times. It's guaranteed good entertainment if you don't come in expecting to see Saving Private Ryan.
Underrated and way more realistic that the norm (by rdoliva)
I think this is a very good movie. Sean Bean is a very talented actor though he does not seem to choose his movies well and it comes out here. He does some very good work here, in his quietly intense style. There are no Rambos in this movie whom women adore and men envy, instead, the people are real, with their their good and bad sides. I particularly like the photography and scenery and i love that special effects were kept to a minimum accidental or intended, i don't care . In regards to the story, this is not the win-the-war-by-ourselves kind and rather approaches the subject in a <more>
our-work-is-a-part-of-it-all way, which to someone like me i am fascinated with history is much more believable. I like the way the story is put together, showing that the learning approach that is common to all we do, including commando tactics. If you're looking for a Stallone, Schwarzenegger or Norris kind of flick, you definitely won't like this one. Go watch Commando or Rambo 3. For those of us that like our movies a lot more like the real deal, this is a very good movie.
I don't understand all those negative comments. It's a simple ww2 movie about a commando team in the making. The actors are acting good, but it never intended to be a deep Shakespeare like prizewinning movie. As war movies go, it's quite entertaining. I wasn't bored. It isn't the best movie i've seen, but it's really worthwhile.It immediately made me think about all the dirty dozen movies, but those are more "the A-team like", this movie is more serious. I've seen almost all ww2 movies i collect them and this isn't one to miss. Do not take this <more>
it to seriously, and you'll love it, if you do, you might get bored, it isn't a typical Hollywood blockbuster....
A good old fashioned British War Movie (by frankguth)
I started writing reviews this is my 2nd because I felt that most other reviews tend to pick movies apart whether that be the acting, cinematography, soundtrack or whatever the reviewer happens to like or dislike. When reading a review I want to find out if the movie is worth watching.I only want to comment on the entertainment value. If the entertainment value is, in my opinion, lacking then I'll reflect that in my vote.Having said that "Age of Heroes" is a very good old fashioned British type war movie. It is very enjoyable. This movie falls into my category "I would go <more>