Anchor Bay // 2012 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 16th, 2013
Some mild waves were caused when this made-for-TV movie was announced to run just before the election. Talking heads harpooned the filmmakers claiming this Weinstein-produced project was more a political tactic than anything. First, I would hate to think what voter would have his opinion swayed by a movie starring T-Bag from Prison Break and second, if anything, SEAL Team Six probably hurt the President more than helped him.
Allegedly based on the true story behind the Bin Laden raid, SEAL Team Six loosely chronicles the federal manhunt and the eventual high-risk black op that led to the most wanted man in the world finally getting a slug in the brainpan. William Fichtner (Prison Break, too!) plays the top shot-caller stateside, navigating the treacherous political waters and trusting his brilliant analyst (Kathleen Robertson) to push the operation forward. Meanwhile, we get to spend some quality time with the SEALs themselves as they get set to deploy and bring hell with them to OBL.
Yeah, Drudge, you got yourself worked up for nothing. Not to say the producers didn't try to pump up Obama as much as they could -- they did -- but the simple truth is this movie is tick or two above mediocre. I'm sure the President would have gladly preferred a generous donation to his super-PAC instead of the goofy way the editors shoe-horned him into the proceedings. To ensure that he had a legitimate role, the filmmakers inserted stock photos and footage from the White House (the watermarks are visible!), including that famous shot on the night of the raid. Some Obama audio is interlaced as well.
It's pretty lame, actually. Any attempt to add realism and depth to the storyline is undercut by the feebleness of its tactics. Instead of adding immersion, the Obama stuff acts as a distraction and just comes off of as cheap and cloying.
But this alone isn't why SEAL Team Six falters. What should have been the true draw of the production -- the painstaking planning and strategy of bagging OBL followed by the white-knuckle mission itself -- is minimized in exchange for some half-baked character work. The filmmakers try hard to make us care for the SEALs and a handful of the brass, but too often the emotional moments come across like crutches. What do you think the odds are that before the mission, the soldiers engage in a montage where they talk to their loved ones over Skype? If you said 1:1, you're correct!
When it's finally time to roll out, the OBL raid is shot primarily using POV from helmet cams. I understand the point, with realism and all, but I just found the sequences disorienting, like I was watching someone run around in the latest Call of Duty game.
Anchor Bay's Blu-ray is decent: a crisp 1.85:1/1080p HD widescreen, DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio pushing a semi-aggressive sound mix, and a 17-minute making-of featurette.
So there's this other movie coming out...
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated