Black Hawk Down (2001)

black hawk down poster 2001 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Intense fighting and visuals

Liberties with the story, large ensemble cast makes it sometimes difficult to follow storylines

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Black Hawk Down

Studio:  Revolution Studios/Jerry Bruckheimer Films/Scott Free Productions

Genre(s):  War/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  December 18, 2001 (Premiere)/ January 18, 2002 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

black hawk down matt eversmann josh hartnett

Yep, it’s a Black Hawk…and it’s down

A mission into Mogadishu, Somalia where the city is ruled with an iron fist by Mohamed Farrah Aidid leads to disaster.  A team of soldiers is cut off and the crash of one of their Black Hawk helicopters puts them in a fight for survival as the men of Aidid move in.  The soldiers are caught in a nightmare and a political snafu…time is running out and the casualties are mounting.

Directed by Ridley Scott, Black Hawk Down is a war action movie.  The film is based on Mark Bowden’s 1999 book Black Hawk Down:  A Story of Modern War which in turn is an account of the Battle of Mogadishu which occurred from October 3, 1993 to October 4, 1993, but the movie received criticism for accuracy of the events and the portrayal of the Somalis.  It received Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Sound with nominations for Best Director and Best Cinematography.

I saw Black Hawk Down in the theater.  Ridley Scott always has a style and look, and following Gladiator, it was interesting to see where the director would go.  The movie is rather intense, but the spoils of war are dangerous ones that are both positive and negative.

black hawk down michael durant ron eldard

My family vacation to Mogadishu sucks

Knowing the movie is based on a real event, you know where it is going to before it happens (the title tells you that much), but Scott manages to keep a sense of dread hanging over the soldiers before the action starts.  The film then plunges into an extended fight sequence that last more than the second half of the film…the movie is relentless.  It also feels like a shaming for the military who just assume with technology and manpower that everything will be ok.  The low-tech guys get the upper hand and break them.

The cast is loaded with up-and-comers at the time…but they too suffer from the war (which is partially intentional).  Once the action starts, you can’t tell who is who and a lot of the deaths lose impact…which is true of mass casualties and war.  Ewan McGregor, Josh Hartnett, Tom Sizemore, and Eric Bana seem to be the main focuses of the film but the film also is rounded out by Ewen Bremner, William Fichtner, Sam Shepard, Kim Coates, Hugh Dancy, Ioan Gruffudd, Jason Isaacs, Brendan Sexton III, Jeremy Piven, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Tom Hardy, Ty Burrell, and my favorite Orlando Bloom who can’t wait to get into the fight…but should have.

black hawk down soldiers run out of town

Not the parade they were hoping for…

The action is intense, but it does follow in the footsteps of films like Saving Private Ryan that already shocked with the gore of war.  After a sequence reminiscent of Apocalypse Now’s “Ride of Valkyries” sequence, the bodies quickly pile up and body parts are flying.  It is dirty and grimy and has realism with everyone taking shrapnel of some sort.

Black Hawk Down keeps the pressure on, but it is long.  The movie feels like mixed messages on war and why men fight them, but it does speak the truth in the fact that everyone has their own reason for fighting.  The movie isn’t for everyone and it is a movie that requires multiple views to figure out what is happening (or happened) to some characters, but it isn’t the type of movie that is enjoyable to view a lot…you will get war weary.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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