‘12 Strong’ tells the hard-to-believe true war story of heroism and horses

By MARK VIOLA

On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists left the United States bloodied. The events were broadcast live to millions of Americans, and the repercussions of that day are still being felt.

Shortly after the attacks, 12 U.S. Special Forces soldiers were sent into Afghanistan to assist a warlord in fighting against the Taliban, who was harboring Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attacks. They did this in harsh conditions and with inadequate supplies, surrounded by enemies, and went into battle on horseback in the 21st century. Their story was classified and went mostly unknown until it was finally made public, eventually becoming the subject of Doug Stanton’s nonfiction book, “Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers Who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan.”

Now we have “12 Strong,” based on Stanton’s book, bringing this incredible true story to the big screen in a well-made war film that manages to leave out much of the politics permeating most modern war movies and instead focuses on the men on the ground. The result is a surprisingly effective film that delivers a story is so incredible that you have to see it to believe it.

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