Ambush (2023) Review



Ambush is the kind of war movie we rarely see anymore and is a breath of fresh air; it’s a visceral nightmare that captures the horrors of war and the terror of what it must have been like for these young men having to do whatever it takes to survive. Considering its modest budget the action is done practically and makes everything feel authentic; the cast are all solid making this one of the best war films in years.

Plot: The thrilling true-story of a US Military suicide mission through miles of enemy, Vietcong infested tunnels. American forces are trapped on the edge of no-mans-land, facing danger amid a maze of tunnels as they pursue the Vietcong far below ground before a deadly secret can be exposed.

Review: It’s been a while since we’ve had a solid old-school war movie so I’ve been excited to check out Ambush. I knew from the trailer that this was going to be my kind of film; a visceral and intense war film that I didn’t think we would see again. It’s too bad it isn’t getting a theatrical release as it deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible.

The cast includes Aaron Eckhart (who should be a bigger star than he is), Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Connor Paolo with Eckhart spending most of the movie on the radio to a group of soldiers in Vietnam as they have to recover a secret document. Connor Paolo is our main protagonist who is an Engineer and is sent with several members of his squad to recover the document by exploring the underground tunnels the Viet-Cong created.

Once down there the majority of the film takes place in the tunnels and is a claustrophobic nightmare really capturing the sheer terror of war. The violence feels real and shocking with an attack scene a few minutes in which had me jumping out of my seat. There is no warning or build up so you feel like you are right in the thick of it with the soldiers.

Admittedly once it goes underground it does get a little samey after a while and I wish we had more above ground action scenes but it’s certainly never dull and like the characters you are relieved to even get a glimpse of daylight.

The score uses minimalistic synth channeling John Carpenter and really adds to the atmosphere giving this almost a horror movie vibe.

The performances are solid all round and it’s just refreshing to see an R-rated war film the likes of which we hardly see anymore.

Overall, Ambush is one of my favourite action movies of the year so far with the cast giving their all, visceral battles and kills with a pace that is mostly unrelenting. I do wish we got more action in the daylight but that’s my only problem with this film.