Gerard Butler proves he is once again a modern legend of action with Mission Kandahar, a taut and relentless ride that has a truly explosive finale.
Plot: In MISSION KANDAHAR, Tom Harris (Gerard Butler), an undercover CIA operative, is stuck deep in hostile territory in Afghanistan. After his mission is exposed, he must fight his way out, alongside his Afghan translator, to an extraction point in Kandahar, all whilst avoiding elite enemy forces and foreign spies tasked with hunting them down.
Review: I’ve always enjoyed movies where our protagonist is trapped behind enemy lines and that’s essentially what Mission Kandahar (or Kandahar as it’s called everywhere outside of Canada) is all about.
Our lead Tom Harris (Gerard Butler) is a spy who blows up an Iranian nuclear facility but just when he thinks he is home free he is called upon to complete another mission which goes spectacularly wrong. He and his translator Mo (Navid Negahban) end up on the run with multiple enemies close behind as they try to get to Kandahar and freedom.
Gerard Butler has really become one of the best modern action stars and Mission Kandahar is another winner. He seems to shine when he works with director Ric Roman Waugh as they come up with some truly awe-inspiring action especially in the second half of the film.
There is the odd pacing lag, and it takes a while for the action to really kick into gear, but Mission Kandahar is immediately tense and rarely lets up until the end. Occasionally it does suffer from that modern trope of certain scenes being too dark to actually see what’s going on, but it adds to the feeling of helplessness.
The script tries its best to avoid stereotypes, so the majority of characters are given more depth than you’d expect in a film like this so we mostly avoid one note villains however, it could be argued that there isn’t anyone to truly hate aside from the sheer pointlessness of war.
2023 has really been a return to form for the action genre as we’ve had multiple entertaining movies with even more still to come. Mission Kandahar has R-rated action as well as some incredible explosions, and they aren’t CG either so there is a real sense of scale to the action and it never gets overly ridiculous like say, Fast X.
Before anyone asks if there are fight scenes in this movie (and you know who you are) no, there are no fight scenes but there should be enough shoot-outs, chases and things exploding to keep you engaged.
Overall, Mission Kandahar has the odd pacing issue but it’s certainly never dull and the final 20 minutes gives us some mind-blowing action and a satisfying finale which could possibly leave things open for a potential sequel…