User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 287 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 25 out of 287

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  1. Jan 6, 2014
    10
    This movie was a brutally beautiful tribute to the men killed during Operation Red Wing. Having read the book multiple times I knew I wasn't going to be surprised by anything in the movie but I was still moved by actually seeing what these men endured. Peter Berg did a great job telling this story. Marcus Luttrell did an awesome job keeping it honest. Thank God for our military and their willingness to serve selflessly. Expand
  2. Jan 9, 2014
    8
    A film that truly surprised me, in regards to how the cast was going to hold up. I have no doubt with Peter Berg has ability to create a sense of true American realism, as seen in Friday Night Lights and his respective series. The cast was great, however, I felt that we could of saw a little more of them because I didn't feel the emotional connection I thought I should as they fell one by one. But, as I say this, the ending of the movie was the most emotional part of the movie. That, along with the rendition of We Can Be Heroes, was, I can't express how I felt. Expand
  3. Dec 31, 2013
    10
    i felt compelled to write a review after seeing some of the absurd reviews written by the professional critics. This is a painful & beautiful & honorable film filled with spirit. From Mr. Berg, to the cast, all the way through even the effects of Greg Nicotero, the passion is clear and palpable. This film conveys core elements of the human experience in so many complex, unlikely, and ultimately honest ways. And that's what we want from a great movie isn't it? Expand
  4. Jan 12, 2014
    10
    Lone Survivor is brutal and intensely violent. It'll break your heart. I absolutely love and respect this movie, and it has given me a newfound appreciation and respect for the sacrifices our military makes so that we can live in peace here at home. It's so shockingly realistic and gritty that you'll wince every time one of the main quarter cast gets shot or injured.
  5. Dec 31, 2013
    10
    This movie is brutal. There were parts that made me cringe. This movie had me hooked the whole way through. When the fighting begins, it doesn't end until the end of the movie. I didn't think I could have been any prouder of the US Military but after watching this film, I was wrong. It made me remember that there are people out there serving this country, making decisions that puts theirs lives in harms way so I can sit here and write a review based on my opinion about a movie that i wasn't sure I was going to like. I loved it. It is one of those movies you watch and it impacts you.

    The only change I would make is the title. I don't think it does this movie justice. I would have gone with the mission name instead.
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  6. Jan 15, 2014
    1
    This film takes the generally gruesome and at times utterly horrific slaughter of a small group of US soliders and civilians and uses it as a platform to promote that US military. Jingoistic overtones of patroitism, home and country try unsuccessfully to pave over the blood, gore and misery of young men with wives, babies and small children killed in Afganistan to support the imperialist asperations of corrupt US elites.

    I was left feeling saddened and in no small way nausiated. To make matters worse at the end we get to see these people in happier times with wives and the part that really upset me small babies and children.

    Just as bad in one sense too was the films compulsion to exaggerate the specifics surrounding the actual death of these men as if the truth somehow detracted from their bravery. The enemy multiplied from the true number of 10 combatants to over 200 or more. To make these people seem more less worthy and more villianous they were presented as Taliban which was strictly not the case. They were aligned with the Taliban but then show me a Afgan combatant who does not at least have a passing relationship with them.

    If this films sends a message to US voters as it did to me it would be get rid of your two main parties and find some decent ethical people to vote for. The current mob are an elitist immoral disgrace who worship death and conquest at any cost over simple human decency and respect for life.
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  7. Dec 27, 2013
    7
    Berg's film is adeptly crafted but without much soul. Bookending it with actual footage of the Navy SEALs contextualizes it as a tribute rather than a dramatic exploration. Which is acceptable young people with hours of Call of Duty under their belts need to see the war games played out in reality. But as a fully formed feature, Lone Survivor prioritizes respect over honesty. Ultimately, it can't achieve either. Lone Survivor director Peter Berg puts the emphasis on action and veneration rather than dramatic exploration and nuance in this fact-based Navy SEALs film. Expand
  8. Jan 18, 2014
    10
    "Lone Survivor" based on a true story of 4 navy seals on a mission to capture the Taliban leader. This movie was fantastic from the start! This movie was well made and well acted. I just wished there was more character depth to feel very bad for the men that died in the film. The film was extremely spectacular, when it came to the action it was so intense and very well done! It was super realistic, there were a couple of scenes that can make your stomach turn. Overall this film was very good and showed how much courage these men had, It was way better then what I expected! 10 out of 10 Expand
  9. Dec 31, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. So, from the looks of it most of the "Top reviewers" are in some way retarded. This isn't supposed to be some action flick with lots of violence. It's a depiction of real events; if telling the truth is propaganda as the reviewers claim, then DEVGRU really is a modern day Hercules. It'd take a few minutes to fact check the details in the movie to the actual events and they'd realize how dumb they sound.

    Three men did die on that mountain, Lt Murphy did sacrifice himself to call for help, a Chinook was shot down, an Afghan man did save Lutrell's life. It baffles me that some people would call any of that propaganda (it tells you something, when the book has near perfect reviews that hollywood reviewers are trash).
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  10. Dec 30, 2013
    8
    Action.. patriotism...pride...compassion...and appreciation are all you need to know about this movie.
    Plots.. sub-plots... acting...dialogue.. etc.. don't really cross your mind when you are watching this movie.
    its simply a good time at the movie. You will leave the theater feeling enormous pride to live under the same airspace as our military men and women that risk their lives day in
    and day out Expand
  11. Jan 8, 2014
    0
    The warfare and battle genre is depicted quite flashy and irrelevant these days, be it as it may in Lone Survivor, there is actual emotion in there. Within the realms of hollow characters and dull editing, Mark Wahlberg's big movie to kick off a year where is in something bigger in the oncoming train wreck of Transformers, he has just set the bar. Clearly trying to emote something heartfelt and crushing here, it falls to the depths of boredom without a doubt. Sometimes these movies fly high, but most crash the surface of dry sand with no penetration, I couldn't care less about this dribble. Expand
  12. Jan 11, 2014
    10
    Most compelling characters with true dedication towards their nation and duty. Not matter what critics say, this movie is going to win the heart of every living human being.
  13. Jan 13, 2014
    10
    I loved this movie, it was a great tribute to the men that gave their lives in Operation Red Wings. You can tell that they had Marcus Luttrell guiding them and making sure things were not blown out of proportion just to meet Hollywood standards. Was a great birthday present from my wife and I will definitely buy it once it is released on DVD, hell I even made an account just so I could rate it being a veteran I am very picky about military movies but this was one of the best up there with Saving Private Ryan and We Were Soldiers. Expand
  14. Jan 14, 2014
    9
    This movie shows the kind of hell the military has o go through at times, sad sorry of these courageous soldiers that never give up and put their teams interests above their own lives.
  15. Jan 10, 2014
    9
    I don't give out a lot of tens and from a cinematic perspective I guess this one isn't but you'll never see a more intense war depiction than Lone Survivor. Marcus Luttrell has stated he is 85% satisfied with how it turned out. For Hollywood depicting a true story those are pretty high marks in my experience. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone sensitive to graphic violence but if you want to experience heroism and courage without politics this is the film for you. Expand
  16. Mar 28, 2014
    0
    While the action scenes are ok, mind you those don't start until you are an hour into the two hour film, there is no emotion what so ever. It's hard to care about the characters, based on real soldiers in a real situation, when the plot and dialogue is so incredibly shallow and generic. Needless subplots and no character development killed this movie in my opinion. It's not worth watching.
  17. Jan 11, 2014
    10
    This story is the very definition of Hero, Pain, Love, Brotherhood, Family, Spirit and Humanity coming together regardless of cultures and backgrounds. It put things into perspective for me. These men have families, wives, little ones and yet they volunteer to put there lives on the line for what they believe most. Our freedom. My Wife broke down at the end of the movie and I almost lost my nerves. You FEEL everything in this movie. Best War movie since Saving Private Ryan. Expand
  18. Jan 14, 2014
    9
    First I have to say I rarely write reviews. Just left the theater and I was compelled to give my opinion of this movie. First and foremost the movie kept my interest from the second it started until the ending credits and beyond...Almost didn't want to leave the theater....one of the most moving movies I've seen in some time. I've read some of the reviews and agreed with most, its as good as a war film with true emotion as ur going to get. In my humble opinion it was as good as Saving private Ryan! Not as meticulous as a Spielberg film but just as enjoyable...I'm not a military guy but after seeing this movie I have a renewed respect for these guys. I almost wished I was younger to join such a Nobel cause....These guys albeit mostly in danger are truly living. Sorry getting off course...acting was very believable and loved the back ground music...Peter Berg did a fine job off telling this unbelievable story of our real life super heroes. However I left the theater hating the enemy and loving the fact that I am an American!!! Although there is a bit of a twist towards the end that gives us food for thought. Sometimes not everyone who we think are our enemies are...I highly recommend this movie! Expand
  19. Dec 31, 2013
    9
    A story foremost about the brotherhood of fighting for one's country and for one another. This film is a very tough film to watch, but a fantastic film no less. A
  20. Jan 11, 2014
    10
    It is hard for me to write on this subject. We all know how this film ends before we see it. Only one men survived to tell this true story. To keep things short i gave this movie a ten, because we all need to know that this is dedicated to the men who lost their lives. FOR HONOR AND GLORY
  21. Jan 12, 2014
    8
    This brutal war epic delivers through its action sequences and heart-pounding story. Its suspense keeps the movie going and even have the audience guessing even if they don't anything about the real-life story. One big issue to me was that there wasn't enough character development (mainly between the supporting roles played by Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch and Ben Foster) other than that "Lone Survivor" is a gripping and intense war film surprisingly directed by the guy that brought us "Battleship", but I won't hold that against him. Overall, this is a good movie to check this month. I give it an A-! Expand
  22. Jan 7, 2014
    9
    There are some flaws. But overall this is a gripping and entertaining movie. I am not an avid movie lover because I usually get bored with the tired stories. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this film. I very much enjoyed it, and highly recommend it. Be warned, the firefight scenes are intense. It is hard to watch at times, not because it isn't good, but because of the intensity.
  23. Jan 11, 2014
    9
    I'm usually not a fan of flag-waving war movies. But this one had a lot of nice elements. What carried the narrative along, so that it wasn't just a shoot out, (although one of those scenes went on too long for my taste), was careful editing, back and forth between two or three narratives. And what carried the day, was not patriotism, but the the band of men, fighting together. The four men, were admirable, although I wasn't completely happy with either Mark Wahlberg's character or acting, I'm not sure why, I seemed to have the sense that he wasn't in the fight as much as the other men, as if the star needs to be saved at the end, and I dislike having to say that, because I am sure the real life hero fought as bravely as the others. The script and dialog were tight. The film showed war at its bloodiest, most fatal, hand-to-had combat. And also had an interesting plot twist at the end showing the humanity of a culture other than our own. Interspersed with the fighting shots were wide angle natural beauty: supposed to be a mountainous range in Afghanistan; the film was shot in New Mexico. The film's credits at beginning and end - stay all the way to the end - nicely framed the picture in our real country's heroes. The entire theater audience with whom I saw the picture, applauded the film at the end, and at the end of the credits. Films don't often get that kind of praise. Expand
  24. Jan 29, 2014
    8
    After seeing this incredible true story, it really made me wonder what director Peter Berg was thinking when he did the mediocre "Battleship." This film was a great example of war movies done right, like "Saving Private Ryan" and "Black Hawk Down." The acting from the four Navy SEALS was exceptional! Mark Wahlberg was great as usual! "Battleship" star Taylor Kitsch also gave another great performance. Emile Hirsch was really good, as was the highly underrated Ben Foster. The story was really well done and the action was intense and delivered! So overall, this is one war film that's definitely worth checking out, as it portrays the true courage of those SEALS that died that day, as well as all SEALS in general. Expand
  25. Jan 1, 2014
    9
    This movie like most movies has a message to send. It was compelling and moving the way the four actors captured each of their roles, showing the lighter side things, the pride in serving your country as dark as the times may have been. But the movie was amazing on many different levels. For one it's inspiring, showing us that we should always look for the good in people and learn how to trust someone even when all seems lost. I really enjoyed this movie for the action, the dialogue, the comedic aspect of the conversations between characters, as well as the camera angles and ideas executed. Expand
  26. Jan 8, 2014
    8
    These so-called 'professional critics' of some are pathetic. To give Lone Survivor a zero or very low score shows that some people think they know it all and they do not. Many movie critics find every way they can to knock a movie and they rarely EVER give mid to high scores. So, F- them.
    This movie gets 'a pass' bc Berg had the job of re-creating a real true honest story. They go out
    of their way to re-invent the actual true events and that can be hard. So cut them a break. This movie makes you FEEL. It gives us 'undeserving' a chance to get as close to the action of war as possible. To catch a glimpse of real horrible warfare where U.S. soldiers die fighting to protect our freedom which most people take for granted daily. Seriously, start reading the news, watch you tube videos of live war, real fear, disaster, dead soldiers...get educated about our war history and why our soldiers do what they do to maintain or reduce our enemies/terrorsists from mounting up against us from a far. This is a moving, touching, patriotic movie that deserves respect to the real men and woman who died for you and me during this operation. And so-called 'pro-critics'...who think you are...Go critique fiction and keep your mouths shut! Because we don't want to hear your ignorant thoughts about this movie. Expand
  27. Jan 10, 2014
    9
    I thought this was an excellent movie. Reading some of the critics reviews here can be misleading. It is evident that those critics who thought negatively about this film we're viewing it through their own political and moral lens. Take in this film objectively and it is a thought provoking, high energy account of what happened. I also suggest you read the book first, I appreciated the additional context it provided. That being said, the film does a pretty good job condensing the book while maintaining its moral and political dilemmas as well as it's heart-felt sentiments. Expand
  28. Jan 22, 2014
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A film that, while having decent action scenes, is ultimately less than average. What brings this film down is not the gun battles or the ham-fisted patriotism, no no. It's the logic and the script: they are horrible to say the least. The dialogue isn't bad--in fact the characterization is great, with the leads and supporting cast all feeling like real people. The issue is, no thought went into making this script, or the logic, make any kind of sense. The scene that likely drew people to the theaters (where the operation to kill a Taliban leader is compromised by non-combatants) was poorly thought out. Unless this is a case of actual human beings being this stupid (this is based on a true story after all), the writers have made a scenario where US Marines were unable to use their heads and MARCH the compromises up the hill with them to the extraction zone, and THEN cut them loose. instead, they argue about whether to shoot the civies, tie them up and leave them to die, or cut them loose right then and there.

    Now, you probably aren't a writer... or a soldier. But seriously,yhis shouldn't be too hard to problem solve...

    Another issue was the other US forces that were dropped in the immediate area; when the shooting between Wallberg's group and the Taliban started, where the hell where they? Did they not hear all the AK-47 fire and RPG's going off? Or did they decide to hightail it out of there when the **** hit the fan? The film also goes into ridiculous territory when it decides to exceed "soldiers being injured and shot" and goes into "Watch us throw these idiots off a cliff. Twice. Oh, and they don't die. MARINES ****

    In the end, this film does not invoke a sense of empathy and pity for the US Marines who faced this situation; I'm gonna go on a limb and say that the actual Marines they based the characters off of were not this stupid. The Marines in this film are portrayed as one thing only: Idiots. They could have used their heads and extracted with no casualties, but instead allowed the "compromise" of their operation to bolt down the mountain and warn the Taliban that there were Marines up there. Thanks to the two idiots in charge (the ones who advocated letting them go), the two soldiers just following orders died as a result. One of the two aforementioned idiots was also gunned down, a Chinook helicopter a full of US soldiers (15-20 i think) was shot down by an RPG, and a whole village of innocent civilians was nearly wiped out when the Taliban came to kill the Last Idiot.

    That's what the film really should have been called: "Last Idiot Standing." Had the morons in charge used their heads, the lives of 50+ people wouldn't have been screwed up or destroyed that day. Any inspirational message this film tries to convey is drowned out in the sea of stupid that is this script. Up to you if you wanna watch, but I say "Avoid".
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  29. Jan 14, 2014
    8
    It's obvious from the title that most of the men don't survive, but the operation is what matters. Four Navy SEALs set out to kill a Taliban leader in Afghanistan, but the mission goes horribly wrong. The film takes some time to set up, but once the action kicks in, it's a gripping ordeal (especially those remarkable tumbles down the rocks). Director Peter Berg has crammed the skirmishes with confusion, astounding kills and high-tension pacing. These are some of the best battles in recent filmmaking. The cast is strong (in both senses of the word), while miming moments of emotion. A brutal, well-crafted and stirring tribute. Expand
  30. Feb 18, 2014
    8
    There is a little bit of testosterone overload in Lone Survivor, but that's true of most Hollywood war films. The gun battle is brutally graphic and the men can't seem to speak without saying the "F" word, so don't go to this movie if you're squeamish or prudish. I thought it was a well made film, but it wasn't anything new that I haven't seen in other war films, especially war films set in Vietnam such as Platoon. It certainly isn't a film I would want to see again as I don't find all the graphic violence entertaining, but the film is certainly a reminder of what our military personnel are going through to keep this country safe. Expand
  31. Jun 14, 2014
    9
    A brutal and emotional movie that is only amplified by the fact that it is serving as a tribute to real people and events. The cast is fantastic. Every single one of the actors here bring their best and really sell the horror and pain of the events. It's one of the best war movies I've ever seen, not because it glorifies the violence, but rather shows the horror of it. This is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time, and I recommend you put it at the top of your must-watch list. I give it a 9.8/10=Amazing. Expand
  32. Jan 13, 2014
    6
    This movie is based on real events in 2005 in Afghanistan and on a book with the same name written by a Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell who was the only survivor in a battle with Taliban.

    Combat scenes are done exceptionally well. There is real footage in the beginning of the movie of some training that SEALs have to go through. And pictures of fallen soldiers and officers who lost their
    lives in that fight were shown at the end of the movie. All that adds to the authenticity of it. In those pictures soldiers were surrounded with their families. That makes you think of the utmost sacrifice of those men and the horrible loss their families endured.

    As a piece of art this movie did not engage me with exception of the very last part.
    But as a tribute to soldiers who risk their lives to protect our freedom this movie is great.
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  33. Feb 1, 2014
    8
    This is one of the rare times the movie is better than the book. The problem with the book is that it was ghost written and flooded with far too much political commentary. Further, the book attempts to draw conclusions on powerful events that happened far too recently. What the movie does is take those events and portray them without commentary or rhetoric. The audience is left to draw it own conclusions. Further, the movie does an excellent job of staying close to the original events. My only qualms are with the number of goat herders and the final battle which never took place. However, it's still and entertaining an compelling movie. Expand
  34. Jan 23, 2014
    6
    A Navy SEAL team assassination mission in Afghanistan goes wrong. Those things are going to happen; it's all part and parcel of these types of tricky operations. While America isn't known as a country that celebrates failure, it does however celebrate courage and valor and that is what the movie is mainly about along with trying to do the right thing under trying circumstances.
    For what
    it is, the movie works, war is hell, people die. Expand
  35. Jan 12, 2014
    9
    This is a really good movie, it stays very true to the events that happened. There was an amazing tribute at the end that showed everyone that died. Very brutal, and bloody.
  36. Feb 4, 2014
    8
    A visceral display of streaming bullets and gory bloodshed, Lone Survivor follows a botched military operation with relentless intensity. It portrays the unforgiving struggle as the four stranded NAVY SEALs climb and jump for their survival in punishing hostile territory. The movie does a good job of not excessively use special effects, action feels more realistic with restriction on design, make up and practical effect. While it boasts military lingo and thick atmosphere of exclusive brotherhood, the movie manages to convey the sacrifice to the audience.

    The movie is a dramatization of an actual failed mission which left the four men team behind enemy line in Afghanistan. Mark Wahlberg is at his element as Marcus Luttrell, he thrives more in an arduous action movie. Stoic and with grit, he produces more natural rendition in this type of role. The cast of recon team could use more characterization as sometimes they might fall into stereotypical macho soldier. However, as the movie progresses and these men engage in battle of attrition and moral, they perform more compellingly in extreme situation.

    There is a raw primal feeling at work as they are shot endlessly. It's a grueling and exhausting process; the sensation of utmost emergency is almost as engaging as what Black Hawk Down had to offer, although in smaller scale. The way the shootout is portrayed, by visual and audio, is impeccably organic. Whiffs of nearby bullets sound intimately closely, the flesh tearing hits are even more so. The movie understands how to build up exhilaration while the protagonists fade with every hit they take.

    It reaches its height in the second act; the latter part does tend to falter. The pace loses a bit of steam towards the end, even though it makes a decent conclusion. Most time goes to reenact the gruesome battle and it's done justly, but there could be more effort made for the buildup as well. Audience might not follow the mission well as it's peppered with military terminology or the geography of Afghanistan, the movie could clarify the position and movement clearer.

    There are flaws, but in essence Lone Survivor succeeds in portraying a courageous act. It's patriotic without being preachy; instead it delivers with tightly packed action and sheer tension.
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  37. Jan 12, 2014
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Lone Survivor was a decent movie but it failed to deliver on a lot of the emotion from the book, aka the real life events. Forewarning, the rest of this review will contain SPOILERS. I'll go ahead and start with the positives. The acting was phenomenal and the main guys, Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, and especially Taylor Kitsch, who I thought stole the movie, really deliver. They are able to establish an incredible rapport and level of camaraderie in a very short time so credit to them for them. The combat scenes, which make up essentially three-quarters of the film, were done excellently as well. Peter Berg really delivered here. The movie was gruesome, bloody, gory, and felt real because of those often subtle but occasionally dramatic sequences. Another thing I loved about the film was the sense that, more than just a movie, it was a dedication to those who lost their lives and have done so for our freedom throughout our history. The 5-minute intro with real-life footage from BUD/S training and hell week started in and then the photo/video montage of the heroes who died in the battle after the film completed it. Bravo again to Berg for that. Lastly, I loved that Marcus Luttrell had a role in the film itself. He is in several scenes and it was very unexpected when he first popped up in a scene.

    Now for some of the negatives. They changed so much stuff for the movie, it almost felt like a different battle. Now don't get me wrong, obviously there are things that must be left out when making a movie from a book due to time constraints. However, leaving something out and changing it are two totally different things. One of the changes that bugged me most was them showing Luttrell see the CH-47 Chinook crash. In reality, he didn't find out about that until later on when he was in the village. Another thing that irritated me was how they showed the Taliban invade and shoot up the village that was keeping Luttrell. This was actually the biggest change in the movie because they change the entire meaning and importance of villages like these. In reality, the Taliban attacks the village with threats but never actually raises a gun at it because they know, if they demolish an entire village for not complying with their ways, they will destroy their supply line in the Hindu Kush mountains. This is broken down in detail in the book and is you supplement that with more research you will quickly see that the Taliban would not massacre an entire village that didn't engage them first just because said village is obeying their Pashtunwali culture over the Taliban. If they did that, their supply line would fall apart and this reality was completely lost in the movie. There were several other changes that were minor but there was one last one that I felt is worth mentioning and that is Mike Murphy's death. When reading the book, the most emotional element was the tragic and tormenting way that Murph dies and the movie fails to portray that. Now I will say this, Marcus Luttrell was very involved in the movie and acknowledged that there were changes made because the studio wanted to dramatize things more. I'm sorry but the story is pretty damn dramatic on its own and doesn't need more action or drama.

    Regardless, this movie was a decent, not great, film and is a salute to the men who have lost their lives fighting for America. While it could've been better, it was still worthwhile experience and I am curious to know if I would've enjoyed it more if I hadn't already read the book first.
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  38. Feb 5, 2014
    7
    Berg did for war films what Peckinpah did for westerns with Wild Bunch. You can't leave the theater without remembering the violence of war --- no bloody lipstick for bullet wounds here. The entire film was tension filled even with a too predictable conclusion. What would have been better than knowing only one survived as indicated by the title would have been if it were someone other than Mark Wahlberg. I really like him, have seen most all of his films, he played the part well, but it made the ending as to which one was to survive even more predictable. What could have been a great movie, therefore, wasn't. Expand
  39. Jan 27, 2014
    8
    This was a great movie, don't agree with the people that says that the characters are shallow or empty, they are soldiers, special forces, guys used to be silent, get in do the job get out period. It has intense battle scenes, like when I'm playing a shooter vg.
  40. Feb 2, 2014
    9
    "Lone Survivor" thrives heartily through Peter Berg's welcomed return to dramatic storytelling, the hefty pathos that comes from the film's impressively devoted cast, and the unmistakably remarkable true story cemented in the film's emotional center.
  41. Jan 31, 2014
    7
    The title rather obviously gives the game away and there are no prizes for guessing which of the quartet of heroes is left alive at the end. The film begins un promisingly with the usual and familiar cliched Tom foolery that I'm sure is part of military life, but is also rather tiresome to watch. Still, once the four begin their mission to kill a notorious Taliban leader the film becomes a bone crunching adrenalin rush. Hiding out on a mountain which soon becomes a battleground the four are soon up to there necks in gunfire, explosions and blood. These battles excitingly staged and full of nail biting tension are enhanced by hand held camera photography which effectively creates a sense of chaos and confusion. Sound effects unflinchingly capture every bullet impact, fall or smashed body part as the four find themselves battling an army of Taliban whilst not having any immediate means of escape. As an observer you are spared none of the excruciating agony inflicted. You feel every wound. Salvation when it comes is from an unlikely source and leads to some unexpected pathos. Likewise, the final still images of the men involved in the real operation is movingly presented. Expand
  42. Apr 1, 2014
    8
    'Lone Survivor' tells the true story of a US navy SEAL team and their failed mission called Operation Red Wings during the Afghanistan war. As the title says there's nothing to hide or secrets behind characters, only one survive from a team of four soldiers. How it all going to happen unfolded in an unbelievable manner.

    It was Mark Wahlberg's show, though Taylor Kitsch, Eric Bana and
    others appearance gave strong grip to the story. This movie takes place mainly in three locations, one from US navy base, two from mountain range and the third one from a small village. The US navy base was okay, but the mountain range and Afghan village were looked clearly fake. Failed to recreate those middle-east atmospheres where the movie was shot (in Mexico), but the movie was breathtaking by the story and performances make you forget the technical side flaws.

    In a few areas, it makes you to feel it was overdone. Especially after soldiers were wounded by multiple bullet shots. But then it was clearly explained in the opening scene itself like the soldiers were trained to stand tall in any given harsh situations. The director of 'The Kingdom' crafted this movie awesomely in a similar fashion to that. One of the Oscars talked movie, but did not do well, though got good responds from the movie goers around the world. It is like this year's 'Zero Dark Thrity' based on US war against Talibans. Knowing truth is always good for knowledge and if it comes through a movie, then it will be a thrilling entertainment.
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  43. Feb 13, 2014
    6
    The war film genre is one where the sensationalisation of the gains and losses on the battlefield and highly fictionalized moments drenched with brotherhood, duty, and honour, are what differentiate it from other film genres. Sadly, Lone Survivor is no different from the many other war films that have come before it. Despite its lack of originality in a genre that has, for the most part, run out of ammo in the originality department, one of the advantages that the film has compared to more recognizable battles of the past, is the obscurity of Operation Red Wings (the mission the film is based on) and the lack of mystery as to who lives and who dies.

    Lone Survivor tells the story of Operation Red Wings, an American search-and-destroy mission in Afghanistan, and focuses on the four men sent in to do the job. Giving a little insight into the lives of Petty Officer Second Class Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch), Petty Officer Second Class Matthew Axelson (Ben Foster), Lieutenant Micahel Murphy (Kitsch), and Petty Officer First Class Marcus Luttrell (Wahlberg), the film is a comical and brutal account of the ethical decision-making on the battlefield and the impact of certain ‘rules of engagement’. Within the war film genre, death is inevitable and thanks to its spoiler-laden title, audiences already know that only one of the four main protagonists actually comes away with his life. However, by taking the focus away from the mystery of who lives and who dies, the film is able to quickly establish heartfelt connections and deliver a deeply emotional response, even if the roles are played by not so emotionally impacting actors like Taylor Kitsch and Mark Wahlberg.

    As the opening monologue of the film echoes in its first few minutes, “There’s a storm inside all of us; a burden, a river, a drive, an unrelentless desire to push yourself harder and further than anyone can think possible”. This storm, this drive, is one that can be appreciated through the growing body of work of writer/director Pete Berg. Berg has made a career as Hollywood’s go-to director for entrusting soaring production budgets and seasoned action stars, while confidently obtaining a great box-office return, despite dismal or mixed reviews. From Friday Night Lights and Battleship, to the out of nowhere mega-blockbuster Hancock, Berg has been fortunate with large scale budgets and generous star power behind his films. Spanning the course of five years, Lone Survivor is Berg’s passion project. Working for the Director Guild of America with minimum salary, Berg was instantly drawn to the memoir of Marcus Luttrell during the production on Hancock. After proposing the film to Universal studios, and getting stars Wahlberg and Kitsch at a discounted rate, the funding for his film was the only reason Berg actually agreed to make Battleship.

    The film is being hailed as an authentic representation of the encounters many US Armed Force Officers are faced with. Although at times repetitive, the film is a bustling, hard-boiled piece of the American military life and a look into the lives of these triumphant men and women. Filled with moments that will have you clenching your fists and lifting yourself off the seat, Lone Survivor is a true testament of the artful representation of violence–proving that in Berg’s book, moderation is definitely for cowards.

    Much like the highly overrated Captain Phillips released earlier in the awards season, the film really does not shed much light or give any insight to the antagonists of the film–the Taliban. Pursing Operation Red Wings for the sheer fact that their target is notorious for killing off Navy SEAL’s, the four men are tested; mind, body, and soul through a perilous journey where their actions dictate the consequences of their future. Other than a scene involving a decapitation of one member of the Taliban as a supposed traitor, the film’s first half shows the target Shah (Yousuf Azami) and his heartless second-in-command Taraq (Sammy Sheik) as diabolical animals. It isn’t until we reach the last part of the film where the true nature and over-embellished actions of the Afghani people are accurately depicted.

    Despite the celebrity status of the four leading men, the real stand out is the always camouflaged Ben Foster. Taking queues from his career best The Messenger back in 2009, Foster brings a vulnerability to his role as Petty Officer Axel, one that quickly outshines his male cohorts. Foster’s interpretation of inevitable death and the persistence to keep fighting for his country, is one that out-guns anyone else in Lone Survivor.
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  44. Jun 15, 2014
    9
    Lone Survivor is exhilarating, intense, gritty, and heartbreaking. It's an incredible war film. There's really no other way I can put it. Knowing that the story is true adds an extra layer of authenticity to an already hyper immersive experience. Those criticizing it for honoring the fallen heroes of war have some serious issues. A nearly flawlessly directed, elegantly simple, shockingly engaging movie. Expand
  45. Jan 14, 2014
    7
    I didn't expect too much from this film, that may be why I liked it. But none the less, this movie tells an amazing true story, with action! Drama! Not a lot of comedy...barely any, but that's a war movie right?
    This isn't the kind if movie to dazzle at the awards ceremonies, but. It will dazzle to everyone who watches it. This year, or any year. People will continue to watch this
    movie. Much like Zero Dark Thirty. Collapse
  46. Apr 2, 2014
    5
    This movie is average at best. The title and the way it started let me know how this is gonna play out thus making me not care for characters outside of Marky Mark. The way the characters act are typical for a modern war movie. You have your everyman, leader, tech-guy, trigger happy guy and it's the trigger happy guy I found myself agreeing with the most. He wants to kill 3 people cause he knows they'll tell the Taliban in the area their whereabouts. If they had done that they would have avoided their real fate. If this movie taught me anything it's that the Geneva Convention is out dated and doesn't apply to war in the 21st century. The action is good, realistic and will make you cringe at some points, but the story is cliche' and honestly a little dull. It's okay at best but it won't make much of an impression on you. Expand
  47. Jan 19, 2014
    5
    Peter Berg is no stranger to directing tense action sequences, but when it comes to story and characters, he's lost in the fray. 'Lone Survivor' is an Afghanistan-set war film about a special-ops mission, that goes horribly wrong, and it features one of the years finest sound mixes and some gritty scene to get the blood pumping. Where I can give the film applause for these visceral technical aspects, I can't give such praise to the things that matters most. Its funny that a movie so firmly built on comradery, features a hokey group dynamic between these imperiled soldiers. Everything in this relationship felt cliched; without being true and moving. Undeveloped characterizations was the blame for this; but what would you expect when the movie cares more about thrilling audiences with action sequences rather than moving them with depth. I also took issue with the film's heavy-handed delivery of its message of patriotism and courage; and how it paints its Middle Eastern villains with limited shades. They are simply relegated to being "the bad guys". In the end 'Lone Survivor' was a feast for the eye and ears, but has little to offer for the brain. Expand
  48. LTR
    Jul 4, 2014
    9
    This movie is a great tribute to the men who passed away during Operation Red Wing. It's emotional, the action is good and shows the true terror of war.
  49. May 25, 2014
    7
    Lone Survivor is a war movie about the true story of four Navy Seals team members set out to kill a taliban war leader Ahmad Shahd. While the movie lacks solid character biulding it surpasses in its action and realism. Some of the fire fights they get into are brutally intense thats were the realism takes it to another level. The cast was great for the film Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch all did amazing jobs for thier portrayal as the soldiers. Its a very emotional movie seeing the team try and try again to get saved but only to fail again and again also i think will shock some people when they watch it because of the realism style. Peter Berg really surprised me with this one his past couple movies i didnt really care for and seeing that the last movie i liked of his was The Kingdom another war based film it seems he can do this genre pretty well.

    Overall i give it a 7.5
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  50. Feb 11, 2014
    8
    There is not much of a storyline to Lone Survivor directed by Peter Berg. Just based on the title alone, we are already fully aware of the film’s ending. A Four man team goes into battle. Three of them die. Only One survives.

    The pre-action first act is pretty weak. It’s the same old ultra-patriotic, Navy Seal prestige banter complete with a rookie giving a front-of-the-class speech
    defining his role as a Seal Diver. In the mission briefing the target Afghans are portrayed as cliché plot devices. Never is there a mention that these Afghan’s are actual humans whose country the Seals are currently occupying, and are currently planning to kill. Scenes like these are not usually later redeemed, but as soon as the four Seals drop into the field, the tone of the film changes.

    What makes the film Lone Survivor a good film is 100% in its execution. The performances of all the actors, the special effects and stunts, the lighting and the sound, the fancy camera work and exotic scenery, the violence, equal the actual enactment: a very powerful, non-partisan, grim portrayal of modern ground combat.

    Once dropped in the field, the Seals encounter innocent civilians. Faced with the ethical decision of whether to execute them or free them, the Seals let them go. This is truly a controversial choice. Acting differently surely would have produced a different, less deadly outcome (for the Seals at least). Any logical viewer will afterwards struggle to justify why the Seals made the choice they did. Why would they sacrifice themselves for the innocents? It is almost nonsense, but in war decisions are made on the fly, and this is what happened.

    Within minutes the freed civilians alert the troops, and an army of hundreds of heavily armed men surround the group of 4. This when the action starts.

    It begins with the exchange of long-range rifle fire but soon the Seals are surrounded and flanked fiercely. As the battle shifts positions we encounter scenes where Seals must make split second decisions between particularly gruesome tasks. Which is less likely to kill me? Pushing forward and engaging in fire where I am extremely outnumbered, or throwing myself down this 50 foot rock face?

    The unfolding of this battle, and that is to say two-thirds of the film, really cannot be described in words. The battle truly is the film. It is an attempt at the depicting the intensity of real combat, and myself having zero experience in real combat, I think Peter Berg is very successful in portraying it.

    Their radio signals having been lost, their back-up firepower having failed them, and every other piece of bad luck imaginable having occurred, the battle ends. The Seals literally having fought to their deaths.
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  51. Feb 13, 2014
    9
    This was my favorite war movie since "Saving Private Ryan." I saw it with my wife and sister in law. The movie does an excellent job of portraying the training that these men had to go through in order to be in the Seals. It also does a great job of portraying how they talk to each other and the common banter among them. The movie was great, stayed very true to the history, and tugged on the heartstrings as well. It is very gruesome but that is to be expected. I'd recommend this movie to anyone. Expand
  52. Jan 20, 2014
    8
    An Action packed , thrill ride throughout the whole film. Mark Wahlberg at his greatest...after watching this movie you almost forget to realize that it's based on an actual real life situation which makes it an even better watch.
  53. Jan 26, 2014
    7
    Nice movie. It has a few logical flows in that how characters act, and why they did the whole mission thi way when the US army would have made is all much easier and without casualties. But then again, there would be no drama I suppose.
  54. May 26, 2014
    9
    A true heroic brutally war masterpiece based on a true story .. This movie is very emotionally gripping to watch and that's makes it intense... might be one of the best war movies in recent memory for me
  55. Feb 2, 2014
    10
    This is war. This movie tells the story of war and death as truly as I have ever seen. Any "professional critic" that bashed this movie is naive and not qualified to criticize this movie. It is not meant to entertain, it is meant to tell a story. This is as real as it gets. Nevermind some of the critics that gave this movie a bad rating... It's not about entertainment or Oscars as these fools stated, it is about telling a story and this movie is now a living legacy of these men that lost their lives. Have some respect and while you're at it, get a real job, because "professional movie critic" isn't in your deck of cards. Go see this movie everyone, and be prepared for violence, but also for an honest look at what war is like. It's very enlightening. Expand
  56. Jan 30, 2014
    10
    One of the most compelling movies i have ever seen. I was hooked from the very beginning. It was a very revealing movie and I give my upmost respect to those who lost there lives.
  57. Jun 30, 2014
    6
    I was very surprised that I liked this movie as much as I did. For what it is, it is very enjoyable. There is not much of a story, but they did try. I do not think they had all that much to work with.
  58. Feb 21, 2014
    9
    Lone Survivor is my favourite film by Peter Berg, the film just felt so realistic to me, the sound department did their part to perfection, i really enjoyed this film, and it doesn't just show you the typical one sided view of Afghans, it shows more than that, it shows you people who are against the Taliban and i loved that aspect about the film, the little details like that make Lone Survivor great and different. If you haven't seen this film yet please for the love of god see this film. Expand
  59. Feb 21, 2014
    9
    After leaving the movie I was overcome with emotion and respect for our soldiers. This movie ranks up with other favorites like 'We Were Soldiers', and 'Saving Private Ryan' for me.
  60. Mar 3, 2014
    10
    this movie is a retelling of the events of operation red wing in the afgan mauntains and tells a deep and emotional story as the charrecters die 1 by 1 mark walberge and the rest of the other actors did an excellent job at potraying there charecters the visuals and camara angles are amazing this movie does the book and real life event justice i hear that there were a lot of inacuracys with this movie but all around is an amazing film a must watch Expand
  61. Feb 24, 2014
    5
    Although the battle scenes are incredibly intense, there are some serious flaws in this movie that ultimately disappoint. Firstly, if you read the book, you will be disappointed that the protagonists experience is seriously abridged, with a considerable amount of incredible hardship and storyline omitted. Secondly, the film begins in a cliched almost fawning way, with the (what seems now standard) portrayal of Seals as warm hearted,, cuddly, lovely guys who are just doing a job. Whether it's true or not, this seems to be the standard way such movies start these days, with a kind of implication that special forces soldiers are societies moral exemplars, and it's getting really boring. Thirdly, the ending is the standard "cavalry arrives in a nick of time" conclusion that is very disappointing and cliched, and had nothing to do with the book. I don't believe the protagonist died and was revived in real life either. And it's a shame that the movie excluded Lutrell's glowing account and recommendation of the use of raw opium as an analgesic. Expand
  62. Mar 6, 2014
    3
    this is something that is not that cool Mark Whalberg was better in ted . i there is not enough gore and i do not like this it stunk major . this sucks and it is not good enough to be one of my favorite film
  63. chw
    Jul 19, 2014
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Lone Survivor was a very good film, the best war film since Saving Private Ryan, like people are saying. But it's almost like the second This is the End because the amount of deaths... Expand
  64. May 24, 2014
    5
    I was mildly entertained by this movie. Another movie called Murph came out prior to this being movie being released to rent which showed who Murph was...and I have to say, that one was far better. Look, I'm not going play down a movie showing heroic men acting heroic in a situation I couldn't even fathom being in and I do like Mark Walhberg's movies but this one left me glancing at my watch. To the brave men and women who put their lives on the line, I will always give kudos but I felt this rendition of the story was disjointed and lukewarm. Expand
  65. Aug 1, 2014
    8
    This one surprised me. I thought it was going to be another gung-ho jar head movie. It feels like it at the beginning with the harsh troop training scenes. However, it makes sense and has meaning this time. Whalberg does a good job.
  66. Jul 7, 2014
    10
    Definitely my favourite 2014 movie so far.This is a good emotional movie about four soldiers in big trouble.The action scenes are realistic and the characters(based on real soldiers)are really credible.
  67. Jun 21, 2014
    8
    I'm surprised with the metascore. This movie is pretty awesome, very entertaining and well acted. It kept my attention from the beginning to the end. I really recommend to see it!
  68. Jun 28, 2014
    8
    Brutal, immersive and compeling, the Lone Survior delivered in almost every way you want a war film to, with great onscreen chemistry between the characters and with Taylor Kitsch's most profound performance to date.
  69. Jun 8, 2014
    8
    This movie effectively conveys the horrific events that led to the deaths of three Navy Seals on an Afghani mountain and shows the complexity of a pivotal decision that precipitated the firefight. However, it takes perplexing liberties in the final minutes while conveying the events that led to the survival of Marcus Luttrell, whose story is dramatic enough without the need for a fictionalized Taliban attack on his protectors. That's the only disappointing aspect of a film that should be seen to understand the harsh reality of war in the 21st Century. Expand
  70. Jun 5, 2014
    10
    This movie is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. The movie is very intense and has a great sense of patriotism. It is a very graphic movie so it might not be the best for kids and there is a lot of harsh language.
  71. Aug 26, 2014
    5
    Lone Survivor is another war porn film of brotherhood and the sacrifices our soldiers make during war. Entertaining, but no man could have survived how many times they jumped off cliffs and lived.
  72. Jul 8, 2014
    10
    bravo! to all involved! i had to see this movie today! it is true to life. a masterpiece! the afghan war, the iraq war, the vietnam war, are all fought without public understanding, approval, and, most terrible of all for soldiers, backing! they gave their all! i feel good to be an american again! i am grateful to these men for being able to sleep in my own bed tonight. i went to the zoo today. when did the iraqis, saudis, vietnamese, afghans, go to the zoo? you use the word "zoo" around them, and, you will get a blank! this is oscar material, gentlemen!! this movie, "lone survivor", was written with blood still on this soldier's hands! this is war! this is the way it is! this is why we need to see these movies every time they come out. Expand
  73. Aug 17, 2014
    10
    Miraculous, intense, and patriotic. This movie was outstanding and beyond. Full of compassion and showed the true face of what our soldiers can go through and what they have. It is a celebration of sacrifice and triumph. Excellent film making made sure that it was as accurate as possible. I highly recommend this movie to those who have a true interest in war movies. Defiantly the best since Saving Private Ryan and the TV series Band of Brothers. Expand
Metascore
60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 44 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 44
  2. Negative: 4 out of 44
  1. Reviewed by: Kevin Harley
    Jan 29, 2014
    60
    The direction pummels and the cast impress, yet Berg’s war movie promises more than it delivers. Memories of Battleship are sunk, but that Oscar buzz may be a bit premature.
  2. Reviewed by: Ashley Clark
    Jan 28, 2014
    60
    Neither an anti-war tract nor a jingoistic rallying cry, the brutal but humane Lone Survivor instead registers as a howl of despair for so many young men and women lost in war.
  3. Reviewed by: James Dyer
    Jan 27, 2014
    60
    A severe portrait of fortitude under extreme pressure, somewhat marred by blinkered politics.