5 Days of War [Blu-Ray] Renny Harlin

5 Days of War [Blu-Ray] Renny Harlin
Amidst the bounty of swirling helicopter shots and flat, declarative statements, a few titbits of wisdom about war arise in this ersatz Cliffhanger remake set during the conflict between Russia and Georgia. Firstly, a war zone is the ideal place for a man with a tortured soul to work through his demons and establish a new passion for life; it's also a good place to find a comely foreign girl to settle down with. Not to mention, according to 5 Days of War, explosions happen frequently and in slow motion during wartime, giving everyone a really good look at the flying debris and sheer awesomeness of destruction. And while explosions and bullets are loud, they conveniently quiet down when foreign journalists are injured and need to say something profound about the nature of their work. Of course, the most important lesson learned is that it's for more dramatic and upsetting when English-speaking people die, especially when they're on a mission to expose the truth, or whatever. That's the gist of Renny Harlin's stab at important, noble cinema, as its humble and informative ambitions are routinely trumped by whorish, blockbuster direction and hilariously clichéd narrative tropes. Rupert Friend plays the reluctant journalist working through some demons (he watched Heather Graham die in Iraq), which is exacerbated, and confronted by, the escalating tensions between Russia and Georgia, a conflict that was mostly ignored by the Western media in favour of the 2008 Olympic ceremonies. He and a team of plucky journalists reveal evidence of war crimes, while the president of Georgia (Andy Garcia) yells at Dean Cain with an indecipherable accent and a voluptuous local girl (Emmanuelle Chriqui), with no discernable Georgian characteristics, translates conversations and gives our protagonist something to live for (sex). The actual battle sequences and shootouts in the film are handled with the expected propulsion and intensity of Harlin's trademark style, which is fun to look at, but not necessarily appropriate for a story based on a real conflict where actual people were killed. This is particularly evident when the shooting of a nascent bride is filmed in slow motion, with blood gushing out at the camera. But, in its simplest terms, it is easier to watch a movie where the good and bad guys are so easily defined and the end goal is repeated ad naseum; it means you can take bathroom breaks without fear of missing anything important. Beyond some deleted scenes, the only Blu-Ray supplement is a commentary track with Harlin. (Anchor Bay)