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Review L'assaut (2010): Hang on, was this it?

genre: action, history, thriller

Sometimes you wonder what the purpose is of a film. Usually it's not complicated. Either it wants to inform you or very simply wants to entertain you. In this case however I am stumped. Because it does neither. Or at least not in in a way that was satisfying to me. The premise of this film is the following:

Based on a true story, a SWAT team is tasked with storming a hijacked Air France plane to save its passengers.

In a nutshell this is what you get. Damn, all the background and deeper mechanisms of what is actually involved. For example. Thierry (Vincent Elbaz), a member of the SWAT team, seems to be plagued by trauma or at least I assume he does since he never ever discusses this with anyone. He tells his team leader that he wants to be the first in when the assault is called upon. To which the team leader basically hints that it is a very dangerous request and if he has a deathwish or something. This is an interpretation on my part since like I said not once did Thierry have a dialogue with someone discussing his condition. The biggest issue is that it has very little relevance to the hijacked plane. Sure it's important to know a SWAT member is in good shape but other than that it only makes you wonder why so much emphasis is put on this while it never gets explored deeper. Same could be said about the hijackers. Only briefly and very quickly do we get some info about them. At least in Hotel Mumbai to make a comparison a few terrorists mention why they started their fight. Details matter. Especially if you aren't going to offer anything else than a depiction of events.

I was under the impression that this was merely a fiction based action film and not a re-enactmant of a historical event. You can tell since almost every element that enhances the dramatic impact is toned down significantly. My point is that apart from how the events play out you don't have real investment in the story since there is no real story. And since I was counting on the action to be spectacular it is safe to say I was underwhelmed and actually quite disappointed.  I bought the blu-ray on sale. But I regret that purchase wholeheartedly. And don't get me wrong. If this film truly was tense and thrilling then I would have surely enjoyed it. But every event was pretty predictable. And when it ended I was asking myself: " Hang on, this was it? " Was this all we are getting? You mean I am investing my time and I get no reward whatsoever? 

Overall this is a film that never goes deep enough to make it truly compelling. It's a total waste of your time so avoid this one!

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