Hyena Road – The STiXXclusive Review

Black Hawk Down, Zero Dark Thirty, Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, Apocalypse Now, and the list goes on and on? What, pray tell, do they all have in common? The United States Army. America is hell bent on displaying their passion of their constitutional right to bear arms, and their defence of their freedom from enemies foreign and domestic (heavy emphasis on foreign). Let’s jog a little bit North of the border to the country in which I reside. Good ole Canada. A lot of us don’t really know a whole lot about the military except for the fact that Remembrance Day (Nov. 11) is the most important day that commemorates the memories of all troops, especially from WWI & WWII. But when it comes to the present day every day conversation, the military isn’t a major focus when it comes to the every day concerns of Canadian citizens (depending on which city you live in – I know in Toronto we don’t care as much). My point (since it took me so long to get there) is that when it comes to depicting just what we do on the other side of the world to assist the Americans in the ongoing operations in this post-911 world, there has been no movie (at least to my knowledge) that explored the Canadian side of things, although our military is praised for its extensive toughness and intelligence throughout the efforts of this war.

The keyword to pay attention to would be ‘effort’ because in this movie that I was much hyped to see because it’s supposed to be our own version of Black Hawk Down, there seemed to be minimal effort in actually putting together a good movie. A good majority of it before actually getting into a storyline felt like a mini-documentary or propaganda video as to why you should join the military, adorned with GoPro footage, Canadian flags, and a narration that said all but “we want YOU to join the Army.” As someone who is a fan of war movies, obviously in comparison to America, the funding of our military doesn’t also channel in with cinema to the highest level, and it definitely showed. The production quality of the movie made me feel like it should have been broken up into a 4-6 part mini-series to be aired on CBC around November to commemorate the troops. The story was all over the place, there was a lot of dialogue that really didn’t need to be there since it didn’t help push the story forward, and with no subtitles to follow along (especially in places where I felt like they could have really been useful), it was quite sloppy in execution. Where I saw what they were trying to do with the focus of the main characters, they missed the mark because I didn’t find the acting to be convincingly well, and it just felt forced all over the place. I must say that a movie hasn’t made me feel as disappointed as this one. I was really hoping that it would be a hit, but even from the lack of a big turnout on the opening night, it either wasn’t promoted heavily enough, or during an election year with the Conservatives being the more pro-military party (how convenient to be released as advance polls open), people really don’t care enough to see a Canadian military movie. I understand that the national defence is important to a lot of citizens, and they do need to be appreciated more for what they do, but if this is how it’s to be presented in cinema, then I don’t think many people will be bothered to care. I wouldn’t advise anyone to watch this in theatres if you don’t have to, because it’s not worth the hassle. Give it a couple of weeks and it’ll be On Demand in no time. But for now, this is my opinion, this is my review

That’s My Word & It STiXX

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