Wednesday, May 24, 2023

A CIA operative on the run for his life

Gerard Butler action movies aren't among my favorite ways to spend a couple of hours. Butler's latest -- Kandahar -- didn't do enough to change my mind, although it contains a couple of impressive sequences and a few moments in which the characters try their hands at meaningful conversations. Butler plays Tom Harris, a CIA operative who helps set the stage for the US to blowup an Iranian nuclear facility. In the process, he implicates a journalist (Elnaaz Norouzi) who's taken prisoner by the Iranians and pretty much drops out of the movie.  After the initial job of sabotaging a nuclear facility,  Harris wants to return home. Not so fast, says his boss (Travis Fimmel), who throws a bunch of money at him and assures him that a "final" mission will enable him to care for his estranged wife and teenage daughter. Iran again becomes the target, Harris heads for Afghanistan where he hooks up with a translator (Navid Negahban) and prepares to cross the border. The operation goes belly up and Harris's goal narrows: get out of the country alive. An assassin (Ali Fazal) follows in pursuit trying to cash in on capturing a member of the CIA. Director Ric  Roman Waugh (Greenland) makes good use of the movie's desert locations (the film was shot in Saudi Arabia) but his attempts at freshening a familiar genre don't go far enough.

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