Vol. 16, No. 23 – Aug 9 – Aug 22, 2023 – Movie Review

Streaming Spotlight by Cindy Summers
Guy Richie’s The Covenant – Prime Video

4 out of 4 palm trees

In March 2018 in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan, United States Army Master Sergeant John Kinley (Jake Gyllenhaal) was leading a group of soldiers looking for Taliban munitions and explosive sites. Their road patrol was ambushed when a truck that had a bomb in the back exploded killing one of his troops their Afghan interpreter. They returned to Bagram Air Base in Parvan Province where he picked up a replacement and a new Afghan interpreter named Ahmed Abdullah (Dar Salim) who knew 4 languages but was known to sometimes be difficult to work with.

After several searches came up empty, Kinley felt that they had been receiving bad intel and requested to be assigned some vetted targets thinking that would not fall into the same pattern of no results. They were given the name of major target that was responsible for running a local IED (Improvised Explosive Device) factory, and Ahmed worked with Kinley to persuade him to give up the location with a bribe of cash instead of being detained by the US military. The intel provided them with two sites to check out but the first site was unsuccessful due to the other Afghan interpreter on the team attempting to lead them into an ambush.

The team next headed to search the second location which was an explosive factory in a mine and when questioning their first contact, Ahmed knew that the person was lying so they decided to do a search. They did find an IED factory and called in for a quick reaction force to assist them, but unbeknownst to them the Taliban had already communicated to bring reinforcements to the area. They killed the Taliban at the factory and set a bomb to detonate in three minutes but they were met outside with other Taliban soldiers with more heading down the road to their location.

Kinley and Ahmed jumped in one of the Taliban trucks and tried to escape with several trucks filled with Taliban soldiers pursuing them. Ultimately Kinley and Ahmed were the only US military that survived. They stayed the night in the woods and in the morning had an escape plan but they were surrounded by Taliban everywhere and were 120 miles from the base. They were able to flee on foot to take refuge in an abandon house, but were found and surrounded by Taliban. Kinley went out to investigate and was shot in the arm and leg and then surrounded in a pit by Taliban who used the butt of their gun to hit him in the head rendering him almost lifeless.

Ahmed appeared, killing several Taliban and told Kinley he would get them home but couldn’t take the roads so built and cot from sticks and began the long journey over mountainous terrain dragging Kinley behind. After finding a truck to travel, Ahmed ran into another group of Taliban who said there was a massive search for the two of them so Ahmed took the pickup to some herders and traded it for a wooden cart with wheels to transport Kinley 100 miles back to base. Ahmed made it to just outside the base, but was attacked by Taliban though was able to protect Kinley and eventually was picked up by US soldiers from Bagram Air Base.

Kinley spent several weeks there in the hospital and another month recovering back home. When he was fully recovered he found out that Ahmed was back in Afghanistan in hiding with his family due to the fact that he was on the Taliban top ten list for helping Kinley survive. Ahmed needed US visas promised to him and his family for his service, but Kinley was unable to get through the government red tape to help him so devised a plan to return to Afghanistan to rescue Ahmed and his family with the help of some well known mercenaries.

Rated: R
Runtime: 2h 3m

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