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Movie Review: Lone Survivor

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By Edited Aug 6, 2016 0 0

An Exciting and Intense Film Experience

SPOILER ALERT: In this article there will be a few references that will give away the movie ending; however, since this is story is closely based on a well-known actual event of the Afghanistan War, the ending should not be a surprise.

Special Warfare Badge (or "SEAL Trident")
Lessons Learned from the Movie:

  1. Sometimes choosing what is ethical and morally right can get you killed.
  2. Don’t give up; don’t stop trying; fight until only death or rescue relieves you of the burden of battle.
  3. Not all Afghanis are Taliban; some are good caring people that will endanger themselves to help a wounded U.S. military member.
  4. A solid united team must have trust, faith, admiration, mutual respect, and love and care for their brothers-in-arms.

Lone Survivor Movie Trailer


With the military success and blanket media coverage of Navy SEAL exploits, these masters of all things combat have made them legendary superheroes in the collective eyes of United States and the world. Only the British Special Air Service (SAS) and the Israeli HaMossad leModiÊ¿in uleTafkidim Meyuḥadim (Mussad) are as highly touted in the world.   

The SEAL Team leader in this fact-based story must make a decision that tests his and the team’s ethical and morally stance even though that decision may, and in this case did, directly lead to his death and the death of two other team members. Not that the decision was wrong, only that a leader must recognize and accept the risk that goes with that decision.

The movie makes and important point about the Afghani people: not every Afghani was pro-Taliban. Many Afghani people don’t like or want Taliban, or any centralized controlling social order outside that which they create themselves for the individual tribes and communities.

  • This reviewer's side note for this movie:  Most Afghani’s prefer decentralized governance, not a centralized government. However, fear and intimidation, threats and violence against the common people and the Afghani people’s lack of confidence in both the centralized government as well as the international community, to protect them from the Taliban, causes many to give in to Taliban demands or risk death themselves.

3 SEALs Secure the Area

Not Just a Team – But brothers in every sense of the word.  Each team member continually watches over and checks, the other’s status, health, weapons and ammunition, overall fitness to fight. Three basic combat principles common to all military members is the concept of shoot, move, and communicate. From the moment the SEAL Team makes first visual contact and subsequent weapons fire from the enemy, these principles were demonstrated over and over again. It might sound like a simple thing; but as the firefight was portrayed in this film, simple it is not.

Events of this film point out a very real and not uncommon situation; a demonstrated disconnect between combat support and command elements when it comes to Special Operations missions and especially a failure to provide priority support for higher priority missions. Too many cooks in the kitchen and every other cook thinks they are head-chef pushing their menu and needs ahead of other chefs without regard to the big picture. It was not until several troops were killed and events got out of hand that someone with sufficient brass on the collar stepped forward to take control of rescue operations. Only then did we see coordinated air and ground operations come together in an impressive display of response and restraint toward achieving the rescue of the Lone Survivor.

Final Word

The fact based movie tells the story of a military operation that went awry for four Navy SEALs after a singular adverse event led to a moral decision making dilemma; a resulting decision that further had an adverse effect on, not just the mission, but their very lives. If it had not been for a compassionate, brave and morally principled Afghani citizen, there would have not been even a Lone Survivor.

Michael P. Murphy


In Memory of LT Michael Murphy, SEAL,

KIA During this Action.













Danny Dietz



In Memory of Danny Deitz, SEAL,  

KIA During this Action.








Matthew G. Axelson


In Memory of Matthew Axelson, SEAL,

KIA During this Action 





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  1. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia "Operation Red Wings." Wikipedia. 7/09/2014 <Web >
  2. IMBd Movie Review Site "Lone Survivor (2013)." IMBd. 7/09/2014 <Web >

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