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Code Name: Geronimo - The Hunt for Osama Bin Laden (tbc)

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Review byMatthew Turner18/12/2012

One out of Five stars
Running time: 99 mins

Disappointing, poorly made thriller that falls down thanks to an inept script, perfunctory performances, a bizarre disregard for its characters and a lack of anything tension or thrills.

What's it all about?
Directed by John Stockwell, Codename: Geronimo – The Hunt for Osama Bin Laden (original title: Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden) was originally made for US TV and is receiving a brief UK theatrical release before going straight to DVD where it belongs. Supposedly based on the real-life facts (or at least the real-life facts in the public domain), the film charts the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, continually switching back and forth between CIA analysts in Washington (William Fichtner, Kathleen Robertson and Eddie Kaye Thomas) and grunts on the ground in Pakistan, including Cam Gigandet, Freddy Rodriguez, Anson Mount, Xzibit and Robert Knepper (aka Prison Break's T-Bag) as their Lieutenant Commander.

The film also details the key contribution of two Pakistani nationals (played by Leonard Claps and Hani Yahya), who were instrumental in filming the area surrounding what turned out to be Bin Laden's compound; tellingly, a title appears at the end saying that they were subsequently imprisoned, with no indication that the US are doing anything to secure their release.

The Bad
Despite securing a fairly impressive line-up of familiar TV faces, the film doesn't bother giving any of them anything even remotely interesting to do – they barely even have names, let alone characters. To that end, the film's attempts at introducing what passes for character are utterly laughable; for example, Gigandet's character has a punch-up with Mount's character for apparently sleeping with his wife, but we never see those characters interact outside of that scene, it's never referred to again (or before) and we never meet the wife.

There's very little in the way of action before the stalk-and-shoot finale, which, in turn, is utterly devoid of tension and plays out like a sub-standard video game, none of which is helped by the fact that all the characters are so indistinguishable. The Washington scenes initially seem more promising (largely because Fichtner is always watchable, while Kathleen Robertson has the most interesting part as the lone voice insisting that she's right about Bin Laden's location), but are ultimately just a series of scenes of the actors walking up and down corridors (and into toilets), arguing.

The Worse
If any of this sounds familiar, that's probably because Kathryn Bigelow (director of The Hurt Locker) has also made a film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, called Zero Dark Thirty, starring Jessica Chastain (due out here in January). One of these Hunt for Bin Laden movies is destined for Oscar attention. Needless to say, it's not this one.

Worth seeing?
Codename: Geronimo - The Hunt for Osama Bin Laden is a disappointing thriller that fails to deliver anything resembling thrills or tension, while the poorly written script doesn't even bother establishing a decent set of characters. Wait for Zero Dark Thirty instead.

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Content updated: 21/02/2020 20:04

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