A quickly forgotten chapter in United States military history is relived in this harrowing war drama from director Ridley Scott, based on a series of Philadelphia Inquirer articles and subsequent book by reporter Mark Bowden. On October… More A quickly forgotten chapter in United States military history is relived in this harrowing war drama from director Ridley Scott, based on a series of Philadelphia Inquirer articles and subsequent book by reporter Mark Bowden. On October 3rd, 1993, an elite team of more than 100 Delta Force soldiers and Army Rangers, part of a larger United Nations peacekeeping force, are dropped into civil war-torn Mogadishu, Somalia, in an effort to kidnap two of local crime lord Mohamed Farah Aidid's top lieutenants. Among the team: Staff Sgt. Matt Eversmann (Josh Hartnett), Ranger Lt. Col. Danny McKnight (Tom Sizemore), the resourceful Delta Sgt. First Class Jeff Sanderson (William Fichtner), and Ranger Spec. Grimes (Ewan McGregor), a desk-bound clerk getting his first taste of live combat. When two of the mission's Black Hawk helicopters are shot down by enemy forces, the Americans -- committed to recovering every man, dead or alive -- stay in the area too long and are quickly surrounded. The ensuing firefight is a merciless 15-hour ordeal and the longest ground battle involving American soldiers since the Vietnam War. In the end, 70 soldiers are injured and 18 are dead, along with hundreds of Somalians. Black Hawk Down was voted one of the top ten films of the year by the National Board of Review prior to its limited Oscar-qualifying release. On the basis of his work in this film, co-star Eric Bana, a relatively unknown Australian actor playing Delta Sgt. First Class "Hoot" Gibson, won the lead in director Ang Lee's version of The Hulk (2003). ~ Karl Williams, Rovi
Consensus: Though it's light on character development and cultural empathy, Black Hawk Down is a visceral, pulse-pounding portrait of war, elevated by Ridley Scott's superb technical skill.