Saving Private Ryan set the precedent for opening war films with a stirring score and big action set-pieces, but Ages of Heroes cannot justifiably call itself a war film. It merely uses the war as an excuse for action and in order to give the story and characters some kind of emotional background. This is transparently evident by the fact that the story is so silly and paint-by-numbers that it could have been placed in any historical context. It claims to be based on the true story of a top secret regiment, 30 Commando, sent to the cold climes of Norway during World War II in order to uncover German intelligence that will help them win the war. If this is truly based on fact, then they do the war and its soldiers even less justice with the weak dialogue and inconsistent characters. The British and the Germans are mere binary opposites of each other, providing no depth to the characters or truth to the past – merely painting a shallow, fairytale view of the good guy and the bad guy.
Reviewed by Claudia Hauter
Set in Norway, an occasional expansive shot of the frozen beauty of the landscape is thrust in; but even this footage is fairly stock, merely there in an attempt to add scale to the film. The action is generic with guns firing and bombs exploding – nothing unexpected really.
There is a truly horrific scene where the Germans gun down a man’s entirely family for helping the British hide, but although it is an awful scene it only further cements my point that it tries to make a monster of one side and heroes of the other, without any deeper cognizance into the lives of soldiers and what they had to go through.
Sean Bean holds his own well as the leader of the 30 Commando, but the overall weak rendering of the characters and the predictable story makes you feel very little emotion about anything in the film.