Kandahar Film 2023 Review and Synopsis

Action film fans are certainly familiar with one of the most famous Hollywood action actors today, namely Gerard Butler. Butler also quite well known for his actions in the Has Fallen film series as an agent. Well, Butler is back in action as an agent in his latest action film, entitled Kandahar.

Kandahar directed by Ric Roman Waugh, a figure who also directed two films starring Gerard Butler, namely Angel Has Fallen (2019) and Greenland (2020). Apart from Butler, this film also stars Navid Negahban, Ali Fazal, Nina Toussaint-White, and other actors.

Kandahar tells the story of Tom Harris, an undercover CIA agent who trapped in enemy territory in Afghanistan. At one time, Tom’s identity and mission were revealed, so he and his translator had to go to Kandahar to save themselves. Tom and his translator were chased during their flight to Kandahar.

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Kandahar film review

1. The story of an escaped CIA agent whose mission discovered by the enemy

From the title alone, some of you can probably guess that the story in this film set in Afghanistan. Yep, most of this film set in several Middle Eastern countries. The film opens with Tom Harris who has a mission to place a bomb at an Iranian nuclear facility by posing as an internet repairman. His mission was successful and Tom thought he could go home to attend his son’s graduation.

Before boarding the plane to go home, Tom suddenly received a new mission in Afghanistan which guaranteed that he could complete the mission before his son’s graduation day, so Tom agreed. Tom then carried out the mission accompanied by an Afghan language translator, named Mohammad or called Mo. Their mission discovered, so Tom and Mo had to go to Kandahar to get help from the CIA.

With an “R” rating or a film for audiences aged 17 years and over, Kandahar presents a lot of explosive action which is quite bloody. However, in terms of story, there is nothing special or different that Kandahar has to offer. In fact, the action shown did not succeed in keeping me attached to this film because the story generic for war films set in the Middle East.

Indeed, there sentimental value added to this film, especially in how Tom determined to come to his son’s graduation and Mo tries to forgive the people who took his family away. However, the sentimental moments presented so flatly that they don’t feel memorable. This film also introduces too many characters, making it difficult for the story to focus on building the relationship between Tom and Mo.

2. Gerard Butler is too comfortable being an action star

If you look at Gerard Butler’s filmography, this actor can said to be quite comfortable starring in action films over the past few years, including his latest film, Kandahar. Maybe because he often plays it safe in action films, Butler’s appearance in Kandahar isn’t that special. Butler’s acting as Tom Harris is quite good, but doesn’t leave a deep impression.

Luckily, Butler paired with Navid Negahban, who plays an Afghan translator named Mo. The thing is, it is Mo’s presence that brings sentimental moments in this film, especially when Mo wants to forgive the person who killed his child because of the war. At least, the interaction between Tom and Mo provides a little color to the film’s storyline.

3. Realistic Middle Eastern visuals and appropriate use of scoring

Even though the story of Kandahar set in Afghanistan and several countries in the Middle East, the filming process for this film actually took place in Saudi Arabia. It’s no surprise that Kandahar’s depiction of Middle Eastern nuances feels more realistic. The director and cinematographer of Kandahar rely on long shots to fully display the beauty of the location.

Regarding scoring, the various sound effects used in this film sounded very appropriate to the moment the film was showing at that time. However, there is nothing memorable from the various scores displayed in this film. Even though the story is not optimal, at least your eyes can still be spoiled by the visuals of this film.

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