When you think of Special Forces war movies, you likely think of the fantastic assaults conducted by units like the Navy SEALs in Lone Survivor or Delta Force in Black Hawk Down. However, other Special Forces units perform unique duties that sometimes go overlooked by Hollywood. In fact, Chris Hemsworth opened up to CinemaBlend and other media outlets during a 12 Strong set visit earlier this year and explained that the job of Green Berets is fundamentally different from other Special Forces outfits, and this post-9/11 war film will show how they build relationships with locals in addition to engaging in all of the action that we would expect. Hemsworth explained:
For me, we've seen a lot of Navy SEAL movies, which are very smash-and-grab approaches, which is what they do best, better than anyone. With Special Forces guys, they embed themselves in a community over a course of months or years, and it's a diplomatic duty and relationship building within these communities to achieve their outcome. They can do the direct attack, obviously, and we do in this movie, but the bigger challenge and the talent of what these guys achieved was the relationship they formed with Dostum, the warlord that were fighting with, and getting him to trust them and leveraging centuries-old blood feuds between these tribes and convince them to understand we're all fighting the same enemy. We weren't there to conquer the place or take over. We were there to fight a common enemy... otherwise the country was at risk at becoming a major terrorist training camp. They did it in 3 or 4 weeks. It was one of the most successful missions in history, because it was 12 guys across 3 to 4 weeks, embedded with the locals, and achieved what they set out to do, which taking back the city of Mazar-i-Sharif.
So while we can look forward to plenty of action when 12 Strong finally debuts in theaters, it's not necessarily about the action. The core thematic idea of the film centers on trust, and whether or not these Green Berets were able to develop confidence with the Afghani locals when they dropped in after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Unlike other movies about Special Forces units -- which often see a group of elite soldiers infiltrate and exfiltrate under a tight timeframe --12 Strong will show a small band of Americans drop in and truly immerse themselves in the local Afghan culture. In that regard, they are equal parts soldiers and diplomats.
That distinction is necessary to make because that is a real role that Green Beret units have played for decades in the American military. It's just not something that gets shown quite as often as other types of Special Forces units. In fact, elsewhere during our visit to the 12 Strong set, several members of the crew made a point to let us know that this is the first authentic movie about a Green Beret unit since 1968's Green Berets starring John Wayne. The current generation of moviegoers has seen Special Forces movies before, but this looks like something different and unique.
For a closer look at 12 Strong's Green Beret unit in action, check out the newly released trailer for the film below!