Please note, there may be some spoilers below.
The film ‘Age of Heroes’, release on 20th May 2011, is set during World Wwar II and is based upon real-life events.
The film focusses on the formation of James Bond novelist Ian Fleming’s 30 Commando Unit (a precursor for the modern SAS) as well as their first mission against Nazi Germany. The film doesn’t boast a huge number of stars, but Sean Bean and Danny Dyer do the job quite nicely. Bean was cast perfectly for the role of British Army Major Jones. Beans’ upper-class British accent is on occaission mixed with a typical Northern tone. I found this really convincing as it reminds me of Beans days as British fictional hero Sharpe. This valuable acting experience no doubt helped Bean to form the character of Jones in this film. His tough attitude makes him a perfect candidate for the
Meanwhile Dyer was the main focus of the film and he was very convincing as Corporal Rains- a British soldier invited to join the special unit by Jones (Bean). The film quickly catalogues the troops vigorous training, as well as some of the punishments of the British Army during this period, before taking the Commando Unit on location to Norway- Director Adrian Vitoria is to be congratulated for this, as I know most WWII films tend to focus all to often on France or Russia (Saving Private Ryan, Enemy at the Gates for example).
The location offers a very realistic setting for the British operation, and the introduction of an RAF Specialist (John Dagleish) into the script makes the unit more cohesive and thus more believable. The ferocity of the fire fights was also very refreshing, having watched many low budget war films.
I felt that the two stars who stole the limelight with their very authentic acting and perfect concept of the film genre were Will Houston (Sherloch Holmes, Clash of the Titans) who played the fantastic Scottish Sergeant and James D’Arcy (Master & Commander) who played a convincingly dashing and affable Ian Fleming. These two brign together the cast and the former occaissionally adds humour to the storyline.
The only low point to me was the rushed feel to it. The training scenes weren’t as long as they should’ve been and the final scenes left me with some confusion, however it was still a pretty epic film.
Ultimately, this film is definately a very good starter to what looks to be an enthralling trilogy, and has already achieved something very few war films ever do- realism. The film portrays so much ‘Britishness’ that it is a credit to the British film industry.
Director Adrian Vitoria has pleasantly surprised me. Having seen his work in British Television series Casualty and The Bill, I had relatively low expectations for this film because of Vitoria’s little experience in the action film market. He definately left me wanting more!
4 Stars from me.