not so Danny Dire! Good WW2 flick.
, 09 Nov 2012
The Age Of Heroes is a competent and enjoyable yarn about the origins of the SAS. Set around their first mission led from the back by Ian Fleming (JAMES DARCY W/E) during the Second World War in Norway, this is a decent throwback to Dad movies like Wild Geese or The Dirty Dozen. The only upsetting factor is that its been made in the 21st Century and the budgets at the disposal of producers nowadays for a film like this are obviously a great deal smaller. Its here that The Age Of Heroes is let down, obvious restraints on spectacle hobble what could have been a genuine contender for best British Independent movie of 2011. Danny Dyer (JUST FOR THE RECORD) is well cast as an opportunist who escapes from the stockade to be a member of Sean Beans (LORD OF THE RINGS THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING) team of elite soldiers. Having been found guilty for desertion and assault of a higher ranking office, Dyer seizes the opportunity to escape his prison by hitching a ride at gun point with Bean. Given an only in the movies chance to prove himself, Dyer becomes our in to the SAS. There is a Windtalkers style plot to defend a code at all costs too as well as to destroy a massive radar station in the Norwegian wilderness. Dyer is charged with killing the codebreaker (JOHN DAGLIESH) should he fall into enemy hands. The trip to Norway is authentic and the inclusion of Aksel Hennie (HEADHUNTERS) as the translator and guide is a bonus. The acting is very good and committed across the board. The limited action sequences are gripping but small scale. The showdown at the climax is about on the same scale as a minor scuffle in a big budget American equivalent. This is not a whinge however because The Age Of Heroes plays well to its strengths. The Germans are painted black but are barely present as they would be in real life. A massacre is particularly effective, adding more depth to the SAS teams missions and essentially giving us a reason to boo the bad guys. Sean Bean always sets a standard, and he was born to play roles like this. His make-up artist needs to be shot though. He had a visibly white and powdery fave throughout, which was very distracting yet funny. Danny Dyer reminds us that given a half-reasonable script he can convince as good as the rest. Hes well-cast and we actually root for him to succeed.
Only an abrupt and rushed ending / epilogue that comes out of nowhere serve to remind us of the budget constraints. That and the small scale but still very good action scenes. The ending seems glued on from out of nowhere. Did the production plan further scenes but ultimately rushed to film an ending when the money ran out? Well never know. But a good ending is important because for the bulk of the film it proves to be a gripping piece of old school entertainment. This serves to de-rail a film that would be all too easy to dismiss as just another Danny Dyer cheapo. And thats snobby attitude does The Age Of Heroes a disservice.
6 out of 10 The Age Of Heroes is far from perfect but it is a great example of managing great action spectacles with a low budget. Danny Dyer reminds us that he can be a vital and at times brilliant actor to watch. The story is great and the acting good across the board. The locations are stunning and it hits all the right emotional chords. Thats superb news for a DVD that I see in the petrol station 4 for a tenner bin.
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