Director:  Adolfo Martinez Perez
Screenplay:  Luis Arranz, Andres M. Koppel, Antonio Saura
Starring: Ariadna Gil, Raul Merida, Roberto Alamo, Antonio Garrido
Year: 2017
Country:  Spain
BBFC Classification: 15

Solid dramatization of a real life incident that saw a Spanish medical helicopter crew downed behind enemy lines in Afghanistan attempting to rescue injured US soldiers. The medics and a squad of Legionnaires must hunker down overnight when the Spanish army decide it’s just as important to rescue the downed but salvageable helicopter, as it’s needed to continue providing medical help and rescue in the war torn area. But it’s to be a long night for the crew and soldiers as tension mounts and the threat of Taliban attack soon rears its ugly head.

While the cover art perhaps suggests a straight forward, low-budget, shoot-em up, Rescue Under Fire is a much more serious and polished affair. While there is a fair dose of ballistic action as the stranded crew and soldiers engage in fire-fights with the marauding Taliban, the film is much more about the unique and dangerous situation the trapped protagonists find themselves in and the tension that arises. The filmmakers go to great and believable lengths to re-stage the tragic event giving time for the situation and the characters to develop before the inevitable military styled shoot-outs erupt. Coupled with realistic dialogue and reactions to the mounting circumstances (save for a couple of clichéd characters here and there) and a merciful lack of shaky cam and faux documentary style filming (that can often plague these type of military films), Rescue Under Fire is refreshingly old school in its approach to suspense action film-making.

As mentioned, there are a few clichéd characters seemingly shoe-horned in to add a little more suspense and the plot crux of putting soldiers and medics lives in further danger in order to rescue a crashed helicopter may seem a little suspect. However, it gives an interesting slant to proceedings, both the justification for retrieving and not retrieving the helicopter broached and adds to the tension of events. It may also be a tad slow-burn for the hard core military action enthusiast but again it’s a refreshing change of pace from say the likes of a hyper-stylised and edited  Michael Bay war flick or the overly melodramatic and jingoistic nature of many a Japanese or Chinese produced war film.

Some impressively staged action livens up the final third and for the most part Rescue Under Fire is an engaging and well made dramatization of a real life incident.

Rescue Under Fire is available now on DVD from Eureka Video. Extras include a trailer only.

Rescue Under Fire
3.5Overall Score
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