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lone-survivor-wahlberg“LONE SURVIVOR” My rating: B (Opens wide on Jan. 10)

121 minutes | MPAA rating: R

A superior action film based on real events, “Lone Survivor” is a modern update of the classic “lost patrol” movie in which a small unit of soldiers is trapped behind enemy lines and, often, doomed to fight to the last man.

It was inspired by Operation Red Wings, a 2005 mission in which four Navy SEALs were dropped in the mountains of Afghanistan to locate and keep tabs on a Taliban war lord.  As the title suggests, it didn’t go well.

The opening credits of writer/director Peter Berg’s action drama unfold against documentary footage of the grueling (some might say sadistic) training that potential SEALs must negotiate to become part of this elite fighting force. It’s so rough that bodies and spirits begin to break down. For some classes the dropout rate is 90 percent.

The ones who last are tough bastards.

The film proper begins with one of the SEALSs, Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg), being evacuated by a rescue team. He’s been badly wounded and dies as the medics scramble to revive and stabilize him.

Berg’s screenplay, adapted from the non-fiction book by Luttrell and Patrick Robinson (obviously, Luttrell lived to tell the tale), then flashes back several days as the four members of Operation Red Wings are briefed and make preparations for their mission.

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