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Kandahar Review


The 2023 American action film 'Kandahar', which was written by Mitchell LaFortune and directed by Ric Roman Waugh, was released on May 26, 2023, in theatres. The film also features Ali Fazal, Navid Negahban, Bahador Foladi, Nina Toussaint-White, Tom Rhys Harries, Vassilis Koukalani, Mark Arnold, Corey Johnson, and Travis Fimmel in supporting parts in addition to its producer Gerard Butler.


The film was released under the banner "Open Road Films" in theatres on May 26, 2023. Critics gave it a variety of reviews.


It appeared that change was in the air when 'The Russia House' became one of the first Hollywood movies to be shot within the Soviet Union in 1989. These days, no one recalls it for anything else. In the future, pub quizzes and trivia nights will choose the similarly forgettable action movie 'Kandahar' for identical reasons. It's the first significant American production to be filmed within the historically reclusive Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and it was just released on Prime Video following a limited theatre run abroad.

Kandahar Review

If someone were to question the specifics of the movie's narrative, the viewers probably wouldn't know them even if they remembered the events surrounding the movie's development. Heck, if one can name the character played by Gerard Butler (his name is Tom Harris, by the way), they might win gold.

Tom, a free-lance CIA contractor, successfully breaches an Iranian nuclear site in the first few minutes of the film. A few hours later, the Americans obliterate the plant off the face of the planet. Due to their displeasure with this precision hit, the Iranians send out a frightful-looking mustachioed guy to pick up all the culprits and execute them without mercy. A British journalist is first on the list because she was able to collect papers that showed the Americans were responsible for the attack on the nuclear site. However, when those records are released, Butler's character Tom Harris discovers that his cover has been blown. The CIA immediately begins to formulate a strategy to get him out of there.

What happens is essentially a pursuit drama in which Tom has to travel to a war-torn territory to get to Kandahar, where he has been informed that he will meet an extraction team. He is accompanied by a local interpreter named Mo (Navid Neghaban), and he is being followed by an ISI agent named Kahil (played by Ali Fazal), who vapes, uses Tinder, and blasts hip-hop music. Fazal is the film's standout performer, giving his colorful character a weary air that makes him look like the kind of person who has spent so much time in the field that he has realized he must find methods to amuse himself to live.

'Kandahar' departs from the loud, bombastic, dead-serious action pictures Butler typically stars in these days, where he always comes through to rescue the day. For starters, there isn't much action in 'Kandahar', which would seem strange to Butler's ardent supporters. The opening act has a peculiar spy thriller atmosphere that is both sophisticated and yet so simple. While crucial narrative beats about the leak of the secret information are driven home in the loudest manner imaginable, nobody bothered to explain how Tom can elude capture so easily in the movie's opening scenes?especially after he had already aroused the attention of local cops.

The pursuit itself is not that thrilling. And there's a section about 15 minutes long that is shot periodically in night vision by filmmaker Ric Roman Waugh. After the film stops trying to imitate 'Body of Lies', there is also an attempt to create circumstances that will allow Tom and Mo to become closer. This portion of the film might remind the viewers uncannily of Guy Ritchie's previous military drama 'The Covenant', a much superior film that, at its heart, was likewise a defense of the military on 'Terror'.

But given where the movie was filmed and who oversaw it, its somber attitude towards US foreign policy is ironic. 'Kandahar' was filmed in Saudi Arabia, unlike 'Mulan', where Disney was (rightfully) lambasted for approving the shooting of sequences in China's Xinjiang province. The film itself has the guts to depict Iran and Afghanistan, the two nations where the majority of the action takes place, as inhumane, hellish places where people are publicly flogged by men in uniform and hanged on street corners.

In the past, Waugh has shown himself to be a capable action director, and a few set pieces in 'Kandahar', notably a mid-movie vehicle chase, are well staged and might convince some people of the action-directing capabilities of the director. However, 'Kandahar' is precisely the type of by-the-numbers genre fodder with grandiose fantasies that Kabir Khan would produce. The movie underachieves itself by striving to add weight to the drama while utterly stripping the experience of all humor.


The first American action picture to be shot in Saudi Arabia, 'Kandahar', tells the forgotten story of Tom Harris, a free-lance CIA contractor who successfully assaults an Iranian nuclear facility. Tom's cover is shattered when the secret information is leaked, which causes a chase scenario across a war-torn region to reach Kandahar. Ironically, the movie's gloomy outlook on US foreign policy serves to highlight Waugh's prior prowess as an action director. The well-staged set pieces from the film, such as a mid-movie car chase, will probably be used in pub quizzes and trivia nights and such scenes also make this movie a must-watch.

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