Gerard Butler isn’t finished kicking ass in 2023 as the veteran plays Tom Harris. He’s an undercover CIA operative who gets stuck in hostile territory in Afghanistan after his mission is exposed. With a translator, he must fight enemy combatants in order to reach an extraction point in Kandahar. The cast is a mix of newcomers and veterans: Navid Negahban, Travel Fimmel, Ali Fazal, and Bahador Foladi.
The latest vehicle for Gerard Butler crosses the same territory as most of the actor’s previous efforts. But his recent release, Plane, proved to remind audiences how great Butler is as an action star. Working with Ric Roman Waugh, does the latest feature in Butler’s filmography provides a strong entry in a crowded genre? Does Kandahar meet the standards that action films like John Wick have set for the modern age of cinema?
The Story Of Kandahar Is Unfocused
The Action Is Solid, And The Film Is Shot Well But…
The coolest thing about Kandahar is that most of the effects are practical. There’s a helicopter scene that’s easily the stand out in the first act. It has a grounded realism in the action that does keep you on the edge of your seat. However, you’ve seen this type of action in other films. The location itself gives the action sequences a boost. Afghanistan is a beautiful city, and it’s cool that a lot of the foreign talent speak in their native tongue.
But Kandahar suffers from the fact that there’s too much going on. The plot is confusing at times because there’s no telling who’s the good or bad guy. There are also way too many characters. Kandahar tries to add some depth to the core cast. But in truth, some of these names should’ve been cut better to tell the story of the war between the CIA and Afghanistan. That isn’t to say that anyone in the film is bad. Gerard Butler is a relatable presence, and the supporting cast does a solid job with what they’re given. But it all feels overwhelming in the end.
There are so many characters that the action is diminished because of it. It’s great that Kandahar isn’t your generic and mindless action vehicle that tries to move the story forward because of crazy set pieces. But when the dynamic of the story isn’t clear, then anything barely clicks in the film. All the melodramatic moments felt forced because it wasn’t particularly organic to the overall plot of the film.
Is Kandahar Worth Seeing In Theaters?
To be clear, Kandahar isn’t bad per se, just a great-looking film that you’ve seen countless times before. If you need your action fix this weekend, then do check it out. Just be sure to understand that the plot will be confusing and the action is generic. It’s a solid film overall, but nothing that stands up to the recent action affairs that have been released.