I keep oscillating between 1/5 and 2/5 for a score for this movie, because while it wasn’t any good at all, it also wasn’t actively bad, so 1/5 seems mean, but it was also really not any good. And probably other people aren’t quite as keen on James D’Arcy looking tense in a naval uniform, so that doesn’t get a free point.

In WWII, radar happened, and it is the subject of many excellent movies and even better quips (see, for instance, the charming exchange from Battle of Britain: “So I tell the cabinet that you’re trusting in radar and praying to God, is that right?” “More accurately the other way ’round. Trusting in God and praying for radar.”). And, in that grand tradition, Age of Heroes is about commandos sent to Norway to take out a German radar installation, I’m pretty sure.

Danny Dyer saves some of his men in the retreat towards Dunkirk, but then is sent to prison for desertion because of a misunderstanding or simple nastiness on the part of a superior officer. Sean Bean ignores the pleas of his pregnant wife to lead a commando unit (helpfully made up of men from Danny Dyer’s military jail and also some random Scandinavian-born American, which is where Askel Hennie comes in).  John Dagleish has to go with the commandos to Norway as the radar expert, but is largely useless for anything else. Our old friend and the only character whose name I learned, and that only because I already knew it, Ian Fleming (Mr. D’Arcy), is stressed out in the cabinet war rooms.

So they go to Norway and it’s cold and John Dagleish is useless and their contact has maybe gone dark or is maybe dead or is definitely a girl. Nazis are very unpleasant, to a point that seems cartoonish but is probably accurate. At this point the movie loses shape entirely, but not out of attempts at realism, just out of carelessness. All the set-up–explaining radar, commandos, intelligence services, geography–falls by the wayside in a welter of bad dialogue and worse pacing. Danny Dyer is, I think, meant to be conflicted and confused, but he comes off as dense and ineffectual. Which is not great, for a titular hero.

Commandos are fascinating, and I daresay a good film treatment of Fleming’s war service could exist and perhaps already does, but this isn’t it. (Neither is Any Human Heart, in which he figures as a minor character but which I couldn’t even finish watching, it was so dire.) Accounts of the early part of the war are usually depressing–Battle of Britain ends with a collective, near-despairing shrug–but this one is also just bad.

Oh, and, of course Sean Bean dies.

Director: Adrian Vitoria
Rating: NR
Length: 90 minutes
Score: 1/5


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