Rather good film. I cringed in some of the scenes when the Irish Soldiers would silhouette themselves against a skyline, or not take cover, but I have plenty of memories of myself doing the same stupid things in Iraq and Afghanistan. More proof that God exists and he protects young boys and drunks.
While it doesn’t have a military happy ending like the defense of Rorke’s Drift in “Zulu”, spoiler alert, as the defenders are forced to capitulate and surrender due to lack of support it should be viewed as a textbook case of a prepared defense by a company size element against a superior sized attacking force (and unlike in Zulu the attacking force was led by competent European mercenaries). The use of aimed fire, the use of trench warfare, and the incredibly unfair advantage of one side having air power and the other side not…are clearly played out on the screen.
It is not a family friendly film, not even an adventure film although the cinematography reminded me very much of the direct to video “Sniper: Reloaded” which was also nominally set in the Congo with a UN mission but filmed in South Africa. Honestly it looks like the “Belgian Villa” in both films was the same house, but I can’t be sure one way or the other. Gun handling was good, the arms used were period correct with a Short Magazine Lee-Enfield No4 Mk1(T) sniper rifle getting quite a bit of screen time. The Bren light machine guns and Vickers heavy machine guns quite clearly got some use.
The only part I found confusing was when the sniper put aside his sniper rifle (which used the No 32 Mk1 scope with 2 minute clicks) to use a Bren in single shot mode to take out the “evil white guy in a white suit.” I have no idea of the historical accuracy of imperialist white dudes on the battlefield, but considering the Bren and the N04 Mk1(T) sniper rifle fired the same Mk VII .303 British round, I believe it was likely an artistic choice for cinematic effect.
So I rate this as every bit as an important story to tell as “Blackhawk Down.” Which is also a story of white guys waging warfare in a part of Africa no one outside the ivory tower of the UN really cares about, or could find on a map without labels. It is important to remember military history, especially the political complications that come from putting boots on the ground in Africa.
This would be a good film for NCO and junior Officer development, to see the benefits of always making security the first order of business, and to practice good marksmanship to conserve ammo.