5 Days of War wants to be Shindler's List so bad it hurts. No really. It hurts. I legitimately got whiplash from throwing my head back in my chair in frustration over just how emotionally manipulative this movie was. From the word go we have Steven Spielberg's classic to thank for the following scenes in 5 Days of War:

Appropriately ethnic music playing over scenes of horrible destruction that occur during a grand family celebration. A heated tête-à-tête between a civilian and a millitary commander. A post credits memorial scene in which tearful families list of names of relatives lost in the Georgian / Russian conflict. Conspicuous scenes of little children (The same little children) being displaced and or killed by the horrors of war.

Of course the flick is no where near as good or well directed as that particular classic. Faults include some particularly sloppy writing, in which our heroes are saved no less then four times by events completely out of their control.

This is known as a Deus Ex Machina.It essentially means the script solves it's own problems. In real life they're great. You're late on bills, but you win 50 bucks on a scratch of ticket. In a movie they ruin everything. The example I was given in school is the following: A man is held hostage by a bad guy. His hands are tied, the blind fold is around his eyes, the cigerette is in his mouth, and there's no way out of this for our hero.

So a team of good guys burst through the door just at the right time, kill the bad guys, and our hero is free through absolutely zero action of his own. This is a cop out to the movie goer, who typically wants to see their heroes strive and grow and change and solve problems on their own.

I mention this particular example because this exact scene happens, and it ruined everything. It ruined everything later on in the movie when a specific character needed to meet his fate, only to get out of the entire thing because the bad guy essentially changed his mind.

Anyway, the whole thing opens up in Iraq in 2007, as four war journalists get shot up by muslim extremists. We fast forward to a few months later, and the only survivor, Thomas Anders (Rupert Friend), is cold, a loose canon, looking for something to believe in, or whatever bits of exposition his camera man and pal Sebastian says to him in any particular scene.

So Thomas Anders and Sebastian head to the country of Georgia to cover the conflict and subsequent invasion, and run into some real nasty dudes. Of course they're private military contractors, which allows the movie to have a ruthless and cold and vicious enemy (the kind that shoots old ladies) without making the Russian Army or Government mad. Which is weird, as the movie is preachy as it gets.

The movie offers buy one get two free in terms of crosses to bare. CNN doesn't care about the war, and would rather broadcast American Idol returns. The USA won't come to Georgia's aide because there's no Oil there. Georgia helped out the USA in Iraq, now they're nowhere to be found. This is essentially one of those movies that has a real thorn in it's side toward the west and the media, and the message comes through loud and clear. Of course a bull horn comes in loud and clear as well, and no one likes listening to that, either.

But anyway, 5 Days of War is serviceable war flick that is probably far better if you're not a member of the nations they're bashing on. I don't like being guilt tripped when going to an action movie, and I especially don't like it if the movie doesn't have blue talking alien cat people, of which “5 Days of War” had disappointingly few.

What it does have is a message, some great tension, some great performances, and makes reporters ballsier than myself look appropriately bad ass.

But it's hard for me to recommend a movie that is so very eager to beat the audience over the head with whatever message or idea it wants to communicate at that particular moment. It's sort of like the NOW That's What I Call Music: Vocal Minority Edition! There's a bunch in there about the war in Iraq being evil, America being evil, corporations not concerned at all with news but instead ratings, the UN not accepting the country of Georgia due to political infighting, and on and on and on and on and on.

Of course it's all totally true, but who want's to think about that sorta thing right before football season.