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Sean Bean does a noble job leading his troops into war, but Age of Heroes doesn't otherwise have much meat on the bone....
E1 / 120 Minutes / 2011 / Rated R / Street Date: Jan 17, 2012
Ian Fleming isn't mentioned on the cover of the Blu-ray edition of Age of Heroes, but he should have been. This isn't a Bond film - not by a long short - but for anybody with a tendency toward the author's cinematic franchise, knowing that Age of Heroes is about the history and struggles of the author's 30 Commando unit during WWII makes for an enormous curiosity factor. How did Fleming approach the war? In what ways did combat influence what was to be his iconic writing style?
Truth be told, the 'Fleming Factor' within Age of Heroes isn't super-high - it's more of a behind-enemy-lines wartime adventure than it is a particularly illuminating look at the author's battle ethic. In the movie, our focus is Corporal Rains (Danny Dyer) as he joins the 30 Commando, undergoing a staggering round of training under the tutelage of the tough Major Jones (Sean Bean). Almost immediately, the team gets an assignment: They are to parachute into occupied Norway and retrieve some classified, possibly game-changing radar technology that the Germans have been developing.
This is all fine and good, but the mission at the center of Age of Heroes gets real nasty real fast, with the entire team finding themselves in serious trouble in enemy territory. However, the biggest issue with the picture is that even with this pedigreed setup - it sounds like a quasi-Spielberg WWII drama - Age of Heroes never fully delivers the goods. It has solid star power (who doesn't like Sean Bean?), a killer story, and a capable cast of up-and-comers, but it doesn't seal the deal.
In fact, Age of Heroes ends up becoming somewhat unnerving as a cinematic experience simply because it almost purposely wastes any and all opportunities it has to be a legitimately appealing war film. War buffs will suffer through most movies on the subject just to get fleeting glances of intriguing situations and/or historical nuance, but Age of Heroes offers neither of these. In synopsis, it's a powerful pre-Bond wartime adventure; in reality, it's a big mess.