Thoughts on the movie, “Lone Survivor” based on the true story of former Navy Seal, Marcus Luttrell

Although I would highly recommend seeing this movie, I’m not a movie critic. As I gain confidence in my writing, I am more thorough in critiquing the submissions of members of my critique group, but I would barely consider myself an expert on grammar, sentence structure, or plot. However, I am is an expert on action.

This movie starts at the end, my favorite type of beginning. In the last scene before going to the “Three Months Earlier” narrative, Marcus Luttrell’s character is flat lining. The movie then breaks to scenes from Navy SEAL training, camaraderie among the members of the various teams, a briefing, problems with communications and the operation. These were great “waiting for the other shoe to drop” type scenes, necessary to the story, but of course, being the action junkie that I am, the action was what I was there for.

The action is spectacular. The sound effects, not so much. Gun shots were portrayed as mini-explosions, and I can understand the need for thundering effect, but you know my point of view—genuine action can be as dramatic as improper action. As I’ve said in previously blogs, that’s why I’m not a movie director—or at least one of many reasons why I’m here blogging instead of bringing a story from the page to the screen.

That said, this blog is about something they got right. If I see something right, I’m as eager to point it out as I am about spotlighting mistakes.

I’m not a firearms expert. My brief journey with firearms consisted of hunting rifles before joining the Army. After that I qualified on the M-16, and occasionally when there was leftover ammunition, I got the opportunity to fire a .45cal or a 9mmsemi-automatic handgun. Since then, I’ve merely maintained familiarity with my personal .38cal revolver. There are, however, some things that are the same from firearm to firearm. For instance, when the rifle or semi-automatic handgun locks open, it’s empty. Period. Same-same, whatever caliber, make or model (excluding revolvers–they just go “click”).

In one scene in the movie, the camera shot clearly shows the dust cover open on Axe’s rifle. Dust cover open means the magazine is empty. The chamber is empty. I whispered to Axe—although I knew he couldn’t hear me because he was talking to Marcus—that he better load another magazine. I was tense for a minute, repeating over and over to myself, “Don’t make me blog about this…” And, to my relief, Axe pulled out his sidearm and starting shooting the Taliban fighters with that.

Obviously, I’m blogging about this scene anyway, but I get to provide a positive example of how getting it right can be as dramatic as portraying action incorrectly.


Get it right. Keep it real.


Janet McClintock

Action Girl

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *