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Ric Roman Waugh
Gerard Butler, Navid Negahban, Ali Fazal
Writing Credits:
Mitchell LaFortune

A CIA operative and his translator flee from special forces in Afghanistan after exposing a covert mission.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend:
$2,325,388 on 2105 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 120 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 7/18/2023

• DVD Copy


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Kandahar [Blu-Ray] (2023)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 26, 2023)

When we last saw Gerard Butler, he played the lead in a big goofy action movie called Plane. Butler’s next offering focused on a more reality-based tale, as 2023’s Kandahar comes based on true events.

Tom Harris (Butler) works as a CIA operative. During a mission to Afghanistan, he finds his identity exposed.

Inevitably, this leads to danger, and he struggles to reach the extraction point. Along with handler/translator Mohammad "Mo" Doud (Navid Negahban), Tom fights the odds to escape to safety.

If that plot sounds vaguely familiar, it should. Released about one month before Kandahar, Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant covered similar territory.

That said, the two don’t provide identical tales. Covenant actually comes with two connected but different rescues, whereas Kandahar focuses solely on one.

Too bad Kandahar can’t muster the same emotion and dramatic impact as the slightly earlier Guy Ritchie flick. While the Butler project attempts to milk these dramatic trends, it largely fails.

Director Ric Roman Waugh started out in stunts and graduated to the director’s chair with 2001’s In the Shadows. This marks his third collaboration with Butler, and they have more in the works.

Their two prior flicks – 2019’s Angel Has Fallen and 2020’s Greenland - didn’t exactly dazzle me. In addition, when Waugh stepped away from his usual action genre with 2021’s National Champions, he did nothing to inspire my hopes that he’d become a good director.

Back home with his usual bang-bang fare, Kandahar also fails to alter my pre-existing opinion of Waugh. While it brings a watchable affair, it never turns into anything better than that.

Granted, the déjà vu of Kandahar so hot on the heels of the similar Covenant doesn’t help. Nonetheless, Waugh’s movie fails to find anything fresh to do with the material.

Butler plays the Standard Butler Role. He always seems to portray worn-down guys estranged from wives/family who live on the margins in some way – but they’re also always amazing at their chosen professions.

Tom ends up as another of these parts, and Butler sleepwalks through his performance. At least he seems to have given up any his terrible attempts at American accents, even though his natural Scottish tones don’t make a lot of sense here.

Kandahar delivers a fairly meatheaded plot, one that asks us to bond with characters who act illegally. The film acknowledges that Tom’s mission forces him to break laws, but of course it wants us to see this as fine and dandy since it involves traditional US enemies.

Oh, Kandahar vaguely hints at the implications, but it fails to follow up these concepts. Don’t expect anything that goes into gray areas during this simplistic story.

If Kandahar delivered the action goods, I might not mind its lame-brained narrative. Unfortunately, the violent scenes feel perfunctory and never do anything to make them fresh.

At no point does Kandahar turn into a bad movie, but it just can’t find a way to give us anything particularly good, either. Too slow and too trite, the film lacks much impact.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus F

Kandahar appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a pretty strong presentation.

Sharpness looked good. A sliver of softness impacted some wider shots, but the film usually felt accurate and concise.

No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained minor. Source flaws also failed to create problems.

In terms of colors, Kandahar went with “action-standard” amber/orange and teal, though it favored the former. The tones felt well-represented within those choices.

Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows showed good delineation. Overall, this was a pleasing image.

Similar thoughts greeted the good DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Kandahar. I felt the soundscape delivered an involving experience in which the action scenes offered a nice sense of impact.

The film packed plenty of these elements, so we got many instances of gunfire, explosions, vehicles and other lively tidbits. Overall, the mix filled out the room in a satisfying manner.

Audio quality was positive. Speech came across as natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.

Music showed good range, and effects offered a nice sense of impact. These were the kind of loud, impressive elements one would anticipate, as they showed solid clarity. This was a good soundtrack.

The package provides a DVD copy. Neither the Blu-ray nor the DVD include any extras.

As an action-thriller, Kandahar lacks anything to make it special. We get tedious and predictable scenes that go nowhere particularly interesting. The Blu-ray boasts solid picture and audio but it lacks bonus materials. Though not the worse action flick I’ve seen, Kandahar feels relentlessly mediocre.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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