Blu-ray Review: The 12th Man

The rise of neo-Nazis groups in countries that were invaded by the German during World War II is a surprise to some people. How can they forget the horrors and atrocities that Hitler’s armies did to their country that they see this as a good direction for their country? There was a report the other day on the radio that Jewish youth are joining these organizations under the thought that they won’t have to fear their new friends turning on them. They forget at the sacrifices others made to rid their countries of Nazi occupation. The 12th Man recreates the true story of what one man went through when he attacked the Nazis in Norway.

Twelve Norwegian resistance fighters disguise themselves as fishermen and sail a fishing vessel from Scotland to Norway. Their intent is to blow up a Nazi base with a cargo hold filled with TNT. The Nazis pounce on them fast. One of the party is killed and ten others are captured. Only Jan Baalsrud (Thomas Gullestad) is able to escape by diving into the freezing waters. He is able to keep out of sight long enough for the Nazis pursuing him to think he’s frozen to death and drowned. Sturmbannführer Kurt Stage (The Tudors‘ Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) isn’t going to take that excuse. He tortures the other 10 survivors for any bit of information about their 12th partner. He goes to extreme measures to see how long a man can survive in the icy waters. When he gets his answer, he declares Baalsrud must have died. The Norwegian meets with help and hostility from his countrymen on his attempt to escape to the safety of Sweden. A chance encounter makes the Sturmbannführer sense that Baalsrud is alive. The Norwegian has a long and dangerous road ahead of him where either the Nazis or the elements can claim his life.

What’s extremely astonishing is this film came from director Harald . Previously he’s helmed Agent Cody Banks, The Pink Panther 2 and the remake of The Karate Kid with Jaden Smith. This must be one of those projects he’s always been itching to make. Geir Hartly Andreassen’s cinematography brings out the freezing nature of the location. You will need a sweater when Thomas Gullestad jumps in the freezing water to escape the Nazis. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers really brings out the harshness in his Nazi soldier. He’s extremely stern in his eyes.

The only misstep for the film is the title. The 12th Man sounds like you’re going to be watching a football film about a fan of either Texas A&M or the Seattle Seahawks. While the name means a lot in Norway, the American audience needs to be tempted with a title that talks about a man doing his best to stay a step ahead of the Germans. This is a film that at its core reminds us to resist the Nazi mindset.

The video is 2.35:1. The high definition transfer brings out the snow and the cold shadows on the screen. The audio is an English dub in 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. The original track is a mix of Norwegian and German depending who does the talking in 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio mix. The movie is subtitled in English.

Trailer (3:12) sets up the intense action.

Shout! Factory presents The 12th Man. Starring: Thomas Gullestad, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Marie Blokhus, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen and Kim Jøran Olsen. Rated: Not Rated. Running Time: 135 minutes. Released: October 2, 2018.

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