1990s Bravo Two Zero (1999)

Published on March 19th, 2013 | by Chris


Bravo Two Zero (1999)

Movie directed by:
Tom Clegg

Reviewed by:
On March 19, 2013
Last modified:February 25, 2013


Could have been a real action movie, but was ultimately hampered by the "made for TV" spectre. Real True Stories (tm) deserve better.

Bravo Two Zero (1999)The true story of a British SAS unit during the Gulf War back in January 1991, Bravo Two Zero takes us behind enemy lines in Iraq, and into a run for our lives.

Given the callsign Bravo Two Zero, Sgt. McNabb (Who wrote the novel of the same name, played here by Sean Bean) is dropped with his typically ragtag, uncouth, cocky, and loudmouthed special forces unit well behind the lines in Northern Iraq.  Their mission is to disable the information pipeline feeding the Iraqi SCUD missile launchers with orders and targeting information.

The mission, however goes terribly wrong, as they're discovered and forced to make a run for the still-distant Syrian border.  The unit becomes separated and divided, untill McNabb finds himself alone, and ultimately captured while hiding in a culvert within sight of the border.

Two others in his unit had also been captured, and the three of them wind up tortured in an Iraqi prison until the end of the war.  They are finally released of course, but their journey of one mishap after another is quite a tale.

Cutting to the chase a bit, this was a made-for-BBC-TV movie, and it unfortunately shows.  Although Sean Bean manages to rescue a minimally-written character, the rest of the unit is the stereotypical bunch of gung ho special forces types.  You never really find yourself attached to any of them, McNabb included.  The production also shows a bit during the initial combat scenes... meant to be somewhat big in scope, they never really acheive that.  The much closer-in later ones, though, get a bit harrowing.

I also have to say that at times, the principals' various accents can get a bit thick, and the slang a bit, well, slang-y.  I admit, this Yank didn't have a clue what they were saying at times.

Then there are scenes like the taxi-cab ride, which almost defy explanation.  I guess an attempt at levity to break the tension, but it doesn't quite do it.

The real meat though, is Bean's performance during McNabb's incarceration.  These scenes, which comprise practically half of the film, are really quite well executed, for the most part.  He manages to portray a meaningful and English-proud defiance while still carrying that slight air of fear....

If you were hoping for another Blackhawk Down or something similar, you're not going to find it in Bravo Two Zero.  An interesting and much needed addition to the Gulf War Movie repertoire, the final package is just a bit rough around the edges, and can only get a 3/5 out of me.  Not bad, but could have been better in lots of ways.

And, yeah, I couldn't find a clip, but here's the whole thing.  Could some kind soul let me know when YouTube cans this link?

Bravo Two Zero Bravo Two Zero
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Starring action favorite Sean Bean (National Treasure, The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and based on a captivating true story written by best-selling author Andy McNab, Bravo Two Zero explores the tragedies and triumphs of men taken to the edge of survival in the Persian Gulf War...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio:
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Manufacturer: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Original Release Date:
  • Sean Bean


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Bravo Two Zero (1999) Chris

Summary: Could have been a real action movie, but was ultimately hampered by the "made for TV" spectre. Real True Stories (tm) deserve better.


User Rating: 4.3 (2 votes)

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About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.

One Response to Bravo Two Zero (1999)

  1. British tv productions are always worth watching. So is Sean Bean. Anybody who liked the »Ultimate Force« series knows what kind of viewing values and tonality await. Cheers!

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