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


Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo Too Good, January 18, 2012
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This review is from: Bravo Two Zero (DVD)
Bravo Two Zero gets two bravos (at least) from me and zero complaints. Sean Bean has never been better. The rest of the cast is just as fine.
The story is controversial. The tale told here is as related by the SAS soldier known by the nom de guerre McNab. Therein the Iraqi officer who captures him suggests that before being captured the SAS team had killed hundreds of Iraqi soldiers. But others have said that there was no mention of any shooting at all by McNab when he debriefed immediately upon being released from captivity. So it is questionable whether this was a highly effective combat mission or not.
The same story is told from the viewpoint of a different member of the same SAS team in The One That Got Away. In this version "McNab" is responsible for the failure of the mission by bad planning; he did not check that they were issued with the proper radio frequencies. Also they should have taken motor transport with them instead of having to carry 200 pound... Read more
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie about what the SAS do best - Succeed desite failure and hardships, September 14, 2013
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This review is from: Bravo Two Zero (DVD)
This is the movie for the die-hard SAS fans. Based on a true story and on the patrol's leader Any McNabb is the motion picture version of the events of the activities of the SAS to go back to their origins to conduct the behind the lines activities during the first Gulf War. As one of the members put it "...this is what's its about going in with what you got and doing the job mate!"

Living up to the units motto of "Who Dares Wins" brings this close to home where the patrol overwhelms a superior force several times larger than their own strength and to over come all odds to do what you have to do to survive and make it out alive in a war zone.

This is a must see movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four star stacked, Action Packed, April 9, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Bravo Two Zero (DVD)
Sean Bean is great as both the lead and main character. This movie is a must for any fan that is looking for a Sean Bean collection. The movie follows the book very closely, which makes for a very great entertainment. A must watch for the escape and evasion of Britain's finest military professionals alone. Gripping, exciting filled with real life type of situation. The actors display a grace under fire type of attitude even during capture that is for the military personnel to exemplify. Following the failure of just about everything, from poor intelligence to lack of communication this movie shows exactly how rough it was to serve in the military during the 1980's. An Grade A example of why the military spends so much money on equipment today. Which makes it a must for any historian or military "buff". The locations are very well scouted and whole military attitude is very accurate. Very well written both in book and movie. If only it could have a bigger budget to expand on some areas... Read more
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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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