When’s it out?
Who’s in it?
Sean Bean, Danny Dyer, James D’Arcy, William Houston, Sebastian Street.
What’s it about?
Age Of Heroes tells the extraordinary true-life story of the 30 Commando Unit, an elite band of renegade soldiers that was formed by James Bond author Ian Fleming during the second world war; setting a template that is believed to still exist today in the form of the SAS. The film focuses primarily on their very first mission – a search and destroy operation that took place behind enemy lines in Norway – which is said to have played a vital part in altering the course of the war.
What’s it like?
It’s a somewhat derivative but absolutely rollicking men-on-a-mission action adventure that only steals from the best; you’ll be constantly reminded of the likes of Where Eagles Dare, The Dirty Dozen and Kelly’s Heroes.
Star of the show?
Sean Bean is as reliably terrific here as he usually is, and there are times when his character may remind you of his most famous role as Richard Sharpe. The supporting cast are similarly solid, but the film is comprehensively stolen by William Houston, who plays Mac. He’s a hard-nut, Glengarry-wearing Scot who is assigned with battering Bean’s team into shape before their big mission, and it’s difficult not to smile when you realise that he’s going to be going on the mission along with them.
The biggest surprise is that it’s as consistently enjoyable as it is. Despite the fact that it was clearly made on a rather tight budget, the action scenes are never anything less than totally effective, and the director Adrian Vitoria – who cut his teeth on the likes of Brookside and Hollyoaks of all things – manages to keep things moving at a commendably brisk pace. And Danny Dyer – who plays a brave, but also childish and impulsive pain in the neck – is better here than he has been in anything since Human Traffic.
The film’s third act, which takes place almost entirely in the barren areas that surround a small, desolate family farmhouse, is a confident and often gripping finale.
If Age Of Heroes is a success, then at least one sequel is likely to appear before the end of next year… and it’s very hard not to wish it all the best. This is an old-fashioned but extremely entertaining little throwback, and were it not for a few moments of tough violence and the odd bit of bad language, it would be easy to imagine it becoming a Bank Holiday afternoon mainstay on television. It’s an example of simple, efficient storytelling that everyone will be able to enjoy.
Hit or miss?
A hit. And about twenty times better than anyone could possibly have been expecting.
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Watch the trailer for Age of Heroes here: