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Updated: Jun 28, 2023

Gerard Butler is the Charles Bronson of the 2020s. Back in the 70's, Bronson turned out a solid thriller once or twice a year, always delivering an action packed diversion.

Butler fills those shoes nicely in the current era, adding to his resume with another solid, suspenseful thriller, 2023's KANDAHAR.

Beautifully shot entirely in Saudi Arabia by MacGregor (Vivarium), the film opens with MI6 operative Tom Harris (Butler) deep in Iran, planting a device to take out the new nuclear enrichment site buried underneath a city.

The mission is suspenseful and the end result is jaw dropping in scope.

As Harris plans a quiet exit back to London, a Pentagon leak hits the airwaves and Harris is exposed. Soon every faction in Afghanistan is after him to sell him to the highest bidder for execution.

Not relying on a simple pursuit story line for its brisk two hour running time, KANDAHAR fills the corners of the story with a look at the never ending conflict in the country and its modern players.

Navid Negahban delivers heart as Harris' new interpreter, Mo. Having lost his son to the war, he's torn between his loyalty to his country and the mission.

Ali Fazal (Death on the Nile, Victoria & Abdul) is excellent as Nasar, a rogue operative anxious to score big and then head to a modern, western city. Nasar is a lethal advisary.

Nina Toussaint-White (Whitechapel) is great as a British reporter caught between the Pentagon leak and Iranian forces trying to find Harris.

Travis Fimmel (Vikings, Warcraft) is a perfect match for Butler as Roman, Harris' closest ally in the middle East. He's not going to abandon his best operative in the field.

Once Harris and his fellow agents are exposed, it's a battle to get 400 miles to a Kandahar airfield and a potential airlift home.

The road is littered with car chases, attacking helicopters, massive explosions and seemingly impossible odds.

But like Brosnan in the 70's, we're talking Gerard Butler here.

As usual, he kicks ass and propels the story through to an explosive climax.

Too many times, thrillers leave you with a disappointing final act, but KANDAHAR delivers exactly what you're hoping for after that long trek through a whole lot of sand.

KANDAHAR and Butler get a very solid B.

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