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‘The Ambush’ On Lionsgate Play Movie Review: A Technically Brilliant War Rescue Film Which Lacks Pathos

 Lionsgate Play has come up with an Emirati action-war film called ‘The Ambush’ which was previously called ‘Al Kameen’. It’s based on a real-life rescue operation during the Yemen war. Is it worth a watch? Read the full movie review to find out.


Pierre Morel


Marwan Abdullah, Khalifa Al Jassem, Mohammed Ahmed, Abdulla Saeed Bin Haider, Saeed Alharsh, Hassan Yousuf Alblooshi, Khalifa Albahri, Ghanim Nasser, Mansoor Alfeeli

What’s The Story

It is the winter of 2018, and the men and women of the UAE military are deployed to provide aid. At the Mocha Base, spirits are high as three Emirati soldiers anticipate an imminent return home. While on their final routine patrol, the three soldiers, Ali, Bilal and Hindasi are ambushed by heavily armed militants on their route, through a narrow canyon. Trapped, wounded, and out of communication range, the three soldiers realize the gravity of their situation. They are running out of options, munitions – and time. Back at the base, their commander receives word and realizes that the assault on the UAE army patrol was premeditated. A rescue mission is quickly put into action. But will air and land support reach the men in time, and will they survive? Will the three be able to make it back alive from this? Well, you’ll have to watch ‘The Ambush’ to find out.

Watch Trailer

What’s Good

Brilliant Cinematography

Airscope Drones has come up with some superb drone shots for the film. The cinematography is brilliant. The explosive bits are filmed so perfectly that you actually feel that you’re sitting right inside those army combat vehicles. There are close-ups, long shots and drone shots all working in tandem to bring forth a cinematic experience that is hard to forget.

The direction by Pierre Morel is outstanding. It’s hard to compare war films against each other as most of them are based on real-life incidents. Morel manages to make ‘The Ambush’ stand out by not showing too much gore and blood spillage, which is a common trope in almost every war film. He has used the dichotomy of the real-life incident and matched it to perfection with some superb shot selections and scene placements.

Harry Gregson-Williams’ background score is another highlight of the film. In a war film there isn’t too much work of the music because the sounds of the machine guns shelling, helicopter whirring, bombs blasting and the soldiers screaming is already too much noise. However, in ‘The Ambush’ the background music plays a key role in setting up the space for the viewer. Not just in the high action sequences but even in the quieter scenes, the subtle sound effects and BGM help transport the audience to the canyon where the scene is actually being shot.

The editing of ‘The Ambush’ is another key highlight. Not only are the transitions swift and high-paced, but it also manages to keep you hooked on to the edge of your seats to know as to what is going to happen in the very next instant. It’s crisp and to the point without beating around the bush too much.

What’s Bad

No Pathos-Laden Story

Brandon Birtell and Kurtis Birtell’s writing has described the intricacies of a real-life rescue operation very well, but that’s about it. There is not too much in the storyline. It’s just action from the word go, and if you’re looking for some story amidst a war film (e.g. ‘Black Hawk Down’, ‘Zero Dark Thirty') then you will be in for a disappointment. There are no mind games or intricate plannings going into the rescue operation, which you’re going to see and get wowed by. It’s all happening with sheer brute force, and with heavy artillery.

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