Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Typically Steven Spielberg likes to mix serious issue-driven movies in between action blockbusters. So between "War of the Worlds" and the much-maligned fourth "Indiana Jones" movie we have "Munich" which is about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Long before 9/11, when most Americans really started paying attention to terrorism, a group of Palestinian terrorists took 11 Israeli men hostage at the Olympic Village during the 1972 games in Munich, Germany. Ultimately the 11 Israelis are killed while three of the Palestinians are released to flee safely to Libya.

In the wake of the attack, the Israeli government decides to hunt down and kill 11 Palestinian terrorist operatives. Put in charge of the team is young Avner (Eric Bana) who has never led a team in the field before and whose wife is 7 months pregnant. He's sent to Europe with the rest of a team that will attempt to hunt down and kill the 11 Palestinians being targeted.

They start in Rome by killing a poet who also has ties (supposedly) with the Palestinian group responsible for Munich. The Israeli team tracks down and kills six more with the help of a French information trader named Louie and his father. But Avner and his team are soon in over their heads and become targets themselves. In addition, the Palestinians respond to the killings with more acts of violence in what is an endless destructive cycle.

The movie makes the case that ultimately Avner's mission is pointless. The terrorists he kills are soon replaced, often by people who are even worse. At the same time, the Palestinians kill more Israelis, who then kill more Palestinians. In effect responding to terror with terror or violence with violence is self-defeating. All that really happens is that some of Avner's team is killed and he is nearly driven mad from the paranoia of not knowing who's gunning for him.

For a "thriller" this wasn't very thrilling. It was mostly boring. At times it was even laughable how bad Avner and his team are, especially their bomb maker. (There's an explanation for this that probably should have been obvious.) The irony is that they have Daniel Craig, aka James Bond, on their team and yet they are as far removed from Bond or Jason Bourne or Jack Bauer as you can be. Anyway, at over 2 1/2 hours the movie tends to drag. The characters and their moral quandaries didn't really interest me a whole lot.

What really failed for me were bits of the Munich incident shown as Avner's dreams or flashbacks. This makes little sense as Avner was nowhere near Munich, so he couldn't possibly have seen what's going on. Especially the last bit where he's having sex with his wife and seeing the execution of the hostages was downright creepy.

Anyway, this is too long and dull to recommend, which is a shame because the overall point of it is a good one.

That is all.

My score: 50/100 (2 stars)

Metacritic score: 74/100 (3 stars)

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