Pulsating Oscar-winning war drama based on a true incident. In 1993 a small, elite group of American troops, part of a UN peacekeeping force, entered Somalia's capital Mogadishu to capture the lieutenants of a local warlord. The operation was supposed to take 30 minutes; in fact it took many hours of desperate street-fighting, cost the lives of 18 Americans and more than 1,000 Somalis, and ended in failure. As a Jerry Bruckheimer production, the action is loud and relentless. But as a Ridley Scott film, its utterly compelling and brilliantly realised. It won Oscars for best editing and best sound.
An antidote to American triumphalism over Afghanistan? No, not at all, because Scott's war story is cunningly designed as a tribute to the bravery, loyalty and fighting qualities of the US army.
In a sense, the battle is presented as the 20th century equivalent of the Alamo - a defeat but a glorious one, designed to stir the patriotic fervour of every red-blooded American.
War, it says, is bloody and brutal, but aren't our boys wonderful?
There are stars involved here - the likes of Ewan McGregor, Josh Hartnett and Tom Sizemore - but this is a movie in which action, not acting, dominates.
It is, in fact, Ridley Scott's film and he brings to bear on it all the visual flair that is his trademark, along with a masterly handling of the battle scenes.
It may be simply a piece of 'God bless America' propaganda but it is extremely well done.