I am somewhat infamous for my negative reviews of movies about special operations forces. I’m not one of those guys who watches these films expecting some high degree of hyper-technical accuracy. Fictional films are just that. However, I find a lot of these films to be silly, as they claim to recreate something with authenticity, but instead fall flat on their face. Then there is the poor acting, horrible script, lame CGI blood effects, and the rest of my laundry list.
After hearing some veteran friends raving about this new Netflix movie called “Spectral,” I decided to check it out for myself and was pleasantly surprised. The film is a science-fiction action-adventure flick about Delta Force and a DARPA scientist in a near-future setting that envisions yet another U.S.-led counter-insurgency mission in Moldova. The geopolitical forecast of a resurgent Russia in Eastern Europe leading to an insurgency is probably the least fictional aspect of the film.
Using a new type of heads-up display invented by DARPA, a lone Delta operator, upon getting separated from his team and while looking through his HUD goggles, sees some kind of phantasm just before it kills him. With several recordings discovered of the spectral forms, the U.S. military calls in the DARPA scientist who invented the HUD system to figure out what they are saying.
The scientist, played by James Badge Dale, meets up with Delta’s CIA liaison, who tells him that she thinks the ghost-like forms are some new enemy wearing active camouflage, like the invisibility camouflage we’ve reported on in the past. What then unfolds is an interesting story about the scientist acting as a detective in a war zone, and Delta Force turning into a type of sci-fi ghostbusters.
And of course the commander of the Delta element is none other than Max Martini, well known for playing special operations soldiers on TV and in movies. Sure, the movie is not 100 percent technically accurate, nor need it be as a fantastical and fun fictional movie, but whoever the producers are really put some thought into this movie. The weapons and gear have a lot of detail, and the tactics and techniques are present in the film. Some of the nuances about special operations missions were in there to the point that I figure these guys either hired a spot-on technical advisor, or they have been reading SOFREP articles.
I highly recommend you go take a look at “Spectral” and humbly suggest that others in Hollywood look to this one for some tips on how to do it right.