Kandahar 2023 Movie Review
From battling out-of-control weather satellites in Geostorm, being the President’s most trusted Secret Service agent during three(!) terrorist attacks in the Has Fallen trilogy, leading the Spartan army into battle in 300, and most recently crashing a plane in Plane, Gerard Butler has become one of the busiest action stars in the business. The Scottish-born actor will be returning to the big screen this summer with his latest action flick Kandahar.
Kandahar is said to be derived from the film’s writer Mitchell LaFortune’s personal experiences as a military intelligence officer deployed to Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Snowden leaks. The film aims to provide a distinctive viewpoint on the uproar surrounding Edward Snowden’s intelligence dumps in 2013. Making headlines as one of the first big-budget Hollywood productions entirely filmed in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ula and Jeddah. Kandahar is essentially an action-thriller following the story of a CIA operative. Read everything about the film’s release, plot, cast, filming, and more.
Within a few seconds of the trailer, Gerard Butler is seen asking about “the job,” which is effectively dismantling a nuclear program, revealing to viewers the plot of the movie. While the characters prepare for and carry out the attack, a few desolate landscapes fill the screen. The scene is immediately followed by the explosion of the nuclear reactor being celebrated by the intelligence team. The trailer then starts building up anticipation as news breaks and exposes Butler’s character as the man behind the attack. He then gears up to flee to an old CIA base in Kandahar along with his Afghan translator. 400 miles and 30 hours, will our heroes win this race for survival?
Tom Harris, an undercover CIA operative, is stuck deep in hostile territory in Afghanistan. When an intelligence leak exposes his identity and mission, he must fight his way out, alongside his Afghan translator, to an extraction point in Kandahar, all whilst avoiding the elite special forces unit tasked with hunting them down.
Kandahar’s plot is developed from the spec script by former military intelligence officer Mitchell LaFortune. The film takes place during the Snowden leaks of 2013 and offers a unique perspective of the events. Tom Harris, an undercover CIA operative carrying out a dangerous mission in Afghanistan, takes the central stage in the movie, along with an Afghan translator. The film tells the story of how the two manage to elude the elite special forces squad entrusted with tracking them and make it to an extraction location 400 miles away in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The majority of Kandahar’s filming in Saudi Arabia began on December 2, 2021. This made the movie the first high-profile American production to film in Jeddah and Al-Ula, two cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Hejaz region and an ancient Arabic oasis city. Al-Ula is situated in the Medina province in northwest Saudi Arabia. The film employs the desolate terrain of Al-Ula to create scenes that are reminiscent of Afghanistan.
The first developments in the film’s casting took place in June 2020, when it was announced that Gerard Butler would produce and star in the film. The veteran actor will be seen in the lead role as Tom Harris. Butler has established himself as a polished actor, especially in the action genre with his roles in films like 300, Copshop, Den of Thieves, Geostorm, Plane, and the Has Fallen film series. Kandahar is also Butler’s re-teaming with Angel Has Fallen and Greenland director Ric Roman Waugh.
Alongside Butler stars the Iranian-American actor Navid Negahban as an Afghan translator who accompanies Harris on his mission. He will be seen throughout the film alongside Butler as the two will attempt to escape the Afghan special forces together. Negahban’s character might turn out to be a plot-bending one as Harris will be in charge of helping Negahban go home safely, and he might make some sacrifices for his safety. Navid Negahban has appeared in various series like 24, Homeland, Mistresses, and Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin.
Kandahar will also feature Ali Fazal, an Indian actor who made an impression on Hollywood with roles in films including Victoria & Abdul and Death on the Nile. Not much is known about his character yet, but he is speculated to play an assassin for the Afghan special forces. Fazal also made a special appearance in Furious 7 as Safar.
Other cast members include Olivia-Mai Barrett (Penny on M.A.R.S.) as Ida Harris, Bahador Foladi (Tehran) as Farzad Asadi, as well as Nina Toussaint-White (Bodyguard) and Travis Fimmel (Vikings) in undisclosed roles.