I’ll be honest. Unless you’ve spent time in the military, and specifically in the combat arms side of it, you won’t get the movie. In fact, you’ll likely think that it’s horrible. The jokes will fall flat and the random violence will seem gratuitous. The actors will be complete no-names.
To the outsider, “Range 15” might be just a joke.
To the combat arms veteran of the Global War on Terror, the entire movie is an inside joke.
Every scene, every line, every second of beautiful violence is something that we have all thought of as we watched “28 Days Later,” or “Night of the Living Dead,” or “The Walking Dead.” The sheer joy of the possibility of a zombie apocalypse is a commonality amongst the knuckle draggers of America’s infantrymen.
That’s what is beautiful about the movie: It skips everything unnecessary in a typical zombie movie.
The writers know that none of us really care about what created the zombie virus. They know that we couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the cure, or the realism of an anti-biotic/anti-virus.
That’s why the movie starts out with a single zombie, which is quickly and brutally dispatched. The crew stand around the corpse and say, “Cool! A zombie apocalypse!”
And that’s it.
They skip the obligatory plot exposition, because it is completely unnecessary when each viewer has already been chomping at the bit for a real apocalypse.
Then there are the actors.
Most civilians will not know Mat Best, Nick Palmisciano, Vincent Vargas, Jarod Taylor, or any of the other actors. Even the heroism of the Medal of Honor recipiencts in the movie will likely (and shamefully) go unknown, though the penalty for not knowing Leroy Petry is played out well in the movie. The civilian audience won’t laugh at Mary Dague’s armless attempts to pick up her keys for five minutes straight, or the apparent death of Marcus Luttrell. To our crowd, they’re everything we love about the military, distilled into a few people, and plastered all over ever form of social media we have. They’re the guys who have given a voice to our people, and who have successfully negotiated that trickiest of all military missions; the transition to civilian life.
They’re our idols.
The plot is shallow, because it requires little depth. The apocalypse seems to be simply a vehicle for the true star of this movie, the veteran’s dark, twisted sense of humor.
The jokes and violence are offensive, and that’s the point. It mocks the weakness of the PC culture with the gallows humor of the men and women required to go into harm’s way for a job.
In summary, “Range 15” is exactly what I thought, and wanted it to be. I laughed hysterically, and I did so with a fellow veteran next to me. That is, I think, the whole point of the movie.
Magically, through a miracle of product placement, my clothing changed to a “Ranger Up” shirt
I was too happy to be one person, so my manly joy grew into a clone of me who, by the way, wore a “Ranger Up” shirt as well
The greatness of the movie transformed us into “Tactical Tater,” and “Dash Two” with Black Rifle Coffee and Leadslingers Whiskey in our hands
We laughed loudly and hysterically, as the neighbors hide in their basements and called the police in alarm (it might have been the flash-bangs we threw out our windows)
Things got a little weird, but
In the end, a good time was had by all.