Kajaki Dam 2006. A company of young British soldiers encounter an unexpected, terrifying enemy. A dried-out river bed, and under every step the possibility of an anti-personnel mine. A mine that could cost you your leg - or your life.
Hyena Road is centered around the Canadian Forces deployed in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. The Forces are encountering resistance from insurgents as they construct "Hyena Road" deep into Taliban territory. Warrant Officer Ryan Sanders, the leader of a rifle squad, finds himself under heavy fire while on sentry duty on the road. After their assigned evacuation vehicles are unable to reach their location, the squad moves on foot and reaches a Pashtun village. There are harbored by a tribal elder in his home, who also sends the Taliban away after they attack the village with rockets while searching for the Canadians. Sanders and his squad evacuate the area and return to base, where his secret lover Captain Jennifer Bowman, a communications officer, is also stationed. Meanwhile, Captain Pete Mitchell, an intelligence officer, carries out normal duties as the road is constructed, with little help from the Canadian's Afghani allies. When he hears Sanders' story of the Afghani elder, he ... Written by
"Hyena Road" actually exists and was known as "route Hyena". Several of the background stories the characters tell actually did happen during the construction of the route (e.g. an engineer did lose his leg below the knee as told by 39A near the beginning of the movie). See more »
Although it's plausible, it's highly unlikely at the ending ramp ceremony that 39A and G9W (Gross) would have issued berets with the leather band. Their characters would likely have bought their own berets at this point in their career. See more »
Name me one thing I've ever been wrong about!
...thinks for a moment... My sister?
...pause... Yeah, that was bad...
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The film's title doesn't appear on screen until the closing credits. See more »
PLAY THAT FUNKY MUSIC
Performed by Leif Garrett
Written by Rob Parissi (as Robert W. Parissi)
Courtesy of Sweet City Records Inc., o/b/o itself, and, as administrator of RWP Music
Master Recording Courtesy of Cleopatra Records Inc. See more »
Excellent movie about Canada's involvement in Afghanistan
Paul Gross took a few risks in making this movie about Canada's military campaign in Afghanistan's Kandahar province--"the birthplace of the Taliban" and pretty much a hornet's nest for the tiny Canadian NATO force that tried to secure the region for five long years.
The movie is thoughtful and subtle, rather than offering beginning-to-end war movie entertainment, and it focuses on people and some of the impossible personal and professional choices they're forced to make in complex and unforgiving situations--on both sides of the cultural divide between occupier and occupied.
In this the movie isn't afraid to show that some of the all-too-human choices turn out to be the wrong ones, or that the protagonists can declare personal guiding principles and then contradict them in their professional response to circumstances.
For the most part, the movie avoids setting up two-dimensional characters in a good guys-bad guys scenario; however, it failed in this respect regarding the Taliban, who were reduced to nonentities worthy only of being killed wholesale--much like the Somalis in Blackhawk Down.
As in Blackhawk Down, and a slew of similar tales about recent Western military action against foreign countries, Hyena Road treats the local resistance to foreign occupation as almost an affront to the well-meaning efforts of "our" noble warriors. But presumably it wasn't made for Afghan audiences.
To fully appreciate the movie, it helps if you know something about Afghanistan's past forty years of foreign military occupation and civil war, and also if you know something about Canada's military--where the personal and the professional are never far apart. I believe this quality is one of the things that makes the Canadian Forces so good in the field: they're not trained to be machines; they're trained to be fully human warriors--which I felt the movie illustrated very well in the relationships between the Canadian protagonists and the veteran Afghan fighter, with admirable understatement by Mr. Gross.
Hyena Road is less entertainment than it is an education about aspects of personal warriorship and about Western nations' activities in foreign realms most of us know nothing about, but about which many of us hold strong opinions nevertheless (oh yes, and the action scenes are pretty riveting and authentic-looking!). I think Paul Gross succeeded very well in what he set out to do with Hyena Road.
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