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In For a Penny, In For a Pound

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Plot Overview

C-130 pilotKaboom!Having sabotaged an Iranian nuclear enrichment facility, CIA operative Tom Harris (Gerard Butler,) on loan from MI6, being in country is tasked with destroying an airfield just inside the border of Afghanistan so they can't rebuild it. Unfortunately, a female British journalist (Elnaaz Norouzi) under pressure from Islamists blows his cover; they've got his picture now & his alias, but not his real name. His handler (Travis Fimmel) gives him an extraction point of a decom­mis­sioned CIA air­field 400 miles away where a C–130 will pick him up & his fresh inter­preter Mohammed “Mo” (Navid Negahban.) They have to traverse hostile territory to get there, pursued by seasoned agent Nazir and a mixed bag of confederates.



Having been recruited to the agency directly from college, Tom knows no other line of work, nor would he want one. He's like a character in an Upton Sinclair novel:

Berhardt Monck, alias Herzog, alias Branting, was a self-educated man, but he had made a good job of it, and might have earned a comfortable living for him­self and family in the bourgeois world. Instead he had risked death and torture worse than death, first in Germany, then in Spain—and now he was going back to Germany, in spite of the fact that the Gestapo had his photo­graph and finger­prints. What drove him was the sense of justice and love of freedom, the same force which had caused thousands of American boys, British boys, French boys to leave their homes and schools and come to the red hills of Aragon, furnace-hot in summer and swept by icy blasts in winter, there to risk death and mutilation. A large percentage of them were the cream of their country's intellectuals, who might have become successful writers, politicians, scientists, what­ever they had chosen, but they had been infuriated by the sight of greed and lies enthroned, and had chosen to become what the world called fools and would later call martyrs. (9–10)

educational suppliespunching outTom's wife Corrine (Rebecca Calder) is not happy with his absences and wants him home for the graduation of their daughter Ida (Olivia-Mai Barrett) and then to find a teaching position—for which he is qualified and from which he can reliably return home at the end of the day. Either that or sign the papers. Tom did in fact finish that first assignment in time to make it, but then his handler made him an offer too good to refuse for a follow-up, and things went south from there. He's in a pickle, some­what like the psalmist:

Psalm 127 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

This poem pictures a man who is a carpenter by day and moonlights as a night watch­man. He's got his priorities all wrong; or at least they aren't godly. Rather than be a work­a­holic, he should spend time at home with his wife, with his kids, and they'll grow up to leave a mark on the world. Does Tom really need that second assignment? At what cost? Children are a long term influence in the world, like those arrows of a mighty man, like those hell­fire missiles in the movie. Tom's calling can be compared to the ministry as written about in a Hartzell Spence novel:

fishingmusic practice“Someday,” I said, “I might be a father.”

He cleared his throat. “Yes, son?”

“I'd want to get out and play football with my boys, and baseball. I'd want to be to them all the things you've never been to us, things you're too dignified to be. I don't want to live with my problems; I want to leave them in the office and be a dad when I get home. I'd want to under­stand my kids so”—I was about ready to cry now, and, I fancied, so was he—“so thoroughly that when they asked some­thing of me, it would be a discussion, not an issue. I don't want to be so busy worrying about every­body else's life that I have no time for my own. That's the price you pay for being a good minister.” (263–4)

Production Values

” (2023) was directed by Ric Roman Waugh. The script was written by Mitchell LaFortune drawing from his personal experience as a military intelligence officer in Afghanistan. It stars Gerard Butler, Navid Negahban and Ali Fazal. Butler was a good fit for his operative role with a family on the side. The rest backed him up well.

MPAA rated it R for violence and language. It was filmed in Saudi Arabia. It has a runtime of 2 hours.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

This is boilerplate action with a family in the wings. If that's your goal this movie will meet it. Very tense.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action-packed. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Better than watching TV. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Sinclair, Upton. Dragon Harvest. Copyright Upton Sinclair, 1945. New York: Viking Press, 1945. Print.

Spence, Hartzell. Get Thee Behind Me. Copyright, 1942, by Hartzell Spence. New York: Gosset & Dunlap Publishers. Print.