The movie trailer for the military drama “12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers,” which hits theaters this Friday, suggests it is a film aiming to tell a story far more unique than most of what Hollywood produces.

Based on the 2009 best-selling book “Horse Soldiers,” the movie is the true story of a team of U.S. Special Forces soldiers and a group of CIA paramilitary officers secretly sent to Afghanistan in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks.

They’re sent to work with Northern Alliance General Abdul Rashid Dostum (played by Navid Negahban from “Homeland” and “American Sniper”) in fighting Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists.

While Americans were trying to understand why someone would terrorize our country by flying planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon — the U.S. military had the dangerous job of laying the groundwork abroad for the fights to come.

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“12 Strong” stars Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) as Green Beret Captain Mitch Nelson, and his band of soldiers include actors Michael Shannon (“Man of Steel”), Michael Peña (“Ant-Man”), and Trevante Rhodes (“Moonlight”).

The outnumbered Green Berets and allied Afghani soldiers ride on horseback into the strategically important city of Mazar-i-Sharif to strike a blow against a group of combatants involved in the 9/11 attacks.

As one of the soldiers puts it in the film’s trailer, “If we don’t take that city, [the] World Trade Center is just the beginning.”

It’s not just a story about victory and 12 Green Berets dropped into a difficult, brutal mountainous terrain; it’s a tale of finding allies in unexpected places while navigating a life-threatening cultural divide and working with incredibly limited resources.

“That absolutely got my attention, the visual uniqueness of this warfare,” Hemsworth told USA Today about the battling on horseback in the story.

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“I like realistic looks and people in real stressful situations, and this is the most stressful, as you can imagine. These guys were dropped in here without protection, no support. There were 12 of them, and a few CIA guys who came in two days before they did. There were $100,000 bounties on their heads, $50,000 on their bloody uniforms,” producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“Armageddon,” “Black Hawk Down”) told CinemaBlend about the project.

He continued, “They had no idea what they were getting into, and it was a secret mission. If something happened, no one would’ve known what would happen to them. And yet by November — they came in October — they had driven the Taliban out of Mazar-i-Sharif. So it’s a pretty historic thing, and fortunately, none of our guys got hurt.”

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For years, Bruckheimer has been helping to portray the stories of soldiers fighting for our country on the battlefield. His films show the gritty life-and-death decisions of a modern-day warrior, but they also depict multi-dimensional people who have heart, families and a moral code that drives their decision-making. His blockbuster hit “Black Hawk Down” was a perfect example. He also produced “Top Gun,” “Pearl Harbor,” and other military-themed pictures.

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These films do a service that Vietnam-era films never did. Many military films from that time were harrowing but toxic on the American psyche in their worldview. They often treated war as merely an unfocused exercise of dread and torment with no purpose or meaning, and they lacked the reverence of military service and emotional intelligence of someone like Bruckheimer.

“It’s one of the few tales out of our current history that shows how America can respond in a positive way, helping people,” Bruckheimer told CinemaBlend of “12 Strong.” “They went in there and got the job done, driving the Taliban out and changing the war.”

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Said Hemsworth of the project, “It wasn’t about America coming in and saying, ‘We’re taking over, and this is how we do it.’ It was a diplomatic approach about working with the locals and spreading the word that we’re fighting a common enemy and that the Taliban and al-Qaida were the ones attempting to take over. I really liked being able to put a spotlight on that and separate this sort of terrorism and ideology with the rest of the country, who do not agree with that. We are under the same fear and threat to their freedom.”

Bruckheimer has had the movie in production for quite some time. He told Sean Hannity back in 2011 about the heart of the story — and what he was looking to capture in the project. “The men who were the first into Afghanistan right after 9/11 and they were there to protect their families — that’s why they went over there, and that’s what it is all about.”

The film “12 Strong” arrives in theaters Friday.

Heather Hunter is a talk-radio show producer based in the Washington, D.C., area. This piece originally appeared in LifeZette last year and has been updated. 

(photo credit, homepage and article images: Warner Bros.)