Michael Pena

Review: Hemsworth leads a solid wartime film in '12 Strong'

In the days and months following the Sept. 11 attacks, a small U.S. Special Forces unit led an offensive against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. They worked in harsh conditions alongside a local warlord and his men, an uneasy alliance at best, and, even with all the technology and money of the U.S. military, executed the successful mission largely on horseback.

The operation — Task Force Dagger — was classified for years and explored later in Doug Stanton's 2009 book "Horse Soldiers: The Extraordinary Story of a Band of U.S. Soldiers who Rode to Victory in Afghanistan." It provides the basis for "12 Strong," a long-in-the-works adaptation from...