“Last Castle ” director Rod Lurie’s harrowing tale of combat in Afghanistan “The Outpost” (***1/2 OUT OF ****) gives us a glimpse of a baptism by fire comparable to Brian Trenchard-Smith’s “The Siege at Firebase Gloria” (1989) and Ridley Scott’s “Black Hawk Down” (2001).

Based on a true incident, this heroic epic draws ostensibly on two published sources: CNN reporter Jake Tapper’s “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor” (2012) and Sergeant Clinton Romesha’s memoir “Red Platoon: A True Story Of American Valor” (2016). Hyperbole aside, this adrenalin-laced, testosterone-fueled, high-octane depiction of fewer than 60 gallant American soldiers repulsing an onslaught of 300 Taliban insurgents is genuinely inspiring.

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Mind you, considering the disadvantages our guys faced, it is all the more gratifying because these fearless Americans triumphed over a relentless enemy that tried to annihilate them! Simultaneously, the sacrifices to life and limb here will evoke patriotic tears.

During the slow-burn first hour of this two hour plus account, “Finest Hours” scenarists Paul Tamasy & Scott Johnson and Lurie acquaint us with far too many Americans to remember and then plunge us into a helter-skelter reenactment of the Battle of Kamdesh. Historically, this combat occurred in 2009, when Taliban troops launched a devastating attack on Combat Outpost Keating.

According to director Rod Lurie, Millennium Media duplicated all of the violence in Bulgaria on a shoe-string budget rather than venture into rugged Afghanistan where all the blood was spilled. Nevertheless, the producers have commemorated the exploits of living and dead alike without resorting to maudlin sentiment. The end credits reveal this battle was singular because it boasted two living Medal of Honor recipients. Miraculously, only eight U.S. Army servicemen died. Sadly, some 22 personnel received wounds during this make-or-break attack.

Initially, “The Outpost” presents strategy, facts, and opinions to keep in mind. “In 2006, the U.S. Army established a series of outposts in Northern Afghanistan to promote counterinsurgency. The intent was to connect with the locals and to stop the flow of weapons and Taliban fighters from Pakistan. One of these was PRT Kamdesh. It was built in a remote valley completely surrounded by the Hindu-Kush Mountains. One analyst said it may as well be called ‘Camp Custer.’

His reasoning was simple and official. Everyone at the Outpost was going to die.” Basically, Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ‘counterinsurgency’ as “organized military activity designed to combat insurgency.” Meanwhile, ‘insurgency’ means “a condition of revolt against a government that is less than an organized revolution and that is not recognized as belligerency.” This preface prepares audiences for a largely factual film designed to keep them on the edge of their seat.

“The Outpost” unfolds in a series of chapters. Each chapter is named after the commander-in-charge at the time. The film opens with an American chopper landing under cover of darkness at Camp Kamdesh with replacements. Grim-faced Staff-Sergeant Clinton Romesha (Scott Eastwood of “Fury”) rides strapped into the front seat of the whirlybird as it descends.

Blessed with his father’s chiseled, matinee idol looks, Eastwood portrays one of the two Medal of Honor winners. The younger Eastwood acquits himself competently as one of the few soldiers to survive combat without any serious wounds. After casing the suicidal camp he must defend, Romesha crawls into his bunk for some well-deserved sack time. He frowns at a phrase scrawled on the slants of the bed above him: “It doesn’t get any better.”

The prevailing opinion among the occupants of Combat Outpost Keating was they felt like fish in a barrel waiting for the Taliban to shoot them. Without fail every day, these G.I.s are told the Taliban plans to storm their camp. After a while, our guys treat these ominous warnings with the same skepticism until the unbelievable happens and the Taliban attacks.

Life for the commanders of Camp Kamdesh is no picnic. The first CO is CPT Ben Keating (Orlando Bloom of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy”), and he maintains friendly relations with the native Afghans, like a calvary commander in the Old West would have with reservation Indians. He dies trying to drive an oversized truck along a narrow switchback road on the side of a steep mountain.

CPT Robert Yllescas (Milo Gibson of “Hacksaw Ridge”) replaces Keating, but he doesn’t last long either. Explosive would best describe his demise. Other officers follow, and one is replaced, leaving First Lieutenant Andrew Bundermann (Taylor John Smith of “Martyrs”) in charge.

Ironically, when everything goes sideways, Bundermann finds himself in his skivvies orchestrating resistance against the trigger-happy, towel-headed aggressors. One of the least valiant soldiers, SPC Ty Carter (Caleb Landry Jones of “American Made”), has trouble differentiating ammo calibers for the camp machine-gunners. Later, Carter redeems himself in more ways than one when the Taliban invade Camp Kamdesh for the grand finale.

“Ghosts of War” lenser Lorenzo Senatore distinguishes himself when he hurls us into the thick of the fracas. Some of the aerial drone photography, especially during a bridge crossing over a serene river in the middle of nowhere, is utterly sensational. At times, you’ll feel like you’re caught in a hailstorm of lead and explosives that never seem to abate. Veterans as well as first-person, videogame, combat shooters will treat this experience as either exhilarating or petrifying.

The sacrifices these Americans made against overwhelming odds is enough to prompt you to cower behind your furniture as you watch what looks like a massacre! Interestingly enough, the cast consists of either the sons of superstar actors/musicians or their grandchildren. Scott Eastwood, Milo Gibson,

Mick’s son James Jagger as well as Will Attenborough, the grandson of Oscar winning director Richard Attenborough, and Alan Alda’s grandson Scott Alda Coffey, make up the tour-de-force cast. Orlando Bloom appears briefly as the first captain, and several veterans of Combat Outpost Keating actually reprised their real-life roles in this unforgettable opus. Anybody who enjoys war movies about charismatic American soldiers kicking ass will want to watch this combat classic more than once.

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