With Hollywood strikes ending and film and TV production resuming, this year is setting up to be a big one for cinema.
Last year may have unveiled a handful of military-centric films, such as “Guy Ritchie’s: The Covenant” and “Kandahar,” but there are even more action-packed thrillers around the corner in 2024.
Films that troops should have on their radar this year — even just as a means of escaping the barracks for a few hours — span fantasy to history and feature phenomenal casts, writers, directors, and, of course, special effects.
Here’s a look at nine movies to get excited about in the months ahead.
Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
The post-apocalyptic Australian Wasteland is back with a prequel chronicling the origin story of young Imperator Furiosa. The story traces back to her childhood and follows her journey before meeting Max Rockatansky. Anya Taylor-Joy (”The Menu”) takes on the role of the gritty Furiosa, with Chris Hemsworth co-starring. “Furiosa” is set for a May 24 release.
The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim
Nearly 200 years before the Fellowship set out to defeat Sauron and destroy the one ring, there was “The War of the Rohirrim.” This animated adaptation is expected to fill in some story gaps between Amazon’s “Rings of Power” series and Peter Jackson’s beloved trilogy — particularly the fall of the kings of Rohan and the origins of Helm’s Deep. The film stars Brian Cox (”Succession”) as the voice of King Helm Hammerhand and is slated for a December debut.
The Old Guard 2
A sequel to 2020′s “The Old Guard,” this film is expected to pick up right after the first film’s shocking end that left fans clamoring for more. The first movie centered on a group of mercenaries whose secret powers of immortality are exposed. The betrayal is explained, but the ending was left open for a follow-up, which began filming in 2022. Original cast members Charlize Theron, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and KiKi Layne reprise their roles.
An all-too-relevant topic, considering today’s political discourse, civil war has broken out in the United States in this film by Alex Garland (”Ex Machina”). A team of journalists covers the fracturing factions across America amid tense scenes of militarized conflict. Jesse Plemons (”Killers of the Flower Moon”), Kirsten Dunst (”Fargo”), and Nick Offerman (”The Last of Us”) star, with the film expected to arrive in theaters on April 26.
The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare
This Guy Ritchie-directed World War II movie tells the origin story of British special forces, stood up at the direction of Winston Churchill. The film, starring Henry Cavill (“Man of Steel”) and Eiza González (“Baby Driver”), is based on the Special Operations Executive, or SOE, which was sanctioned to use “ungentlemanly” tactics to fight the Nazis. The exact release date is still up in the air.
Escape from Germany
Arriving in theaters on April 11, “Escape from Germany” tells the true story of 85 American missionaries from the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who narrowly escaped Nazi captors as World War II begins. The film is based on first-hand accounts from diaries belonging to the missionaries.
Land of Bad
Due out Feb. 16, this action thriller directed by William Eubank (“House of the Rising Sun”) boasts a big cast, including Russell Crowe, Milo Ventimiglia, and Liam and Luke Hemsworth. The plot centers on a JTAC mission in the Philippines involving a CIA asset extraction gone wrong. The trailer features tense firefights and some serious hand-to-hand combat, to boot. Even the MQ-9 Reaper plays a pivotal role.
Six Triple Eight
Directed by Tyler Perry and starring Kerry Washington (”Scandal”), “Six Triple Eight” chronicles the impact of the U.S. Army’s 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the only all-female, predominantly Black unit deployed during World War II. The women face racial discrimination, but ultimately prove to be a force for diversification of the U.S. military.
Based on a graphic novel, “Undying Love” centers on a former soldier named John Sargent and his love for a woman who happens to be a vampire held captive by her creator. It’s Sargent’s mission to kill her captor and set her free. Though details are scant and the cast hasn’t been announced, David Leitch (”John Wick” and ”Hobbs & Shaw”) is set to direct. To that, we say “Bring on the gun-fu.”
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.