Superhero movies are all the rage, so it was only a matter of time until we saw one where Superman teams up with Batman. But this one is definitely what you would expect from that partnership. In 5 Days of War, former Superman Dean Cain plays an adviser to the President of the Eurasian nation of Georgia, while former nippled Batman Val Kilmer was cast as a war correspondent. Of course, they’re not any more out of place than the rest of the cast, in which Finnish director Renny Harlin chose a couple of British men (Rupert Friend and Richard Coyle) to play American reporters, the French-Canadian Emmanuell Chiriqui to play a Georgian citizen, and Cuban Andy Garcia to play the Georgian President.
Georgia is a small country about half the size of New York State located along the southwest border of Russia. Both Georgia and Russia were once members of the Soviet Union, and the Russians have decided that some of the Georgian land rightfully belongs to them. As the rest of the world is preparing for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the Russians are planning to invade northern Georgia. A reporter known only as Dutchman (Kilmer) starts up a video chat from his bubble bath to tell his American friends Thomas and Sebastian (Friend and Coyle) about the situation and that virtually no media is there to cover the situation.
Thomas and Sebastian arrive just in time for the action to start. They find themselves in a tavern in the town of Gori, drinking at the bar while a wedding breaks out behind them. Sebastian starts filming the wedding, only to have it interrupted by the roar of Russian jets flying overhead. They run outside just in time to see those jets turn around and line up for a bombing run that appears to target just that tavern. It’s a very odd choice for a strategic target, as are the random collection of villagers that the soldiers round up and execute for no apparent reason. But while the Russians apparently have no qualms about randomly killing unarmed civilians without provocation, they don’t seem to like being filmed doing it. The reporters now find themselves prime targets while they try to get their footage out so the rest of the world can see it, but not only do they face death by the invading army, they also encounter frustration when no news outlets seem interested in taking the story.
I suppose it’s fitting that this story about footage no one wants to see be told in a movie that isn’t worth watching. Although the war between the Georgians and Russians really did happen, the events portrayed in this film appear to be largely fictional. That makes it all the more baffling that they chose a story which doesn’t have any real impact on the outcome of that war and in which the main characters don’t achieve anything of any real significance. There are several times that events portrayed stretch believability past the breaking point, and the fact that everyone speaks English for the majority of the film doesn’t do much for its authenticity. The unrealistic CGI explosions are just icing on the cake at that point.
Ultimately, 5 Days of War tells an uninteresting and non-credible story depicting insignificant fictional events during a little-known real war. Harlin managed to make a movie that lived down to the expectations set by his crazy casting decisions.