How Far Would You Go to Save a Battle Buddy? A New War Movie Asks the Question

Dar Salim Jake Gyllenhaal The Covenant
Dar Salim and Jake Gyllenhaal in "The Covenant." (MGM)

What does a fighting man owe to a battle buddy who saves his life? In "Guy Ritchie's The Covenant," Jake Gyllenhaal plays an Army sergeant who returns to Afghanistan to save the life of the interpreter who saved him.

Gyllenhaal hasn't made a war movie since he played a Marine in "Jarhead" in 2005. He plays Sgt. John Kinley, who's teamed up with interpreter Ahmed (Dar Salim, "Game of Thrones") during a tour of duty in Afghanistan. After they're ambushed, Ahmed takes out the Taliban attackers and spends days carrying Kinley to safety.

MGM has released a trailer for "Guy Ritchie's The Covenant," which will be released in theaters on April 21, 2023.

Director Guy Ritchie had a lousy 2022, since his action comedy "Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre" was shelved after Russia invaded Ukraine because the film's villains were Ukrainian gangsters. There's still no word on a possible release for the movie, which stars Jason Statham, Hugh Grant, Cary Elwes, Josh Hartnett and Aubrey Plaza.

Ritchie, best known for his British gangster movies and the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr., is sticking with the military themes. He's currently making a World War II movie starring Henry Cavill based on "Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare," Giles Milton's book about Winston Churchill's top-secret espionage unit.

Related: The Secret History of Britain's WWII Guerrilla Warfare

Back to "Guy Ritchie's The Covenant," which likely got its unwieldy title because there are several dozen horror movies with titles that are some variation of "The Covenant" but none with the name of acclaimed director Guy Ritchie attached.

Once Kinley returns to the states, he can't stop thinking about the risks and sacrifices that Ahmed has made for him. He decides to go on a solo mission to help his friend get out of Afghanistan.

Did any actual Army sergeants go on commando missions to extract their interpreters from Afghanistan? If they did, the mission was so stealth that we've never heard about it. Consider this movie a reflection about what we owe the Afghan citizens who risked their lives to assist in the war effort, but amped up with some combat action.

MGM is now owned by Amazon, so "Guy Ritchie's The Covenant" will eventually end up streaming on Prime Video. It's a good sign that the company thinks the movie is worth the marketing investment to put it in theaters rather than sending it straight to streaming. We'll have more information as the April release date gets closer.

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