Director Ridley Scott and writer Ken Nolan (adapting the book by Mark Bowden) recount the U.S. military action in Mogadishu in 1993, when an abortive raid turned into a desperate rescue mission with 19 American fatalities. It’s almost nonstop combat, but it’s also one of Scott’s most accomplished pieces of direction. Aided by fine editing (Pietro Scalia) and cinematography (Slavomir Idziak), he keeps the progress of the battle clear, the pacing relentless, the action harrowing. With all that, Scott even manages to delineate fairly vivid characters between bursts of gunfire (the script, though well constructed in its action, is pretty cardboard when it comes to the men themselves). The stalwart cast includes Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore, William Fichtner, Jeremy Piven and Sam Shepard.