|This article, 48 Rounds (Film), was written by Spartan 501. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
48 Rounds was a psychological thriller/action movie set during the Insurrection. It focused on the wartime exploits of the former ODST Special Forces Operator John Martins during his service and his attempts to escape his past. The film was written by journalist Scott Herron and directed by Havier Martinez, and starred Jack Connor as John Martins and Keith Hermello as co-star Samuel Luth.
The film was shot in a variety of locations, notably including active battlegrounds in the Eridanus II and Epsilon Eridanus systems. This benefited the filming process by adding a sense of realistic tension and an intimate perspective of the problems faced by the soldiers in the field.
48 Rounds was previewed theatrically in late April 2519 at the Annual Sol Film Festival. Public release occurred on May 14, 2519, and shattered opening day records for multi-system film releases by almost 30 million cR, taking in 90 million during its open week. Fiscal success continued until its run ended on December 7, 2519. 48 Rounds success continued for years, bolstered by strong personal video file sales.
48 Rounds also received widespread critical acclaim, gathering almost universally popular reviews. At the 89th Interstellar Film Awards Ceremony, it was nominated for nine awards, six of which it won. In addition, the film also won six Golden Academy awards for best film, director, score, editing, cinematography and sound.
48 Rounds begins with a quotation from Plato. The movie then abruptly introduces the main character, John Martins, fleeing from a mob of Insurrectionists on the border world of Dormus Minor. The mob eventually surrounds and captures him, and he is brought back to the former town police headquarters to be interrogated. The story then abruptly jumps back six years to 2513 (though the date is not immediately revealed to the audience). For some time, the film moves in a linear fashion during the six month basic training of John.
John is assigned to a platoon in the 21st marine division. He and the other recruits suffer together under Staff Sergeant George Foley, and John's character is paired with fellow trainee Samuel Luth. The pair quickly become fast friend and the best team in the platoon. After passing the final exams, they are transferred to the 9th Marine Expeditionary Force in the 1st battalion, as part of Operation: TREBUCHET in the Eridanus system. Both take part in the Raid on Elysium city under Lieutenant Colonel Ponder. The plan goes awry when the Insurrectionist leader detonates a grenade and a skirmish breaks out. John and Sam's unit comes under heavy fire from an apartment complex, and without armor support, are forced to assault the building. They move room by room and finally reach the last possible hiding place for the Insurrectionists. John's team breaches the room and floods inside. The Innies are caught by surprise and John places one in his sights and pulls the trigger. Right as the gun fires, it flashes forward again.
In it, the much older John is brought to the police jail and questioned as to why he, a former UNSC soldier, has been drifting from town to town. They accuse him of being a spy coordinating a UNSC invasion. When he does not answer, they bring begin to torture him. As they're about to start shock treatment, however, he attacks and wounds his guards, steals back his combat knife and boots, and escapes, fighting his way out of the station and stealing a motorbike. Several insurrectionists chase him in a flatbed warthog, but he manages to lose them by driving into the forest as night falls. Unable to find him, the Insurrectionists return to the town as John watches them leave.
Following this, the movie flashes back again. John and Samuel are now both combat hardened veterans and newly minted Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. It is 2516, and the war has shifted to the Epsilon Eridanus system. The two of them are participating in a raid on an insurrectionist bomb shop in the Reach badlands. As they approach it, they take fire from the shop and one of the Hornet's is badly damaged. It crashes and their team is forced to land and recover them. Insurrectionists use the Hornet as a lure however, and they take several casualties as they engage in heavy combat. More insurrectionists arrive and their team calls for support. Falling back, Samuel is shot through and through by a rebel sniper, who pins down the team. With rebels closing on them en masse, John acts as a rabbit and draws fire, while another team member eliminates it.
As gunship’s arrive and drive away the rebels, John holds Sam as he bleeds out. Medics attempt to resuscitate him, but to no avail. John returns to base, and the movie shows as he is placed on a patrol in an attempt to give him some brief rest. However, a string of Insurrectionist bomb attacks ravage Casbah, his city of station, and results in mounting civilian and UNSC deaths. Feeling compelled to avenge Sam and do his part to stop the violence, he is unsure of what to do. He is finally given a purpose when he is approached by a member of the Officer of Naval Intelligence and recruited into a top secret joint taskforce, The force is charged with hunting down top Insurrectionist leaders, and recruits from elements of both the Navy, Army, and Marines. A week after the taskforce is assembled, they get a positive ID on a major rebel leader. As they leave for the mission, it switches back to the future.
John then contemplates what he should do to defend himself from the Insurrectionists. He has several short flashbacks, revealing that the mission did not go as planned. He reveals that they ended up chasing the rebel leader for almost two years using heavy handed tactics in a desperate attempt to keep on his tail. He recalls performing numerous atrocities and being pushed to the edge of sanity by combat stress and guilt. He is finally snapped out of his memories by the sight of an approaching Insurrectionist mob.
As the mob approaches, he realizes that even though he does not want to kill anymore, he has to. Moving through the woods, he ambushes the rebels with his combat knife and a captured pistol. The insurrectionists are caught by surprise and are unable to react quickly enough and he massacres most of them. As the remaining rebels attempt to flee, he cuts them off and kills all but one. This final Innie is wounded and pleads for mercy with him. The final flashback of the movie occurs and shows him and his team finally tracking down the rebel leader they'd been looking for. They corner him in an abandoned apartment complex, much like John's first mission, and capture him. The team then argues whether or not to kill him or return to be tried for his crimes.
They eventually agree that he should be executed (obstinately because it'd be dangerous to transport him) and John kills him with an execution shot from his sub machine gun. They leave, and John wonders what kind of person war has turned him into him. A month later, his deployment ends, and he decides not to reenlist. Instead, he buys the first off world ticket he can find and is sent to Dormus Minor. He begins wandering, searching for answers in the wilderness of the sparsely populated planet.
The movie skips ahead for the last time, with John still holding the rebel at gunpoint. He fights with himself over whether or not to finish her off. In a final act exemplifying how he can still change, he drops his gun and walks away as the credits roll.
Cast and Crew
- Jack Connor as Sergeant John Martins, a troubled former soldier who tries to escape war, to no avail.
- Keith Hermello as Samuel Luth, a marine who serves with John and becomes good friends with him.
- Patricia Young as an Insurrectionist leader as an Insurrectionist leader John pursues after an ambush coordinated by her kills Sam
- Frederick Grant as Staff Sergeant George Foley, the basic training instructor of John and Sam
- Kelly Limb as the ONI Agent who recruits John for her special joint task force to give him a chance at revenge.
- Mellissa Donnoly as an Insurrectionist leader who tortures John and leads an expedition to capture him.
- Donald Martin worked as the sound and music composer of the film, who received several awards for the critically acclaimed score.
- Chester Toronto worked as the script writer who was praised for his inventive and realistic dialogue.
- Scott Herron worked as the story writer for 48 Rounds who was criticized for a staggered narrative but praised for his accurate characters.
- Havier Martinez worked as the director of the film who received several awards for his bold and unconventional style.
- Jordan Eastwood worked as the Producer for 48 Rounds, who personally oversaw the film and made a cameo as John Martin's CO
- Adrian Roberts (a former EOD technician) worked as a consultant on military tactics, discipline, and scene choreography.
Production and Release
48 Rounds was written by Scott Herron, a freelance writer who served with the UNSC marines for two deployment before returning as a journalist to document the war effort. Embedded in a squad of Naval Special Warfare operators, he had the idea to portray a fictional retelling of real events. To this end, he contacted Director Havier Martinez, a well known war movie director who he had met several months earlier at a film screening. Herron and Martinez cooperated and formed the basic premise for the a movie, which they then pitched to Jordan Eastwood of Eastwood Film Studios. Eastwood, a persistent supporter of the military with two sons and a daughter in the service, personally pushed the idea through the board of directors and supported it during the writing process. Herron then spent 4 weeks creating a screen play for the movie, at the time tentatively titled "War is Hell". Herron hoped to combine his experience as a writer and a soldier into a realistic portrayal of the challenges faced by soldiers fighting the Insurrection. Martinez said of the goal; "The idea behind the film was to create a film about the Insurrection that really gets into the mind of the soldiers...our boys out in Epsi and Eridanus go through serious shit protecting us, and its to often we forget what they do."
The screen play was finished in April of 2516, after 4 weeks of constant writing by Herron. After it's completion, Eastwood Film Studios hired Chester Toronto to adapt it into a script usable by the actors, with Herron advising him on character interaction and military details. Because Herron's original screenplay was focused around portraying the chaotic and often senseless nature of a soldier's life, it's plot and narrative were somewhat fragmented, making the script writing process difficult for Toronto, who used a much more structured style. This personality clash led to other disagreements as well, making their partnership somewhat strained, despite mutual respect. Despite difficulties in the script writing process, it the finalized document was finished in mid may. The script was run by Jordan Eastwood and Havier Martinez, and received confirmation from both of them.
The film stars Jack Connor as John Martins and Keith Hermello as co-star Samuel Luth. Casting began in May of 2516, with aims of procuring a cast of well known actors as well as several newcomers. Jack Connor, a major actor at the time, was recruited by was recruited by Martinez for the leading role, while the unknown Keith Hermello was selected for the secondary role. Additional secondary roles include Kelly Limb as ONI Agent Stevenson, Frederick Grant as Sergeant George Foley, Patricia Young as an Insurrectionist leader pursued by John, and Mellissa Donnoly as an Insurrectionist lieutenant. To add a feeling of authenticity to the film, Martinez decided to cast local members of the populace for extras, many of whom had personal experiences with the Insurrection. Small groups of UNSC marines were also cast for tertiary roles, with the permission of the UNSCDF and HIGHCOMM. Prominent individuals conscripted as extras included the parents of John-117, the eventual Master Chief, and a young Staff Sergeant by the name of Avery J. Johnson. Additional tertiary roles included Wallace A. Jenkins, Jordan Eastwood, Scott Herron, and Gage Yevgenny.
Instrumental members of the film making crew included producer Jordan Eastwood, Director Havier Martinez, sound and music designer Donald Martin, film editors Heinrich Klaus and Lahaina Hopkins, costume designer Lila Gennet, and choreographer Adrian Roberts. Special effects were designed by video editor Lahaina Hopkins, while on set props, explosions, and special effects were overseen by a team led by the choreographer Adrian Roberts (a former EOD technician and military engineer).
48 Rounds was characterized by heavy action and intense pressure, an atmosphere that permeated every aspect of the film, including shooting. "Alot of the time, we were smack in the middle of a war zone, which naturally influenced how we approached filming the movie." Martinez said in an interview "There’s big tension throughout the movie. Its focused on a very volatile subject, and it's filmed in a very volatile area. We really tried our best to capture that on film."
Filming commenced on June of 2526 on Reach in the Epsilon Eridanus system. Because the movie was filmed on multiple planets spread across several star systems, filming was a varied and somewhat haphazard affair, a common difficulty for many interstellar film projects. Scenes were shot on Reach, Tribute, Earth, Harvest, and Eridanus II, in the Epsilon Eridanus, Sol, Epsilon Indi, and Eridanus star systems, respectively. Much of the flash-forward segments were filmed in a UNSC wildlife reserve on Reach, while limited parts of the training segments were shot on Earth and on the far flung colony world of Harvest. Segments taking place in Elysium City, Casbah City, and the Reach badlands were all shot on location. The scenes shot in Elysium city specifically were the actual site of the raid conducted by Lieutenant Colonel Ponder in 2513. Insurrectionist threats in Casbah and Elysium accounted for 95% of the dangerous incidents that occurred during the filming.
Security was a sharp concern in the filming process in contested areas. Producer Jordan Eastwood spoke about security concerns while filming in Casbah, "It was interesting seeing people's reactions when you told them we were shooting a movie not just on Tribute, but on Casbah. Every night on the news there'd be images of recent Insurrectionists bombings, video of real skirmishes between UNSCDF troops and rebels. Most people thought we were crazy shooting there." The filming crew employed thousands of actual local citizens as extras, and many of the secondary marine roles were played by active duty troops, with special permission from the UNSCDF.
“You just cant fake that kind of atmosphere on a closed set.” commented Director Martinez “When your on set and all of the extras are locals who’ve been living with the terror of the Insurrection for years, it really impacts how you approach your movie. One day, while we were waiting for some of the crew to arrive from Eridanus, we had some downtime in Casbah, and I had a chance to talk with some of the extras, and it was a really critical experience. When you start hearing those kinds of stories, from a perspective that’s 100 percent true and unbiased, it really gives you a great viewpoint as an artist of where your story is and where you want to go with it, what kind of narrative you want to tell.”
Because Martinez used multiple perspectives in his filming, it was not uncommon for the film team to record from several angles simultaneously, resulting in over 200 hours of extra footage. The board of directors at Eastwood Studios initially strongly pushed for filming locations centered mainly in Sol and Circumstance, with simulated backgrounds and heavy editing. Martinez, however, pushed for the realistic backgrounds for greater authenticity, and was supported by Eastwood. This push for authenticity was one of the defining aspects of the filming of the movie.
Because of it‘s unusual, dangerous filming locales, the film shoot had few of the luxuries typical to the normal sets. No one on set received special trailers or private restrooms, and conditions were often rugged for both the crew and actors. Great care was taken to ensure authenticity, and both Jack Connor and Keith Hermello spent six weeks at marine boot camp to prepare them for their roles. Treated like any other fresh recruit, John Connor would remark that “the [boot camp] was a really helpful and interesting experience. Being there, learning how a marine lives, the challenges they face, it really helped me get inside the head of a soldier. Whenever I wondered about how to approach a scene during filming, I’d think back to training, and just like that, I’d have a pretty good answer immediately.”
In addition to the rigors endured by the cast, the crew also went to great lengths to ensure the film was as authentic as possible. Set pieces and props were created from exact computer models of real UNSC equipment, crafted to the exact size and specifications of the actual gear used by troops in the field. In addition to these elaborate creations, the UNSC Marine actually provided several surplus and retired Warthog, Scorpion, and Hornet units. In Samuel Luth’s death scene, actual pilots from the 19th Close Support Squadron actually participated in shooting, portraying the rescuing force of gunships that save Sergeant John Martin’s unit from destruction.
To properly capture the chaos of a battlefield while still retaining a classic feel, filmmakers used techniques such as shaky camera and multiple perspective capture to mirror the viewpoint of the human eye. In his movie, Martinez sought to immerse his audience into the mind of soldiers in the field by presenting them with "the raw chaos, fear, and danger of a battlefield". Because of a tight budget, Martinez took the place of a traditional cinematographer, filling in both the role of director and cinematographer simultaneously. While this was the subject of some debate, many critics commented that it gave the film a very unique style, a far cry from the heavily edited, industrial scale productions of the day. Martinez, a fan of traditional filming styles, decided to use traditional shaky camera styles and multiple camera angles to simulate human vision and create a greater sense of immersion. Drawing inspiration from 20th, 21st, and 22nd century films, Martinez used well known styles pioneered by traditional movies such as the 20th century Saving Private Ryan and the 21st century The Hurt Locker, further refined in productions such as Osborne, No More God, and The Last Day in the late 2100s and 2200s. This filming style was an evolution of his earlier styles, and the growth of his style was widely praised by critics.
48 Rounds had it’s world premier at the 132nd Annual Sol Film Festival on April 29, 2519, and received a standing ovation at the conclusion of its screening. At the festival, the movie was nominated for multiple awards for music, acting, and cinematography, though it failed to win any story based awards. The movie also screened at the Elysium Film Festival on May 2, where it was also a subject of much interest, alongside the Andrew Hammerson action-thriller “Bullet Time” and the Maria Esquidora romantic comedy “Kate Go Away”. Following the success of these two festivals, Eastwood Studios entered it into a number of additional screenings, to promote the film for it’s upcoming May 14 release date.
These screenings included the 2nd Annual Utgard Film Festival, the 22nd Annual Madrigal Film Festival, the 89th Annual Circumstance Select Festival, the 180th Annual Luna Film Screenings, the Seattle Interstellar Film Festival, where secondary actor Keith Hermello received the best supporting actor award, and the 63rd Annual Cygnus Film Festival. 48 Rounds received a centerpiece screening at the 63rd Annual Reach Film Festival, receiving two awards and three commendations, and the Philadelphia Combined Interstellar Film Festival. Other releases included the Arcadia Annual Film Festival, the Sigma Octanus Film Festival, the Ciudad del Sol Film Festival, and the Mars Annual Film Choice Award Festival.
Public release of 48 Rounds occurred on May 14, 2519, after two weeks of intense campaigning and marketing. The official opening was supposed to occur at the International Manhattan Theatre in New York, America, but a small theatre in Kent, Washington, US accidentally opened it’s doors to early and became the technical first opening. 48 Rounds releases to almost immediate commercial and critical success, and was screened at theatres ranging from outer colonies such as Harvest, Madrigal, and Constance to Earth itself. Screenings passed into the thousands within hours, and millions by the end of the first week. The film was one of the widest screened movies on the Insurrection to be shown during its time period.
48 Rounds was released on HDHDVHD and personal HDVDFD Files on December 2, 2519, an unusually long period after initial release that was prompted by a strong performance in the box office up through the middle of December. The HDHDVHD disc included an added audio commentary featuring director Havier Martinez, writer Scott Herron, leading actor John Connor, supporting actor Keith Hermello, and other members of the production crew. Also included was an image gallery of photos from shooting, an interactive historical segment, and a 15-minute EPK featurette highlighting the filming experience in contested territory and the film's production. Commentary and extra features were optional on personal HDVDFD files.
Despite some misgivings on the narrative, 48 Rounds received near universal critical acclaim. The Entertainment Today Network reported that 98% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on a sample of 182 Sol based critics and 252 colony critics, with an average score of 8.9 out of 10, making it the highest rated film of the year. At the MegaCritic Network, the film scored an average of 96 out of 100 from 33 respected reviewers throughout Earth and the Inner Colonies. Entertainment Today Network reported that the general consensus of critics to be “that the film is superbly choreographed, complimented with brilliant acting, intense action scenes and an extraordinarily accurate depiction of the Insurrection, easily and handily making up for a somewhat less appealing storyline.”
Yosef Kompartili, writer for the Eridanus II Chronicle, rated the film as one of the best in 20 years and by far the best in the decade. He wrote “48 Rounds is intelligent, clear, and masterful in it’s approach to the Insurrection and the fighting there. It’s depth comes not from the plot, but from the superbly acted and characterized characters, who not only resonate but are frighteningly believable, even when they are put in unbelievable situations.” Kompartili considered Keith Hermello, the actor who played Samuel Luth, to be one of the leading contenders for the Golden Act Awards, if not the leading contender, declaring him to be “a more subtle character, with greater depth than even the leading character, who’s performances relies not on wit or humor but rather his absolute, complete believability.”. Kompartili would eventually rank 48 Rounds the third best movie since 2500 in his summary in 2525, but would be killed soon after in the covenant glassing of Bunker Hill, while on tour. Midago Cambia, writer for the Casbah Times, also spoke highly of the performance, indicating Hermello to be one of her top picks for the year and calling his performance one of the major drawing points of the movie. In her review, Cambia recalled “Hermello portrays his character with the care and skill that is remarkable for such a young actor, and puts many of the seasoned veterans from other movies to shame. Though he starts off a little slow, he seems to catch on pretty quick and before long practically steals the show. His death scene is perhaps the most agonizing peace of drama in the last fifteen years to come out of Hollywood.” In addition to her praise of Hermello, Cambia also commented that “sets a near perfect tone that somehow embodies the whole spirit of war, and uses an almost miraculous soundtrack to underscore the already excellent acting.”
Chandler Reeve of the Mombasa Times called 48 Rounds the best interstellar feature in recent memory, and by far the best based around the Insurrection. “You may come out of the theater, sim room, or projector stunned, exhausted, and exhilarated, but you’ll be thinking and questioning your assumptions on a wide range of topics. It really changes your perspective on a wide range of issues; even if you don’t support the war, you’re likely to come out supporting the troops fighting it a lot more. It questions this whole idea about the Insurrection and really exemplifies both the good and the bad--the problems and, at least in part, maybe some solutions.” Reeve noticed how the film frequently made use of extended action scenes that were described as “action packed, adrenaline soaked, fast moving hectic snapshots of combat” but that it managed to keep them from being the center of the film, but give them meaning beyond empty spectacles as well. In particular, Reeve focused on the special effects techniques utilized in the film (or the lack thereof) and how the more gritty, realistic props and action scenes made them more believable and intense. “Martinez, using a style much for focused on the characters and authenticity than industrial grade lightshows and effects, manages to renew an essential essence of depth that’s been all but eradicated from modern productions. His grasp of deep characterization, pacing, and film styles make 48 Rounds as compelling a movie as you’ve seen in the last 25 years.” Reeve also commended the stellar performances by Jack Connor and secondary actor Kelly Limb, whose partnership late in the movie was described as “a priceless combination of conflicting ideologies and temperaments that are perfectly portrayed with the same feeling of authenticity and realism that are so prominent throughout the rest of the film”. Tomas Ensminger of the Washington Times wrote that the deep acting skills displayed by Jack Connor were likely to lead to him being considered for many more character driven movies, a break from his earlier record of summer action blockbusters. Limb, on the other hand, was praised for playing “a convincingly sinister character that shatters the notion of her as just another ’dumb blonde’ actor to veritable pieces.” Ensminger also praised the soundtrack and general intensity of the moving, saying “It has, by most common standards, a train wreck of a plot, but the sheer raw emotion brought out by the excellent score coupled with the tense nature ensure it is extremely compelling.”
Christopher Elliot of Unhinged Magazine also praised the soundtrack and filming style, writing that “Donald Martin’s soundtrack is filled with both subtle and obvious markers, creating sharp tensions that define how the film is viewed by the audience. Elliot also had some of the few positive things to say about the plot: “The narrative itself is a fragmented, disjointed mess, but this actually works to the advantage of the film; the randomness and often unexplained story elements and problems connect the audience with the problems faced by the characters on screen, creating an immersive atmosphere that could not be accomplished with a conventional begin, middle and ending story.” He continued that the movie, far from creating a fictional, filler story, worked hard to link the movie to factual current events of the war and diverge from the standard viewpoint. He noted “48 Rounds is a bold and sometimes rash movie, riding closely between the line of realistic storytelling and political insensitivity. The absolute gall Martinez has in his approach to portraying the Insurrection and the soldier who fight in it is sure to electrify and polarize public opinion.” Jordan Keega of The Fifth Column described 48 Round as a “war movie that doesn’t keep a lot close to the chest” and a “totally immersive, adrenaline soaked thrill ride that present’s it’s opinion and sure as hell doesn’t back down.” Keega crucially described the movie as “a film with a definitive, clearly presented, and consistent message.”
Hamad Alai Berkley of News Nightly called 48 Rounds “a war movie that doesn’t pull punches and that thrills from the opening scene until the credits roll. It’s a brilliant evocation of the life of a modern UNSC marine and a showcase for exemplary acting, well structured pacing, and award-worthy music. Elysium Star critic Demetrius Jones said “it’s a movie that cries out, demands to be seen, a story that draws you in with it’s sheer intensity and keeps you there with a combination of brilliant acting, near perfect music, and pulse pounding action sequences.” The Golden Academy Weekly Magazine gave 48 Rounds a rare ‘A+’ rating, christening it “an intense, character driven, action augmented war film that shatters conventional filming styles that simultaneously conveys the feelings of a soldier on the frontlines from within as well as without. Forget about Andrew Hammerson-style action movies. This is the real deal.”
Patricia Summerson of STARS Magazine described 48 Rounds as “enthralling” and “riveting” but complained that the movie was weakened by a poorly structured story and a fuzzy narrative that failed to deliver a decisive ending. While Summerson praised the film for it’s intensity, immersion, and skilled acting, she felt that it could not rank among top films because of its narrative issues. Another writer for STARS, Gilroy Thomas, presented an opposite opinion similar to that of Unhinged Magazine’s Christopher Elliot, saying that “the story is purposefully fragmented to better convey the disjointed, random nature of a marine’s life, and is undoubtedly effective at immersing the audience.”
Konrad Terrence of the Eridanus Report, an independent and decidedly anti-UNSC publication, openly declared 48 Rounds to be CAA propaganda. “despite employing a quote from Plato in it’s opening segment, 48 Rounds is hardly a movie about peace.” said Terrence “it displays acts of brutality on both sides, but the insurrectionists are clearly implicated and their argument is never once brought up or considered.” Terrence considered the movie to be a recruiting vehicle for the military, calling to mind the extensive cooperation between Eastwood Film Studios and the UNSCDF. “Take a look around. In one scene, they’ve got gunships piloted by military pilots. In another, they’ve got marines acting as extras. The military has it’ hands so deep in 48 Rounds that they might as well be writing the script themselves.”
As was expected, 48 Rounds performed extremely well fiscally during both its initial run, it’s release of individual video files and discs, and it’s re-release in 2523. 48 Rounds was released on May 14, 2519, and shattered opening day records for Interstellar Film Productions, which typically had performed poorly in the box office during their first few weeks. Gathering 350 million cR in its first month and 90 million in its first week, it shattered existing record by 100 million and 30 million, respectively. Sales continued at a near feverish pitch, though the film did experience several dry spells (though these were typically accompanied afterwards by periods of increased interest). 48 Rounds gathered 592 million by the end of its fourth month, and continued at a steady rate. Sales spiked during December, when the release of personal video files and discs coincided with the simultaneous presence of 48 Rounds at the Box office. These factors pushed December of 2519 to be one of the most profitable in the history of Interstellar and 26th and 25th century films, earning 982 million over the course of 29 days. Sales of personal video files continued to go strong, pulling in an estimated average 12 million per month until the re-release in 2523. During the re-release, 48 Rounds again performed superbly, taking in an estimated 300 million. Personal video files again spiked, before reaching a low simmering level. Sales would continue to experience rapid upward and downward shifts for the next half century. By 2552, the estimated revenue of film sales for 48 Rounds were projected at upwards of 3.1 Billion cR, with accompanying merchandise estimated at another 1.4 billion.
Reaction Among Veterans
Despite the overwhelmingly positive reaction from civilian critics, feelings were mixed within the veteran community over the film. The movie was criticized by some Insurrection conflict veterans for being unrealistic in its portrayal of battlefield conditions, particularly it’s large scale set pieces during Martin’s time in the regular service and far fetched missions as a special forces operator. Former Orbital Drop Shock Trooper Daniel Milton, a veteran of several campaigns against the Insurrectionists on multiple planets, said in GALAXY News Magazine that “For all of it’s success in portraying the intensity of combat and realistically replicating equipment and weaponry, the exaggerated battle scenes and frankly absurd special forces missions are the cinema’s version of the Insurrection, not the real world’s.” Though he admitted that it was far more accurate than many of the other movies of the time, he reinforced that it still had a long ways to go to becoming a completely accurate war film on par with classics such as “Osborne” and “Triumph.”
Respected military author Wallis Desman also shared a similar viewpoint, stating in STARS Magazine that “though the depiction of the mental stress and fatigue are certainly realistic, and the equipment props unnervingly accurate, 48 Rounds falls short in it’s depiction because of it’s almost ludicrous story elements. To the average viewer back in Sol or some pampered Inner Colony, 48 Rounds is bound to be enjoyed for it’s strengths, but for people who have served or are in the service, the “Hollywood-ization” of the war will likely prove to much to bear. Desman criticized the films representation of combat and military operations, saying “the large scale, 200 plus soldier battles depicted in the film are the inaccurate imagining’s of some bored writer, and don’t even get me started on the “top secret” special operator team the main character joins near the conclusion.”
Reception was not entirely negative, however. Christian Blake of the New London Post, a former EOD technician who served multiple tours in Eridanus, called the movie “the best Innie movie to date” and “a masterful depiction of the stress of combat and the intense nature of a soldier’s life.” Blake went on to report that, “despite a few minor hiccups in the story’s plausibility, 48 Rounds captures the spirit of the military in a way that no movie has been able to do for decades, maybe even centuries.”. Former UNSC Marine Gordon Gimony also praised the accurate depiction of the conditions soldiers operate under: “48 Rounds put’s a big emphasis on staying realistic, and it shows. The accuracy of it’s locales and props are simply amazing. I’ve never seen a civilian movie firm that understands the hardships of life in the service like this one.”
A review published in June of 2519 by the Combined Armed Services Weekly news magazine was considered one of the most accurate gauges of military opinion on 48 Rounds. In a poll published alongside the relatively neutral review, military reviewers found that up to 57% of the active duty force “enjoyed and approve of the depiction of the Insurrection presented by 48 Rounds” while 42% “disapproved and did not enjoy the depiction of the Insurrection presented by 48 Rounds”. Only 1% were undecided. This poll’s accuracy would later be questioned by some military journalist, but an independent commission would eventually determine it was fully accurate.
Reception by Epsilon Eridanus Insurrectionists
Reception by Insurrectionists throughout the colonies was, naturally, highly negative, but the reaction of the Epsilon Eridanus Insurrectionists was notable for it’s fervent and fierce opposition. Three days after the theatrical release of the film, a small group of Insurrectionists publicly declared the movie to be “blatant UNSC propaganda”, and were supported by numerous pro-Insurrectionist and Insurrectionist sympathizing journalists and news agencies. They repeatedly declared the movie to be “a shameless recruiting device designed to skew the issues at stake and promote Imperialism and Mercantilism”, emphasizing on the films limited Insurrectionist perspective and it’s portrayal of them as mass murderers and savages. Though most of the public dismissed these protests because of their wild and exaggerated nature, small groups of citizens, already committed to ending the war, agitated for an end to the distribution of the film and attempted to boycott it several times. Organizational problems prevented these groups from organizing anything more than a few quiet protests, and they, just like the other groups of Insurrectionists, were largely marginalized and ignored by the public.
Censorship in Elysium City
In August of 2519, the Elysium City on Eridanus II pushed a case through its system of public appeals courts to censor 48 Rounds from all theatrical screenings and severely limit the publicity of it in stores. This unexpected court case occurred when members of the Dodge-Williamson Family, some of whom had been unwilling victims in the skirmish between the 9th MEF and Insurrectionist rebels in 2513. They claimed that the film’s extended sequence and “heavy emphasis” on the skirmish was a volatile topic, and that it’s inclusion in the film made it dangerous for it to receive strong publicity. Because tensions were still high about the skirmish, the Elysium System of Courts and Justices eventually decided on limited censorship of the movie, though not without frequent and repeated appeals by Eastwood Film Studios, who were uneager to have bad press focused on their star movie in the middle of awards season.
Awards and Honors
Starting with its initial screenings at the 132nd Annual Sol Film Festival in the Sol System, 48 Rounds received several awards and honors. These included nominations for the Best Score, Best Director, Best Original Concept, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Sound, Best Acting, Best Story, and Best Film, all of which it won except for Best Story. At the 89th Interstellar Film Awards Ceremony, the film was nominated for ten awards and won seven: Best Film, Best Director, Best Score, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Leading Actor, and Best Sound, losing Best Acting to the emotional drama “Compunction.”, Best Story to the Horror Thriller “Crossover”, and Best Supporting Actor to the romantic comedy “Giraffe”. These awards made it both the first Multiple System Film to win best Leading Actor and the most acclaimed Multiple System Film in the history of the awards.
48 Rounds was also nominated for seven awards at the Golden Academy Awards, the highest of any single film in almost a decade. Of these seven, it won an unprecedented six, making it the most acclaimed film in the awards in over 25 years. These included awards for Best Single Volume Film, Best Director, Best Score, Best Editing, Best Cinematography in Film, and Best Sound in Cinema. The film won three COMPO awards at the ceremony held in August of 2519, after being awarded for four, including Best Director for Martinez and Best Supporting Actor for Keith Hermello. The movie swept the awards for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Leading Actor, Best Sound, and Best Score for most critic organizations in the Inner Colonies, doing slightly better in the Sol System. Schindler's Listing, a critic association news agency, reported 48 Rounds to be the most critically acclaimed film of the century, surpassing both “Eureka” and “Constantinople” for the top slot.
- This article contains an almost ridiculous amount of references to movies, popular culture, and even other users on this site
- The author was inspired after seeing the movie “The Hurt Locker” to write this article, and the article itself was heavily inspired by the movies Saving Private Ryan, Rambo: First Blood, and of course, the Hurt Locker itself
- Many of the extras are major characters in the Halo story, or it’s expanded material