Kandahar (2023) Movie: Good Thriller Set In Iran & Afghanistan

Home » Movie Review » Kandahar (2023) Movie: Good Thriller Set In Iran & Afghanistan

The Kandahar movie from Hollywood explores the current geo-political stories set in Iran and Afghanistan. It focuses on Iran’s nuclear crisis and the Taliban’s Afghanistan in Asia.

Off-late it seems that tales of Iran (and Afghanistan) are a new flavour in the Hollywood and Western movie world. As a result, the current geopolitical issues tend to find their way into the storyline of this film. Not so long ago, we reviewed Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant movie set in Taliban’s Afghanistan in our Magazine.

Now, Kandahar – another Hollywood movie set in a similar backdrop (Afghanistan and also Iran) comes in. So let us find out about it. It is worth mentioning that most of the shootings in this film took place in Saudi Arabia. And this seems ironic. This movie explores some of the contemporary geo-political issues (including democracy) in these countries along with those of the United States of America.

Synopsis [official] of the Kandahar (2023) Movie

An undercover CIA operative Tom Harris (Gerard Butler) gets stuck in hostile territory in Afghanistan after his mission is exposed. Accompanied by his translator Mohammad “Mo” Doud (Navid Negahban), he must fight enemy combatants as he tries to reach an extraction point in Kandahar. As both Tom and Mo head towards Kandahar trying to escape, they are pursued by the best mercenaries in the world and elite special forces of the enemy.

Spoilers Free Review of the Kandahar (2023) Movie

So, what is this movie about?

In the earlier paragraphs, we mentioned the two major themes in this film. The first one is the ongoing nuclear issues in Iran. And the second one is the withdrawal of American (NATO) troops and the rise of Taliban forces in Afghanistan. It seems that the hasty and unplanned retreat of American troops from Afghanistan has become a major geo-political issue. That political decision by the USA has drawn the attention of the script-writers as well as the big Hollywood movie studios towards this geographical region.

We liked some of the dialogue in this movie.

No wonder, we come across the dialogues like these in this film.

Tom Harris (Gerard Butler plays a CIA agent): Is there anyone around here who drives a brand new SUV? You know we're supposed to blend in, right?

Mohammad 'Mo' Doud (Navid Negahban plays a translator): We will. Americans left dozens of these at the Embassy. Even the drug dealers have these... .Welcome to New Afghanistan.

Mohammad 'Mo' Doud (Navid Negahban): Same as the old.

That conversation is between CIA agent Tom and his Afghani translator Mo, who laments the sudden and reckless withdrawal of Americans from Afghanistan.

This led the Taliban to take control of a New Afghanistan, which is no different than the Old.

Rasoul (Hakeem Jomah plays a Taliban Fighter): We need more ammunition for the M45s and rockets.

Kahil Nasir (Ali Fazal plays a Pakistani ISI agent): How the fuck can you be running out of ammunition, the Americans left you with it.

Then the following dialogue between a Taliban Fighter and a Pakistani ISI agent once again highlights the abrupt and unplanned departure of American forces from Afghanistan.

And in this case, the American troops even left their ammunition and weapons behind in Afghanistan, which fell into the wrong hands. They left in a hurry.

It is not a typical Gerald Butler action-packed film

One more thing that we would like to point out about this film. Unlike the Plane movie starring Gerald Butler, it is not an out-an-out action-packed typical movie.

In this film, we get to see two separate layers of stories. When the second story moves to Afghanistan territory, only then do we get to see the actions of Gerald Butler in this movie.

One of the surprise elements and highlights in this film is actor Ali Fazal, who plays an ISI agent. Besides, he also participates in action scenes. Like Gerald, he does a good job too.

In the end, the big question is whether Tom and Mo manage to evade the mercenaries and escape from Afghanistan.

How do people in India remember Kandahar?

Although many people in India remember Kandahar for the hijacking of the Indian Airlines Flight IC 814 incident in December 1999. That hostage crisis lasted for a week. And ended with the release of terrorists by the Government of India. That was not a good memory for Indians, but it taught them an important lesson.

The conclusion

Well, we do not wish to disclose its ending and spoil it for you all. However, still, you are interested then go right ahead and read the details shared below in the spoilers.

We would say that it is a good time to watch a thriller movie. And it is worth at least a one-time watch. As a bonus, it has Ali Fazal, a talented Indian actor, who has entertained us with his wide variety of roles in movies as well as series. So, you all can go ahead and check it out on the OTT platform.

Ratings of the Kandahar (2023) Movie

FM’s rating3.35/5
Rotten Tomatoes ratings as of the date47% Tomatometer & 82% Audience Score
Critics’ Consensus / Rotten TomatoesGerard Butler remains a sturdy screen presence, but even for hardcore action fans, this film is hardly worth watching.
Audience Says / Rotten TomatoesIf you’re looking for lots of action, a story that keeps you guessing, and more of Gerard Butler doing what he does best, this film delivers.
FM & Rotten Tomatoes ratings – Kandahar (2023) Movie

Spoilers Alert – the fate of the main characters – Tom, Mo & Kahil

Its main characters and their fate in this movie

Tom & Mo

Both Tom and Mo got timely assistance from their (CIA) teams and superiors. As the hellfire drones stopped and killed the mercenaries. And it helped Tom and Mo to get on a plane. So, both managed to escape from Afghanistan.


Kahil was a smart and resourceful Pakistani ISI agent, who came very close to capturing both Tom and Mo, but for the untimely intervention by the drones. Kahil was shot in the neck and it is more than likely that he died at the end.

Poster of the Kandahar (2023) Movie

Kandahar (2023) Movie Poster

Key Details of the Kandahar (2023) Movie

GenreAction, Mystery, Thriller
Original languageEnglish (USA)
Age-restrictionsA (18+)
Duration1 hour 59 minutes
WriterMitchell LaFortune
DirectorRic Roman Waugh
CastGerard Butler (Tom Harris), Navid Negahban (Mohammad ‘Mo’ Doud), Ali Fazal (Kahil Nasir), Travis Fimmel (Roman Chalmers), etc.
TaglinesThe only thing more dangerous than the mission is the escape.
About – Kandahar (2023) Movie

Trailer of the Kandahar (2023) Movie

Official trailer – Kandahar (2023) Movie | YouTube.

Featured & Other Images: Kandahar (2023) movie | Pic. Credit: Open Road Films.

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