‘Kandahar’ is an action thriller film directed by Ric Roman Waugh that follows a CIA Operative on the run on hostile foreign soil. The film stars Gerard Butler alongside Navid Neghaban, Farhad Bagheri, Nina Toussaint-White, and others. During a mission in Afghanistan, Tom Harris, CIA’s undercover freelancer, faces insurmountable danger after his identity and location get leaked. Targeted and chased by hordes of Iranian and Pakistani operatives, Tom tries to escape to safe heaven with his trusted Afghani translator Mohammad ‘Mo’ Doud.
Ripe with exciting action and a thrilling plotline, ‘Kandahar’ makes for an enjoyable watch without tethering itself to its intense spy action flick roots. If you’re looking for movies with themes and characters reminiscent of ‘Kandahar,’ here is a list of recommendations you might like. You can find most of these movies similar to ‘Kandahar’ on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.
7. War Machine (2017)
David Michôd’s ‘War Machine‘ is a Netflix comedy–drama film starring Brad Pitt in the central role. The film centers around the war in Afghanistan and follows a U.S. army General, Glen McMahon, to deals with the less-than-ideal situation of a years-long unending war. Intent to “win” a war largely considered unwinnable by his peers, McMahon embarks on a journey to the impossible. Like ‘Kandahar,’ ‘War Machine’ also presents a thought-provoking perspective on war and strives to highlight its malignant nuances. Although starkly different from the action-driven ‘Kandahar,’ the themes of this movie may resonate with fans of the former.
6. Turtles Can Fly (2004)
‘Turtles Can Fly’ is a Kurdish war drama film directed by Bahman Ghobadi. Set in a refugee camp during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, the film follows a young boy Satellite, who assembles a group of kids to clear up undetonated American minefields, selling them in the black market in turn. Soon Agrin arrives at the camp with her brothers Hengov and Riga, traumatized by the inhuman raid of her home. Satellite, besotted by Agrin, looks for ways for his community to watch their fate unfold as the war progresses. If you found ‘Kandahar’s’ depiction of the horrors of war as felt by refugees moving, then you will enjoy this film’s in-depth exploration of the same.
5. Triple Frontier (2019)
J.C. Chandor’s ‘Triple Frontier‘ is an action thriller film with a stacked cast consisting of Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam, and Pedro Pascal in the central roles alongside others. The film revolves around former Special Forces operatives Tom, Santiago, William, Ben, and Francisco. After years of fighting for their country, the group finds itself backed in a financially challenging corner. As a result, Santiago “Pope” Garcia pitches a heist mission in South America, home to an infamous drug lord. However, once the mission starts to go south, it unpacks a bag of complications.
Like ‘Kandahar,’ ‘Triple Frontier’ is also a film about survival in a dangerous situation full of twists, betrayal, and unannounced obstacles. Furthermore, both movies feature interpersonal relationships between the characters that significantly inform the films’ foundation.
4. American Sniper (2014)
Following one of America’s finest snipers, Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL, ‘American Sniper’ is a story about the horrors of war and its lasting after-effects. Having saved thousands of lives during his four tours of duty, Chris Kyle becomes an unsung American hero and makes plenty of enemies. However, once the war ends and Chris returns to his family, he realizes the war has changed something intrinsic inside him and tries to deal with his trauma.
Clint Eastwood’s Bradley Cooper starrer ‘American Sniper’ is an action drama film. Like ‘Kandahar,’ this biographical film also features an authentic depiction of war’s consequences. Therefore if you’re a fan of the genre and are looking for an action war film with heart, you should definitely check out ‘American Sniper.’
3. Extraction (2020)
Directed by Sam Hargrave, ‘Extraction‘ is an action thriller film that stars Chris Hemsworth in the lead role as an expert mercenary, Tyler Rake. An incarcerated crime leader’s son, Ovi Mahajan, gets caught in the underworld’s crossfires and kidnapped by his father’s enemies. As such, Tyler Rake, equipped with exceptional skills and an apparent death wish, enters the scene as a hired hand to rescue Ovi from a heavily fortified city.
Rake’s story parallels Harris’s from ‘Kandahar’ by centering around the protection of another person. Additionally, both films feature a foreign setting, utilizing it to expand upon their plot. Similarly, both movies also use heavy-handed action to keep the audience engaged and entertained. If you’re a fan of action films, ‘Extraction’ will definitely be right up your alley!
2. The Covenant (2023)
Guy Ritchie’s ‘The Covenant,’ starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Dar Salim, is an action thriller film about the unlikely bond between two men during the war in Afghanistan. After US Sargent John Kinley’s fatal altercation with the enemy, an Afghan interpreter, Ahmed, carries Kinley through long, taxing mountains and saves his life. Later, Kinley discovers the man to whom he owes his life is in peril after Ahmed and his family get stuck in Afghanistan, hunted by the Taliban. Intent to repay the kindness Ahmed showed him, Kinley puts his life on the line and returns to rescue Ahmed.
Released in the same year, ‘The Covenant‘ and ‘Kandahar’ bear a striking resemblance in terms of their base premise. Both films revolve around the interpersonal relationship between a non-native operative and his interpreter on the run. Likewise, going up against an overwhelming enemy acts as the central conflict in both films’ narratives. Still, ‘Covenant’ is significantly distinct from ‘Kandahar’ while delivering a similar action-filled punch with an emotional center to the story.
1. The Contractor (2022)
‘The Contractor,‘ directed by Tarik Saleh, is a thriller drama film with a similar operative on the run premise as ‘Kandahar.’ Starring Chris Pine in the titular role, ‘The Contractor’ revolves around James, a former U.S. Special Forces operative. After getting blindsided by an honorable discharge from the army, James finds himself in a tricky situation after he picks an assignment from an unreliable undercover military organization.
After making a hard decision, James ends up chased and hunted, caught in the middle of a giant conspiracy. You will find James, a fellow gun for fire, to be reminiscent of Tom Harris with his impressive skills and a strong sense of morals. Although both movies feature their own unique premises, if you enjoyed the fugitive-esque chase presented in ‘Kandahar,’ you will find a similar thrilling storyline in ‘The Contractor.’
Read More: Is Kandahar Based on a True Story?