The preview blurb was annoyingly thin on the ground for Operation 786. An animated film showing armed forces fighting the enemies of Pakistan was all I could find online. It featured fairly basic animation techniques which led me to believe it was a computer game or maybe a training video. I was actually wrong on both counts as the film recounted a harrowing catalogue of terrorism in Pakistan.
The first segment was subtitled Blast in Lahore, a representation of numerous attacks in the city over the years. Innocent men and women talking in the street are gunned down by a sniper before bombs cause more destruction. Streets are depicted in the style of the old Wild West; an all too apt metaphor for growing political anarchy in the region. The second, Train blast in Balochistan portrays a bomb attack by ethnic separatists; while the third, APS School attack Peshawar depicts an attack on the Army Public School in 2014.
A fightback begins with the instigation of Operation 786. A strategy is devised with special units trained and equipped to combat enemies of the state. Bomb making factories are located and smashed; terrorist safe houses are identified and neutralised. The jauntily subtitled Here come the Pakistani Air Force leads into Top Gun style images with explosions aplenty. Generic combat sequences are followed by a stand-off on a fortified border. Tanks daubed in Pakistani flags are destroying opposite numbers with Indian insignia. The symbolism is obvious and alludes to the ongoing conflict in Kashmir. The sequence is totally at odds with the general theme as the film limps to a weak conclusion. The final five minutes are devoted to views of a green and pleasant land that is Pakistan; this presumably is what Operation 786 is fighting for.
Although the film pays tribute to those who fight terrorism, the basic message is lost in some dubious animation. Comic strip explosions and Rambo style characters trivialise the subject matter; propaganda creeps into the narrative without good reason and a novel approach to storytelling is wasted. The characters also stretch credibility to the limit; one soldier muscles bulging from a skinny vest, carries a bazooka on his shoulder taking out bad guys but somehow never needs to re-load? It’s the PlayStation feel that ultimately lets this film down when all that’s really missing is a counter in the corner keeping score.