"We leave these places in ruins": The white lens on "Kandahar" depicts the human cost

"Kandahar" transports viewers to the Middle East, where CIA agent Tom Harris (Gerard Butler) is first seen damaging an Iranian nuclear facility. 

Roman (Travis Fimmel) recruits Tom for a second, more risky operation and teams him with Mohammed (Navid Negahban), a translator. 

However, Tom's cover is shattered when a journalist, Luna (Nina Toussaint-White), reports the story. Luna's life is suddenly threatened,

and Kahil (Ali Fazal), a member of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, seeks vengeance.  With this efficient thriller,

director Ric Roman Waugh takes a slow-burn strategy, saving most of its kinetic action moments for the second half — after all the chess pieces are in position. 

Tom is determined to return home and keep Mohammed safe, so they must journey from Herat to Kandahar while Kahil and others are hot on their tail. 

"Kandahar" is Waugh's third (and greatest) collaboration with actor Gerard Butler, who previously collaborated on "Angel Has Fallen" and "Greenland." 

While politics do not dominate the plot, there are double- and possibly triple-crosses as Tom and Mohammed meet unpleasant figures such as warlord Ismail (Ray Haratian).