There were only two good things in this movie and by good I mean realistic. These were the way that iraqi civilians were portrayed as always watching and leering at the soldiers and the way the explosions happened. Rather than the over-the-top, fuel-infused, fireball style explosions that are normally in Hollywood movies, the ones that happened in this movie were very realistic. They were true to form in that they showed the violence of a shockwave and dust all at once. I could see why there were some warnings on the internet for those with combat experience about watching it. It is understandable why some could have issues with watching this movie.
Well that was it for what was realistic in the movie. So let me list what wasn’t realistic. Just about everything else. Before I had seen this movie, I had the impression that it may be a movie that could be closely compared to what it would be like if a few ex-EOD guys were sitting around a bar years after being in war together telling war stories to hapless civilians. Now that I have seen it, I can honestly say that is what it was like. The life of an EOD tech is not that glamorous and is really filled with 95% boredom. However in this portrayal you would think that they have the most exciting job in the world that is part wire cutter and part door kicker.
What was important to me was the way this movie mis-represented the military, the tactics and the overall conduct of many brave men and women in combat (especially Iraq). Three EOD guys spend the entire movie running around Baghdad by themselves in a Humvee. Almost never with other units and in one scene even completely by themselves out in the open Iraqi desert. That is so BS it isn’t even funny. I know that sometimes EOD teams need to get away from populated areas in order to blow ordinance, but they never do that by themselves and never without security. Of course in this one scene they somehow come across some type of British mercenary or special operations team escorting prisoners. This turns into a sniper vs. sniper battle with some insurgent snipers in the only structure for as far as the eye can see. These Brits who don’t have a way to change a flat tire, somehow have a Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle. Even with this firepower I guess they are not smart enough to use it and their british sniper ends up sky-lining himself and getting taken out in one shot, dead center by a insurgent sniper. The EOD jr. sergeant is somehow a skilled sniper and knows his way around a Barrett. The renegade sr. sergeant is a skilled spotter and together they posses the rare abilities to maintain patience and discipline to stay in shooting positions that only the best trained snipers can do. Of course it must have been while this scene was being filmed that the actor playing the jr. enlisted (and third member) of the EOD team wanted to get at least one shooting scene. While the “super disciplined” EOD snipers sat in place, the jr soldier along with two British mercs hide behind a dirt wall and all by himself and without any help from the brits, the junior soldier sees one, and only one, Insurgent drawing a bead on him and he asks his EOD sergeants what he should do. They tell him to “handle it” and he shoots and kills this guy (even though the enemy already has the soldier in his sights) and without the brits even flinching.
Near the end of the movie they go out to do a bomb damage assessment and even though there are apparently about 100 infantry soldiers at the scene also, SFC James takes his two fellow EOD “heroes” and they go down three separate alleys looking for a triggerman of an explosion that had to have happened more than an hour prior. There isn’t an infantrymen in basic training that would go down an alley by himself in Iraq in 2004 at night. Not one, not EVER.
There were many other scenes and things that happened in this movie that were complete bull*** also, but I am just tired of writing about them. Watching this movie was like watching two trains heading towards each other at 25mph on the same track. You know its going to be bad and you know you have time to turn away, but you just can’t. You have to watch to see how bad it is gong to be. My buddy wasted his money on this movie and went to bed half-way through. I stayed up to watch it, because I just had to watch how much worse it could possibly get. I was amazed that a movie so bad could get any kind of accolades from anyone.
Some say “who cares, it is only a movie”, but I can’t look at it that way. I had 78 of my soldiers in Iraq in 2004 of which only 77 came back. I consider this movie a complete sign of disrespect to them and all of the other soldiers that have not only served in Iraq but especially those that have served in the EOD. If anyone who has never served in he Global War on Terror thinks this movie represents what it is like, then you they are completely and utterly wrong. They could not be further from the truth.
Monday, March 8, 2010
if I could write that well. Bouhammer has a must read review of the Academy Award winning movie - The Hurt Locker.