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Here’s Why ‘The Hurt Locker’ Is The Worst War Movie Of All Time
With six Oscars and nine nominations, Kathryn Bigelow’s 2008 thriller “The Hurt Locker” is one of the most critically acclaimed war movies to come out of the Global War On Terror. The film follows a team of Army explosive ordnance disposal technicians in Iraq, where they wage a seemingly endless war against the preferred weapon of their enemies: the improvised explosive device.
“The Hurt Locker” is beautifully shot, but that’s about the only nice thing I’m going to say about it. For all of its accolades, the film is incredibly polarizing, with civilian and veteran audiences having very different opinions.
Here’s a line about Jeremy Renner’s character, Staff Sgt. William James from Roger Ebert’s review of “The Hurt Locker.”
“He isn’t an action hero, he’s a specialist, like a surgeon who focuses on one part of the body over and over, day after day, until he could continue if the lights went out.”
To get a more on-the-ground perspective, we asked an Afghanistan War veteran and former Army explosive ordnance disposal technician, Kollin Knight, how he would describe the film’s protagonist.
“A toolbag idiot,” Knight tells us.
The film takes a lot of flak for its lack of realism, and even more for Renner’s character, James, who is presented as some no-fucks given cowboy, in a field where precision and caution are vitally important, explains Knight.
Here’s a breakdown of everything “The Hurt Locker” gets wrong and why it is without a doubt the worst Iraq War movie of all time.
No EOD tech would just man-handle a daisy-chain of 155s.
When James uncovers six 155 artillery shells wired together into a massive IED, he pulls on it for no good reason.
“And he just lifts up six of them, all daisy-chained together, which A: You’d never do that by hand, it’s amazing that he did. B: How the fuck is one arm that strong to just pick up all of these 155s?” says Knight, who adds that each shell can weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.
Skipping over the superhuman strength required to lift 600 pounds worth of ordnance, one-handed, there’s another problem: Nobody would do that, even if they could.
“You don’t know what you’re doing, what’s in there, which is why you don’t just pick shit up by hand and toss it around,” says Knight. “Which is why we stress using robots and doing things remotely and slowly and cautiously, instead of just “Oh shit, I just found a bunch of them, I’m gonna pick them all up.”
There’s no way that guy would be a team leader.
“Throughout the movie, the team leader is just portrayed as having no regard for his life, and so no regard for his team,” says Knight. “He wouldn’t even be team leader certified anymore, at that point. For the shit that he does he could easily lose his certification, end up in prison, or get completely removed from EOD. Realistically it wouldn’t happen. He would not exist."
Then there’s the whole “I’m hot shit” image that he’s hellbent on maintaining.
“He also walks up to the device, I think the first one he does is a car bomb with some ordnance in the trunk and he takes off his bomb suit and is like, ‘If I’m going to die, I’m going to die comfortable.’ And you’re just like, what the fuck?” Knight asks, rhetorically.
Knight explains that while there are times when an EOD tech would remove his or her bomb suit, it’s never without good reason.
“He had complete access to everything, he wasn’t being limited at all, he was just like, Ahh, I want to feel alive and be hot shit,’” says Knight.
If the team leader was looking to die comfortable, he should have taken a note from this guy.
On top of that, he decides to go for a late-night jog in a hoodie, in Baghdad.
“And of course, there’s that scene where he goes outside of a FOB and hunts down this professor for some reason, and he’s just walking around, out in Iraq, in a hoodie, with a gun, and you’re like, ‘What the fuck?’” says Knight.
Nobody does this. It simply doesn’t happen. It makes no sense, and anyone who’s ever served in a post-9/11 warzone probably reacted to that scene the same way: What the fuck?
The EOD techs in this movie are all safety violators.
“They’re just blowing stuff up outside of the FOB which are regular EOD operations and you know, his team members are already pretty upset with him and they’re about to set up the shot,” says Knight of Renner’s character.
“They’re ready to go, they’re about to blow it up, and he’s like, ‘Oh, I forgot my gloves,’ and he just goes back down into the shot hole, a couple hundred feet away, with the trigger live, armed, and you’re walking back down into the shot and that’s a huge safety violation and you’re an idiot because you’re walking up to live explosives at that point that can blow you up.”
The team leader keeps evidence as momentos. In a shoebox, no less.
“One of the things we get hounded on when we show up in country is how important evidence collection is” says Knight, who explains that in addition to disposing of unexploded ordnance, and destroying IEDs, they’re also responsible for collecting and identifying evidence so government agencies can assist with tracking down the bombmaker.
“So to have a box of stuff that’s valuable like that and sitting under your bed for no good reason, that’s punishable by federal law I believe,” says Knight. “He’s just like, ‘Uh, it’s a box of stuff that nearly killed me,’ and you’re like, ‘No you fucking idiot, you should turn that in so they can find the bombmaker!’”
EOD techs are highly trained, but they’re not qualified snipers.
“Of course everyone hounds on the ridiculous scene where they come upon the British SAS guys and somehow they’re able to operate a Barrett .50-cal better than any of those guys and snipe a dude from a mile away and all this stuff. Everyone recognizes the absurdity of that.”
Though EOD techs do receive some training on the .50-cal as a way to destroy an IED by shooting it, they’re not snipers.
“We get to fire them once a year, as a fuck around, because it is a legitimate defusing method in some really obscure cases, so we still train with it, but it's not like we’re gonna be better than any SOF guys,” says Knight.
EOD is a support element, so where’s their overwatch?
In one scene, the team realizes a bombmaker is nearby, and what do they do? They peel off one by one and go searching for him. That’s a lot of ground for three dudes to cover, especially when you consider they probably had (or should have had) an overwatch element nearby.
“You have a security element that could maybe do that, but even then, they’re smart enough to not split up into one-man teams, you know?” says Knight.
“The Hurt Locker” gives people the wrong idea about EOD.
“We’ve had guys join the career field who come to EOD school and say, ‘I saw ‘The Hurt Locker’ those guys are badass I wanna be that,’” says Knight. “They think we’re some badasses who go and do all these crazy things and just have no regard for our own life, and it’s like no, most of us have a lot of regard for our own life. We don’t like getting blown up either.”
Knight also adds that yes, while EOD techs may play a fast and loose with regulations — raise your hand if you’ve ever seen one with unbloused boots and cuffed sleeves in country — they’re professionals when and where it counts.
“If something’s on the line, something that matters, we understand the seriousness of it. When we’re in the moment we’re 100% on top of it,” says Knight.
Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher will retire as a chief petty officer now that President Donald Trump has restored his rank.
"Before the prosecution of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward Gallagher, he had been selected for promotion to Senior Chief, awarded a Bronze Star with a "V" for valor, and assigned to an important position in the Navy as an instructor," a White House statement said.
"Though ultimately acquitted on all of the most serious charges, he was stripped of these honors as he awaited his trial and its outcome. Given his service to our Nation, a promotion back to the rank and pay grade of Chief Petty Officer is justified."
The announcement that Gallagher is once again an E-7 effectively nullifies the Navy's entire effort to prosecute Gallagher for allegedly committing war crimes. It is also the culmination of Trump's support for the SEAL throughout the legal process.
On July 2, military jurors found Gallagher not guilty of premeditated murder and attempted murder for allegedly stabbing a wounded ISIS fighter to death and opening fire at an old man and a young girl on separate occasions during his 2017 deployment to Iraq.
Trump orders dismissal of murder charge against former Green Beret accused of killing a suspected Taliban bomb maker
President Donald Trump has ended the decade-long saga of Maj. Matthew Golsteyn by ordering a murder charge against the former Green Beret dismissed with a full pardon.
The Army charged Golsteyn with murder in December 2018 after he repeatedly acknowledged that he killed an unarmed Afghan man in 2010. Golsteyn's charge sheet identifies the man as "Rasoul."
President Donald Trump has signed a full pardon for former 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, who had been convicted of murder for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men, two of whom were killed.
Lorance will now be released from the United States Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he had been serving a 19-year sentence.
"He has served more than six years of a 19-year sentence he received. Many Americans have sought executive clemency for Lorance, including 124,000 people who have signed a petition to the White House, as well as several members of Congress," said a White House statement released Friday.
"The President, as Commander-in-Chief, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the law is enforced and when appropriate, that mercy is granted. For more than two hundred years, presidents have used their authority to offer second chances to deserving individuals, including those in uniform who have served our country. These actions are in keeping with this long history. As the President has stated, 'when our soldiers have to fight for our country, I want to give them the confidence to fight.'"
Additionally, Trump pardoned Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, who was to go on trial for murder charges next year, and restored the rank of Navy SEAL Chief Edward Gallagher, who was found not guilty of murdering a wounded ISIS prisoner but convicted of taking an unauthorized photo with the corpse.
Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth first announced on Nov. 4 that the president was expected to intervene in the Lorance case was well as exonerate Army Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, who has been charged with murder after he admitted to killing an unarmed Afghan man whom he believed was a Taliban bomb maker, and restore Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher's rank to E-7.
For the past week, members of Lorance's family and his legal team have been holding a constant vigil in Kansas anticipating his release, said Lorance's attorney Don Brown.
Now that he has been exonerated of committing a war crime, Lorance wants to return to active duty, Brown told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.
"He loves the Army," Brown said prior to the president's announcement. "He doesn't have any animosity. He's hoping that his case – and even his time at Leavenworth – can be used for good to deal with some issues regarding rules of engagement on a permanent basis so that our warfighters are better protected, so that we have stronger presumptions favoring warfighters and they aren't treated like criminals on the South Side of Chicago."
In the Starz documentary "Leavenworth," Lorance's platoon members discuss the series of events that took place on July 2, 2012, when the two Afghan men were killed during a patrol in Kandahar province.They claim that Lorance ordered one of his soldiers to fire at three Afghan men riding a motorcycle. The three men got off their motorcycle and started walking toward Afghan troops, who ordered them to return to their motorcycle.
At that point, Lorance ordered the turret gunner on a nearby Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle to shoot the three men, according to the documentary. That order was initially ignored, but the turret gunner eventually opened fire with his M-240, killing two of the men.
But Lorance told the documentary makers that his former soldiers' account of what happened was "ill-informed."
"From my experience of what actually went down, when my guy fired at it, and it kept coming, that signified hostile intent, because he didn't stop immediately," Lorance said in the documentary's second episode.
Brown argues that not only is Lorance innocent of murder, he should never have been prosecuted in the first case.
"He made a call and when you look at the evidence itself, the call was made within a matter of seconds," Brown said "He would make that call again."
The new Call of Duty Modern Warfare takes gaming to a new level. In fact, it's the best damn video game of 2019 (in my humble opinion).
You can watch video of the awesome gameplay for CoD above, and make sure to follow the Task & Purpose team on Twitch here.
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