Unreal Movie Review: The Hurt Locker


I once read an album review for The DarknessPermission to Land.  It stated something along the lines of that if the band was serious, the album was a 2 out of 10.  If they were joking, it was a 9.  I think I feel the same way about The Hurt Locker.  The thing is, I must be missing the joke.  Everyone seems to love this movie (97% at rottentomatotes.com), and my man Nattyb recently wrote how great it was, too.  I can’t say I agree, though.  I went into The Hurt Locker expecting a war movie, but what I got felt more like an 80s action movie set in the context of Baghdad 2004.  The battle scenes were intense, but the terrible dialogue, inconsistent tone, and eyeroll-inducing male-bonding and action movie cliches prevent The Hurt Locker from being a good film.  Oscar contender, as some claim?  God, I sure hope not.  Keep reading for the full review; minor spoilers ahead.


Let me start by saying that I won’t be commenting on whether or not this movie realistically portrays the war in Iraq.  Although I have read that many soldiers have pointed out numerous inconsistencies (a bomb squad would never ride around by itself, for example, or how an officer who punches his superior receives no discipline whatsoever, or an EOD tech would also happen to be an expert sniper capable of hitting a moving target hundreds of yards away), I have never served in the military and so I’m not really qualified to opine on how realistic The Hurt Locker’s version of war is.  With that said and out of the way, let’s get to the merits of the film.

What I’m going to write about The Hurt Locker will be fairly critical, so I’ll begin with what I liked about it.  For starters, I thought Jeremy Renner turned in a terrific performance.  He did a good job with the limited material and did a great job acting without speaking, a necessity considering how awful the dialogue was.  Renner is clearly the best actor of anyone in this film, and he deserves praise for his role as Sgt. William James.

Secondly, the battle scenes and bomb-disamring scenes were very intense.  The action was fast and came with a feeling of dread, and when James is in the process of disarming a bomb, you’re bracing for the explosion.  I enjoyed the use of the cumbersome bomb suit, especially when we the audience are given the chance to “wear it,” looking through the face shield as if it’s us who are to disarm the bomb.  I particularly liked the opening scene (with a cameo from Guy Pearce), and the idea that a bomb could go off made for a very tense few minutes.  I was definitely holding my breath.

Finally, there doesn’t seem to be any political message with regard to war in The Hurt Locker, which is somewhat refreshing.  But that’s because The Hurt Locker isn’t a war movie.  I’ll explain why in a little bit.


Now to what I didn’t like about The Hurt Locker, which is pretty much everything else.  This movie was directed by Kathryn Bigelow, whose most famous work is probably Point Break.  It’s OK to have action cliches and one-dimensional rebel characters in movies like Point Break, but when you take that tone and set it in the context of a very real war, it comes off as utterly ridiculous.  At one point, I had to ask myself if the movie was really just a black comedy, spoofing tired action cliches of the 80s.  When we first see Sgt. James, it’s akin to Stallone’s appearance in the beginning of Cobra.  He’s got a bad ass attitude, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, and nobody’s gonna tell him what to do.  Cool in the 80s, absurd in 2009.

The characters are completely one-dimensional, and the atrocious dialogue doesn’t help one bit.  Sgt. James is a wild, hard-drinking cowboy with a reckless attitude, and if you didn’t know that, the blatant statements (“you’re a wild man”) will clue you in.  He’s Maverick from Top Gun; he’s John Wayne.  There’s nothing new or special about him, and his “bad ass” persona goes so far that it’s not to be believed.  James removes his bomb suit before disarming a bomb, and everything is casual and easy for him.  He’s the bad boy we’re supposed to think is cool.  At one point, he chugs about half a bottle of vodka – not because he’s an alcoholic or he’s suffering, no.  Because it’s “cool.”

And then there’s JT Sanborn (played by Anthony Mackie), who is everything James isn’t: by-the-book, neurotic, and for the most part pretty straight-laced.  They don’t get along at first, but after a very convenient and formulaic scene in which they are forced to work together (not to disarm a bomb, no, to take over a sniper rifle and shoot some bad guys), they learn to trust each other.  Never mind the fact that Sanborn had just a few scenes earlier contemplated killing James.  Along with Sanborn is Owen Eldridge, the token scared baby of the group.  His character adds very little, save for setting up the death of his military “therapist,” one that anyone could see coming from miles away.


The flat, cardboard characters aren’t really the fault of the actors who play them – again, I praise Renner’s performance – but rather, it’s the laughably bad dialogue and action movie cliches that make The Hurt Locker seem more like a made-for-TV movie or a play written by an 8th grader than a film worthy of acclaim.  There’s no plot, just a bunch of scenes strung together with unrealistic male bonding that show how AWESOME and RAD Sgt. James is.  Perhaps most important is that we’re never shown why the characters are the way they are – was it war?  home?  both? – they just simply are that way.

One of those scenes includes this exchange, after Sgt. James presents Eldridge and Sanborn with a box filled with parts of bombs he has disarmed over the years:

James: This box is filled with things that nearly killed me.

Edridge (holding up a ring on a chain): What’s this one?

James: My wedding ring.  Like I said, things that nearly killed me.



We’re also treated to a scene in which James and the boys drink and rough house a bit – which is fine – but it soon deteriorates to “So, you got a girl back home?”  Every line of dialogue feels written and contrived, and it seems as though these scenes were thrown in simply as filler for the action scenes.  There’s no character development, because 1) the characters don’t change and 2) we already know everything we need to know about the one-dimensional characters halfway through the movie.  In fact, there are really no characters at all; they’re all essentially caricatures.  Which brings me to my next point…

The Hurt Locker isn’t a war movie.  There’s nothing to be said about the war in Iraq, who our enemies are (anonymous, hostile Arabs conveniently show up when we’re in need of action), who is planting the bombs, why the bombs are there, are so on.  The movie doesn’t even bother asking these questions.  Instead, this is an action movie, complete with all the cliches of the genre, about a man who is addicted to his service of disarming bombs.  Unfortunately, and unlike The Darkness, I don’t think The Hurt Locker is self-aware of its presentation.  It’s a shame, really, because it would have made for a hell of a black comedy – was anyone else reminded of Catch 22 when the number of days remaining in the unit’s service was shown on the screen?

In summary, I do think The Hurt Locker has some redeeming value, particularly Renner and some of the action sequences.  But to call this a war movie, let alone a good one, is absurd.  It’s Point Break in Baghdad; it’s Top Gun meets Jarhead.  There’s nothing wrong with fun action movies, but it doesn’t work when set in the very serious context of the Iraq war.  I am sure I thoroughly grasp everything The Hurt Locker has attempted to convey, which is why it makes it all the more bewildering that I seem to be the only one who really didn’t think this movie was good.  Maybe I’m missing something, though, and I’d love it if it could be explained to me.  If it’s to show the stress that war places on soldiers, or even just a portrait of a soldier addicted to war, The Hurt Locker fails miserably.

I know that people are generally really happy with this film, so I expect some scathing comments in response to my review.  I only hope that at least a couple of them can enlighten me.

2 out of 5 stars

  • Dave-O

    I have to agree with the cheesiness on some level. I thought the writing/acting/directing was particularly bad when his CO came up to them and asked the scared rabbit guy,

    “Where you the one in the suit?”

    He then goes on the praise James for his work, etc. However, it wasn’t made clear whether he mocking him or genuinely impressed. The scene went on for time and ending so I presume he was legitimately impressed. Awkwardy executed scene all around.

    On the other hand, I liked the movie as a whole. At the end of the review you mention,

    “If it’s to show the stress that war places on soldiers, or even just a portrait of a soldier addicted to war”

    and I think that’s exactly what it was – a portait of a soldier addicted to war. A soldier is the only thing James knows how to be. I think the most pivotal scene in the movie is near the very end. His wife/baby momma asks him to go grab some cereal while they’re in line at the grocery store and he stands there staring at the cereal for an extended amount of time. It’s like he’s thinking,

    “Who gives a shit about cereal?” Or cleaning out the gutters.

    That’s why he’s back in Iraq at the end of the movie. Once you’ve become what James has become it’s impossible to live a civilian life.

    That’s what I thought the movie was about.

  • Korinthian

    Thanks for the review. This really doesn’t sound like my kind of movie.

  • Madison

    @ Dave-O

    Yes, I felt the movie was just saturated with cheesiness, as you put it. Anyhow, I actually liked the “cereal” scene, because it showed us what type of person James was. And that’s good. But when you have characters blatantly exclaiming “you’re reckless!” or “you’re a wild man,” it’s spoon-fed and not nearly as effective.

    It reminded me of Top Gun: You’re reckless, but dammit, you’re the best fighter pilot I’ve ever seen.


    As far as what the movie was or was trying to be, sure, I can see it as a portrait. I just think that the film failed in that regard. James remained a flat caricature with no depth to me.

    Thanks for your comment.

    @ Korinthian

    Glad I could help, thanks for reading.

  • Ant

    one dimensional characters yes, but is that really such a flaw? sometimes simple is good. and yes, you’re crazy for giving this two out of five stars.

  • Tbz

    Thanks for an honest review. I was afraid every single reviewer was going to praise this movie to death. Overall I totally agree, there was just something off about ‘Hurt Locker.’ Trying to make an action movie within the backdrop of a serious war that is still going on is tricky at best, and having these cheesy cliche filled scenes do not help at all.

    PTSD? Check. Scenes of male bonding and drinking? Check. The newcomer distrusted by others? Check. And on and on.

    Ultimately, as a person with some knowledge of the military and having several friends that have done multiple tours in Iraq, the biggest flaws of ‘Hurt Locker’ are the multitude of inaccuracies in portraying American soldiers in Iraq. No three man team of anything would be as suicidal as to go around outside the wire in one humvee, with a soldier sometimes manning the gun on top. If this movie was set in the very early period of the Iraq war, and the soldiers wore the correct uniform, it would have helped with the realism. The chances of an American soldier being able to sneak out of the base and mingle around in the middle of Baghdad, then run all the way back to his base, is preposterous. Even more so the action of the guard that lets the soldier back on base with no punishment. Soldiers are definitely not allowed to keep or imbibe alcohol in their living quarters. And so on.

  • Madison

    @ Ant

    Simple, one-dimensional characters are fine for a ridiculous action movie. Which is why I am so baffled that this movie is receiving praise as a “great war film.” It’s a joke.

    Further, if this movie is indeed about a man “addicted” to war, then writing him as simple and one-dimensional is NOT ok…


    Thanks for the response. It seems as though anyone with any knowledge of the military has been able to pick this movie apart for its GLARING errors in military protocol.

    Even so, I can get past the errors. It was the cliched, cheesey moments we’ve seen hundreds of times that really ruined it for me. It’s not surprising that this was the screenwriter’s first script. It’s incredibly generic and amateur.

  • alloy14

    Bullshit. You saw it got 97% on rotten tomatoes and went into the movie with a skewed perspective – as an outsider coming to study it. If you’d gone into the movie without knowing it’s review then you wouldn’t have had your “fuck mainstream media this is bullshit goggles” on and you wouldn’t have been looking for flaws the second the movie started.

    I give any reviewer that feels the need to say “Everyone liked this movie so okay – here’s what ~I~ thought” a fucking F- because they’re allowing themselves to be defined by the opinions of others, whether it’s going with the crowd because everybody liked it or going against the crowd because everyone liked it.

    BAHHHHHHHHHH. Wake up sheeple.

  • Madison

    @ alloy14

    Wrong. I didn’t see the overwhelming critical response until after I saw the movie. I had seen the movie initially because a friend urged me to go see it, and he and I usually agree on movies.

    But you seem to know me real well…

    I know what you’re saying, but that just isn’t the case here. That F- is going to look really bad on my Reviewer’s Report Card.

    Thanks for reading.

  • alloy14

    Sure. Thanks for writing, I really love reading this blog. Very pertinent to my interests.


  • Tbz

    I agree with you wholeheartedly on the cheesy cliched scenes Madison. Those got to me too. Everything is straight out of stock war movies or ‘guy’ movies.

    We’ve seen them all: the scenes of guys getting stoned and or drunk, and then engaging in macho horseplay. The telegraphing of deaths. The PTSD which afflicts 99.9 percent of all military personnel. The initial distrust of the newcomer, which gives way to grudging acceptance after a critical battle scene bonding. The slow-mo explosion. And so on. Heck they even threw in a slooowly falling bullet casing which hits the dirt oh so poetically. Very artiste. Oh don’t forget the scenes of soldiers ruminating about why they do what they do (“I do what I do for the guy next to me,” or some other tripe).

    Actually alloy14 brings up an interesting point. At least for me psychologically, it’s different, if I see a movie get overwhelming critical praise, I go in with a bias that I will love the movie. Likewise if a movie gets critical trashing, I will go in thinking I will hate that movie.

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  • Jim Sherlock

    My son and I walked out when we couldn’t take any more of the bullshit.Some interesting photography and special effects but otherwise……..John Wayne gone mad.

  • Bobbaganush

    I saw this movie with a couple of friends. We walked into the theater knowing nothing about it, hoping it would be good. I must say that it might be one of the most idiotic and insultingly horrible movies I’ve ever seen. Terrible movies are entertaining at least for the sheer badness of them, but this movie takes itself so seriously I could only feel embarrassed for the creators of it. Every scene that tried to be serious was so painfully cheesy, especially the “cereal” scene you all seem to be fond of. Seriously, can you think of a more cliche shot to show his boredom with his domestic life? I thought this movie was awful, beginning to end. With no exception. The real-time camera direction has been done to death since saving private ryan, the action scenes were absolutely nothing new, the writing, direction, everything. terrible. In fact, after coming home and reading the reviews I was beside myself, it is unreal that what seemed to me to be a blatantly stupid movie would get such critical acclaim. I’m glad to read a review that reflects my disbelief with the reception of this movie. So bad. Its weird, its really weird, I really feel like I’m missing something if everyone loved it so much. Because I hated it. Hated.

  • Madison

    @ Bobbaganush

    I’m in the same boat as you. It’s nice that we can take refuge in the fact that there are others out there who also dislike the movie.

    And when I read the positive reviews, I was baffled. Were these people watching the same movie as me? With the same cliched scenes and cardboard characters?

    I don’t think we’re missing anything. I think everyone who likes this movie is.

    Thanks for reading; I enjoyed reading your comment.

  • Al

    I also don’t understand why this movie is so highly rated. My only conclusion can be that most reviewers are idiots, and easily entertained. The only reason I didn’t walk out of the theater halfway through the movie was because I was waiting for a flight a few hours later and had nothing else do to.

    The absurdity of the scenes and the overall inanity of the movie are actually insulting. This is not “the Iraq War movie.”

  • lemon15

    Serving in Iraq twice, especially working side by side with EOD ( we actually watched a pirated copy of this when it came out in theaters in Iraq with our EOD team) and we thought it was ridiculous! There was nothing realistic about it. You will never find a daisy-chained 155mm rounds like that. If you did, you never go near it. You cordon the area and blow it up. The EOF (Escalation Of Force) was unreal. In the Army, you have one job, one MOS you go by that you were trained by. EOD do not dismount and patrol an entire city with a team size element in the middle of sector. It was unbearable to watch how they chopped up what is really going on in this war.

  • sean

    thankfully there does seem to be others that were really disappointed with “the hurt locker”. i found it really boring and only waited to see it all because i was waiting for a good exciting end, and it didnt come! i want to know is how on earth is this tipped for oscar success! it is not war film and so called experts are saying its the best war film ever made!!! i dont think so. thanks for this review it is very detailed and accuarate.

  • Dustin

    Well being an actual soldier who served in Iraq…as an infantryman, I saw quite a bit of EOD. In short, I have no idea what ARMY or war this film tried to show…but I didn’t recognize either. It was ver very far fetched filled with situations that never occour. It’s filled with drama and suspense that never actually occur in war. Every bit of the movie was make believe, and I can promise you that even the EOD guys (real ones anyway) felt embarrassed when watching this movie.

    Thank you for making yet another incredibly innacurate an stupid war movie.

    Ohhh…by the way, EOD personnel are not Rangers! So Ralph needs to take off that unit patch

  • Matt

    Thank God, someone else who realizes this movie may have some merits but is overall just not *that* good. I’m getting so sick of seeing it win awards and get Oscar buzz. If any movie *doesn’t* deserve an Oscar this year it’s The Hurt Locker. I’d rather see it go to a cheesy movie that is at least aware of how bad it is, rather than The Hurt Locker, who as you’ve pointed out seems to take itself completely seriously.

  • Madison

    @ Matt

    Yes, I think the movie could have been a lot better had it not took itself so seriously. It was wayyy too over-the-top with the BS bravado.

  • Tapio

    Thanks for the review! Just saw the film and thought it was really one of the worst ones I’ve ever seen. I too thought it was almost a comedy but I guess it wasn’t supposed to be… I really wonder if they hired a military advisor at all; it was so unrealistic it made me laugh. Not to mention how boring the film was at some points.

  • B-town

    When I finished watching this movie, I immediately googled “hurt locker terrible” to see if I could still have faith in humanity. That’s when you know you’ve truly experienced an awful film. I went into this movie with big expectations but was floored by the garbage that I was seeing on the screen. The only thing missing was random guitar riffs as Billy Bad Ass rebelled against the establishment (i.e. common sense, standard operating procedure, and plywood boards).

    Apparently Jack Nicholson’s mantra of “we follow orders or people die” was an antiquated notion in 2004 Iraq. Diffusing bombs that could easily be destroyed? Sure, go for it. As a matter of fact, take the bomb suit off while you’re at it and get a handshake from your superior after. Because we all know there’s nothing the military loves more than loose cannons that don’t play by the rules and put their squad’s lives at risk.

    You want to sneak off the base while wearing a hooded sweatshirt for disguise, show up at a house for reasons unknown, have an interaction with an iraqi who’s the only person in history that’s happy when someone b+e’s their house and points a gun at them, and then run out when confronted by a woman with mean tea tray skills? That’s ok too, as long as you tell the guys at the gate that you were sodomizing some shiites.

    Apparently Full Metal Jacket left out the scene where the recruits were given “do whatever you feel like” lessons. I think it usually occurs after the threatening of skull-f’ing and before the blanket party. I can’t believe that a movie that takes itself so seriously could have me thinking, “you can’t be serious” during almost every scene.

    Even putting aside the ridiculous notion that blatant rulebreaking would be allowed and applauded in a place where rules are the only thing that men have to rely on amidst utter chaos, there were still no redeeming qualities to this movie. As Madison points out, the character development was largely ignored, with desperate attempts that were more cliche than an episode of perfect strangers, with the latter at least providing us a funny accent to laugh at. The robot in the beginning was far more enjoyable than any of the actors, at least it couldn’t say things like, “So you got a girl back home?” or “13 days left, but who’s counting”.

    I’ve been struggling to wrap my head around how anyone could enjoy this movie, let alone call it the best war movie of all time. I guess when audiences spent the summer watching robots with giant balls, metal beards, and thinly veiled african american stereotypes, movies like this one seem great by comparison. Or maybe this was one of these dumb movies that carried itself with a false sense of nobility, thus causing really dumb people to feel like they were watching an artsy, intelligent movie just because it began with a quote and featured super slo-mo and POV camera work. Either way, when this thing sweeps the oscars we’ll know the apocalypse is just over the horizon.

  • Madison

    @ B-town

    Amen. It’s comforting to know that some are as bewildered as I am when it comes to the praise this movie is receiving.

  • Dennis

    I have to agree with you. There was no point to any of the characters in the movie so why would I care if they get blown up and cannot continue on the movie. Just like the first guy that blew up was replaced so could ANY of them be for all I care and there is no suspense in that. I made it about 45 minutes or so into the movie and then I had to give up and stop watching it because I was bored to death. What were their quirks, their backgrounds? Why were they in the war? Political views, aspirations? No? Just generic army men holding guns? No thanks! Piece of crap movie… How many people enjoyed it (including critics, the shame…) is absurd, but most people like crap movies so it’s to be expected I guess.

  • Ziggedy


    yep me too – i had to google ‘i hate hurt locker’ and ‘hurt locker is s**t’, just to be sure i wasnt going mad and that other people also thought this film was utter crap.

    thank you madison for restoring my faith in my own sanity

  • Madison

    @ Ziggedy

    I think what must have happened is that critics – for whatever reason – ate this movie up when it was released. Word of mouth and buzz spread, and now that the movie has seen wider release, people have been very disappointed. It’s amazing how many negative comments I’ve seen on here, and very comforting to know that I am not alone in my views of this terribly overrated movie.

  • RB

    I just watched this. It was just OK thats it. Strung together scenes with a Im addicted to war message. Nothing big. Had a documentary kind of look but it did not ring completely true. The 3 main actors were good especially the main lead. nothing special. I asked myself ? Would the military just let soldiers walk up to bombs and try to diffuse them by hand. NO I dont think so. Very overrated.

  • CML

    Just watched the movie……. very suspenseful….. Ive read a bunch of reviews from soldiers claiming that this movie is fake, and that it does not portray the true life of a soldier. I am not here to argue that, because to be honest i have no clue. After the movie, however, i felt a strong sense of respect for all soldiers. I felt sad that anyone had, and still will have to deal with the suffering shown in this movie. So although it may not have been a real depiction it gets a message across. Also, i did think this movie showed character development. James, in the beginning, is seen as a rough neck, thick headed, soldier, who cares about nothing but an adrenaline rush. Later on though, you see him become attached to the boy selling DVD’s who he later thinks is dead (Body bomb, or whatever), and he is crushed. it shows a the deeper side of this rough character. It also shows the viewer that not only adults are being killed over there in iraq, but children to. maybe this sort of child bomb doesn’t happen, but it opens peoples eyes to the idea of an innocent child dyeing. All those men and women who are already over there, or who have been over there serving for our country have already had their eyes opened by the real thing. If it is ridiculously unrealistic action and suspense that gets the right message across whats the big deal? This movie says that this is the sort of person it would take to stomach the war in iraq, and it gives the viewer a sense of how tough you would have to be to go over there. So yea, it has it clichés but it makes us common folk sympathetic.

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  • John

    Great review for an absurdly awful movie. I served in Iraq from 2007-2008 in Western Baghdad as a medic on a civil affairs/psyops team, and I was astounded how poorly this movie was done. I was expecting an intense, Blackhawk Down style flick with careful attention made to military accuracy and realism. Instead, I got something akin to a Steven Seagal movie with even less developed characters and plot. I watched it with a civilian buddy (I’m out now), and he even recognized how ridiculous this film was.

    There are just so many awful scenes it’s difficult to name my “favorite.” Maybe it’s when he chooses to diffuse the bomb by hand, rather than send the robot out after it… or when the entire crew rides around in a lone truck without anyone manning the .50 (pretty much throughout the entire movie). Or when he’s engaging moving targets with a Barrett from like 500m. Or when they (3 guys) conduct an impromptu foot patrol in Baghdad to “chase down the trigger-man.” Unbelievably, that just scratches the surface of absurd, inaccurate, moments. It’s just plain awful.

    They really must not have spent a dime an an actual military adviser to help shoot this film. It’s really Godawful.

  • Madison

    @ John

    Thanks. It’s amazing how many soldiers have reported how inaccurate this “great war movie” is.

  • Dave

    I agree with the reviewer-this film was very badly scripted. I am not a member of the military but much of the scripting seemed incredibly unlikely and really just a series of cliched scenes cobbled together in a poor story. Very disappointing!

  • Alxgraham

    Was f’ing horrible. Makes me even surer that the whole world we live in, is an awful fraud. Something very fake to me, about anyone who loves this shite. Thank god for you all.

  • John

    Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun Times rated the film as the best film of the year and as one of the best of the decade,[22] writing, “The Hurt Locker is a great film, an intelligent film, a film shot clearly so that we know exactly who everybody is and where they are and what they’re doing and why. – Wikipedia

    Think about that: one of the best films of the decade. He must be joking. Awful awful movie.

  • John

    No problem, well written review. I showed it to my roommate when I got home this evening and also fully agreed.

    I enjoyed your response. You stated, “So yea, it has it clichés but it makes us common folk sympathetic”, and it got me thinking why this movie is so offensive to me. Let me just explain that when I typically watch a “bad” movie such as Punisher 2 or some Steven Seagal flick, it doesn’t make me run out and post negative responses all over the internet; this movie does. It’s the inaccuracies that make it so Godawful. It’s almost disrespectful to the real individuals who do this nastiness for a living. It paints a picture that portrays poorly trained, poorly disciplined jackasses doing incredibly stupid things in a deadly environment. How many bombs did that jackass SGT. James claimed to have disarmed? Like 541 or whatever??? All by hand like that? Ha yeah right.

    But that’s not a rip on you at all, and I appreciate and understand what you’re saying. It’s just that I’m now afraid the public has some warped idea about the realities of combat operations in Iraq. I seriously, seriously can’t name ONE accurate thing they did. The entire movie is one big fat lie and does an incredible disservice to EOD, the Army, and the military as a whole.

  • Jolly Roger’s

    Dear Madison,
    I don’t know if you will read this post seeing you commented on July 9th but either way I feel that I have something important to say. I watched the Hurt Locker about 2 months ago. Last night I was watching Charlie Rose and on his show he had some influential movie critics critiquing this year’s nominees for the Academy Awards. They seem to be intelligent human beings. The panel consisted of a professor of film from Colombia University, a journalist from Slate.com, Salon.com, and one from the New York Times. They all praised the Hurt Locker and went on and on about how amazing the film was, I was sick to my stomach. So I decided to look on the World Wide Web and see what actual people were saying. So I checked rotten tomatoes and they gave it a 97.7%. So finally I decided there is only one place I will find the confirmation that I am searching for, and that is on Roger Ebert’s page. I was shocked. 4 stars!
    I went to bed depressed, had I gone crazy? I consider my self a fairly sane individual. Then I woke up around 3 o’clock in the morning and went back to my computer and typed in “Hurt Locker Unrealistic.” I found this blog and read all the comments, laughed at some, agreed with almost all including yours, except for like 2, and then meditated for a moment. You saved me from going crazy. Your opinion saved me from giving up movie watching forever. In closing, lets make out.

  • Madison

    @ Jolly

    I went through the same shock and disappointment you did when the entire world bent over backwards to praise this movie. I just didn’t get it, and it’s nice to see that we’re not alone.

    I’ll make out, but keep your hands to yourself.

  • RickG

    Thank you for restoring some of my faith in humanity. I’m an Army veteran who bought the movie on Blu-Ray having never seen it before because I was convinced it was going to live up to the hype. Normally I don’t do this because I’ve been burned enough times to know better than to buy a movie I haven’t seen yet, but with so many people touting this movie as one of – if not THE – greatest war movie of all time, how could I possibly go wrong?

    Well, it went wrong. Completely and totally wrong.

    Almost every scene beyond the first 15 minutes or so is completely and utterly predictable. Brian Geraghty played the same “token scared baby” he played in Jarhead. When Sgt. Sanborn punches SFC James I was shocked, but not because I didn’t see it coming. I was shocked by the absurdity of an E5 assaulting an E7. And before that even transpired, I was shocked by an E7’s complete and utter disregard for the safety of his subordinates, and a Colonel seemingly praising him for it.

    Was there any doubt in anyone’s mind that when Colonel Cambridge decided to tag along with the EOD team that he was going to be blown up? When the EOD team rolled up on the armed ragheads, am I the only person who knew that they were either going to be Delta Force, Marine Force Recon, or SAS? Anyone shocked when the Iraqi kid SFC James befriended turned up dead?

    How can a film be so disgustingly formulaic and earn Oscar nominations? You’re absolutely right on every count, Madison. It’s not a war movie, it’s lazy Hollywood hackery.

    (sigh)…I feel so much better now.

  • Madison


    Glad you enjoyed my review. I enjoyed reading your comment.

  • Maybe I just got the message of this movie completely wrong but I didn’t really see Sgt. James as the “John Wayne” bad-boy hero archetype. I actually took those cliches to be a parody of the character itself. He knows he’s a badass and he thinks it’s awesome.
    Why wouldn’t he think that? He never gets in trouble and he’s clearly good at what he does.
    He’s gotten to the point where he can’t stop. He just doesn’t know where to draw the line as shown by his taking his rough housing with Sanborn to a level that Sanborn clearly wasn’t comfortable with.
    Maybe I just came at it from a different angle but I watched more as a portrayal of someone careening out of control. It took place in a wartime environment but it wasn’t so much a war movie.
    My writing is kind of clumsy here for which I heartily apologize. I should have been to bed hours ago and my mind is in a fog because of it.

  • John

    I just watched Dear John, the biggest chick flick of the decade, and am saddened to report the military scenes where much more realistic than anything I saw in the Hurt Locker.

    The two things I noticed is he had his rank upside down for about 5 seconds in one scene, and they had frag 5 kits in 2001. Other than that, pretty much everything else looked reasonable, unlike the visual abomination currently up for 9 Academy Awards.

    Sorry for the tangent, but it just illustrates how even a movie designed for 16 year old girls has a higher degree of military accuracy.

  • Sean

    I agree the film doesn’t deserve that much praise for “realism”, but come on! Opining about soldiers don’t these kinds of stupid activities overseas? I once watched one of my specialists charge off the side of a cliff in Afghanistan and break is legs and bag and for what? A bet he made with his NCO? More than a few soldiers (and an NCO included) thought it was smart to chew on blasting caps. Not so pretty effects. I mean, come on, the US may contain the most disciplined fighting force on the planet, but that’s hardly any immunity against soldiers doing stupid stuff.

  • jay

    I have to agree totally. I thought I was crazy when I watched the movie and rolled my eyes on just about every scene. The people on both sides act like idiots in order to give some sense of tension. For example, If you witness a fellow soldier get shot from a sniper from some unknown position the WORST thing you could do is simply stand where he just was. That’s exactly what happened during the sniper scene.

  • Someguy

    Look – it doesn’t matter if someone sees a review of this movie stating it is good, or bad, or anything. What matters is the movie is really terrible, it just isn’t by definition entertaining. Study a movie? Sure, you can find tons of fascinating things to study about this movie, the characters are genuinely unique in ways that make me curious to learn more about them. Unfortunately, you never can, because they are locked solidly into a nightmare of a film.

    I can name a hundred movies that have something better than this film within. Better action, plot, characters – movies that convey more emotion, advance the art form, or simply make sigh contentedly at its happy predictable ending. This has nothing on any traditional film. It just can’t begin to touch them.

    That this received awards of any kind, and such high ratings, is appalling to me.

  • af1o

    I found this blog by literally googling “Hurt Locker Terrible” immediately after finishing the movie. I’m glad I did.

    The only reason I finished this horribly unbelievable film was that it was recommended by a friend. I felt compelled to finish it before telling said friend that they can keep their movie suggestions to themselves from now on.

    This movie was so ripe with cliches, so unrealistic, and contained so much contrived, predictable drama that it was unbearable to sit through. My wife must have asked me 10 times “why are they there? Why are they disarming that bomb again?” To which I finally had to admit, “I don’t know.” Why so much drama for an IED on the side of a random road in Iraq? Could they not drive around? I did see that one time there was a UN vehicle in the background. Predictably they were protecting a UN building. But why not just blow all these bombs up from a distance with the robot that the ARMY paid millions to develop? Oh, that’s right, because “Bull” McCaffrey from Backdraft was reincarnated as a bomb specialist in Iraq for this thriller.

    I found the “action” scenes to be anything but. It got to the point that the character development was so limited I was actually rooting for someone to die. Preferably Sgt. Williams James.

    To its credit, the film did have a slow motion scene of a shell casing bouncing in the sand. WTF? Does it get more cliche?

    I don’t think it is fair to hold films to the “realistic” standard, particularly war films. I have no problem with details of shells, or outfits or protocol being inaccurate in a film. However, the scenes in this movie were so far fetched that they were unbelievable to any human being. Not just a soldier.

    The fact that this movie is considered anything more than a B Movie and is actually garnering Oscar buzz is sickening and saddening.

  • af1o

    And another thing I can’t sleep over. The Colonel who asked for the “guy in the suit” and then praised Sgt. James seemed clearly to be mocking him. I felt a huge sigh of relief, like “oh great, someone with half a brain to bring some reality to this film.” Then the scene ended and I realized I missed something. Apparently the Colonel actually was praising James for his ridiculous actions and his great bomb disarming record? So many things so wrong with this film.

  • marco

    Hurray….Im not the only one who thought it was an absolute load of crap. Awful script, bad acting and a cheesy plot.

    And it looks like it is going to win the oscar for the best movie that our planet has turned out in the last year. God save us!!!

  • john

    this movies was unwatchable

  • Tirann

    Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou, thankyou, thankyou, thankyou. You’ve said the thinks I’ve been thinking for weeks, but have been unable to make people understand. Until now I’ve felt like I was the only one who could see this movie for what it really is. Coincidently, I found your article by Googling “Hurt Locker Terrible”.

  • Dale

    I finished watching this movie with a few buddies last night (pirated, and damn glad we didnt spend a cent on it), and I can honestly say that this is one of the worst movies ive ever seen. Everyone watching agreed to shut it off after about an hour and a half. My god, I cant believe there can exist a movie with no plot and totally flat characters, let alone, a movie such as this that would win awards!

  • Rypline

    AMEN. I am completely disappointed and the acadamy should be ashamed for giving a horrible script the best movie award. Absolutely shameful.

  • james

    obviously your hate of the “male bonding” scenes shows that your a total closet gay homophobe, don’t hate on a film because of you short comings.

    this film’s dialogue was as real as reality can be, not all films don’t have to be the sensationalist babble in avatar or inglorious basterds

    If this is a joke then im laughing my ass off, cuz the characters in this film were far from flat.

  • Raymond

    I’m so glad to find other people who felt the same about this film. I finally watched it 2 weeks ago and was absolutely baffled why my experience with the film didnt match up with all the reviews it was receiving.
    The whole thing just struck me as a huge cliche ridden mess and the ending was the cherry on the cake.

  • matt holiga

    Thank you!! I completely agree with you on the hurt locker. It wasnt a bad movie, but it sure as hell wasnt a good movie. I liked the points you made in your review. I also dont understand what other people see in this film. I think it boils down to un-intelligent people who like to follow the crowd. Theres no hidden meaning, the main character is absurd ( not to mention stupid ), and there is no real plot! What do people actually like? I would love to know?

  • Madison

    @ james

    Am I a closet gay or a homophobe? Because being a closet gay homophobe is sort of contradictory, right?

    Glad you found the film’s dialogue “as real as reality can be,” whatever the hell that means.

  • Nina


    I think the purpose was solely to show the meaninglessness of the war in Iraq. James was the portrait of a man addicted to the thrill of always finding himself not knowing wether he’s going to live the whole day through or not.
    The cereal scene shows the contrast between the meaningless reality of a war (that is in many ways as anonymous as you describe regarding who the bad guys are and why they shoot at each other) and the trivial decisions that a normal life includes in this shopamaniac, consumer-stressed world we (developed countries) live in.

    I did like the movie, it was horrific in its way to just show us a completely meaningless way of life in a war noone really understands.

    //Nina, Sweden

  • Jon

    Average Film + Female Director + Ex-Wife Of James Cameron + March 8th National Womens Day + March: Women’s History Month = ACADEMY GOLD!!!

  • You’re all faggot hating americans! Absurd cliches of modern times, just like the movie depicted.

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  • ComfortableMadness

    Interesting. I finally saw this movies and I absolutely loved it. Obviously there’s quite a few of you here that did not like it but to each his own I suppose.

    The whole point of the movie, as far as I saw, was Sgt. William James. His whole “cool” “cheesy”, as many of you called it, wasn’t accepted. Especially by the men on his crew, Eldridge and Sanbourn. He’s the antithesis of the opening sequence team leader that Sanbourn refers to as “one hell of a team leader”. James cares about one thing, the thrill of war. What would have been cliche is that after Eldridge bitches about being shot James goes on to change his absolutely reckless style. He doesn’t. Which paints quite a tragic picture at the end of the movie when he talks to his baby about only being able to love one thing in life.

    As far as accurately depicting combat in Iraq….Well I didn’t go and rent this movie out of the documentary section so I’m not sure why thats such a big deal. Unless you went into with the expectations that it was a “real life” account of war in Iraq but if you did that its your fault not the filmakers.

    Jeremy Renner was brilliant and I loved his portrayal of Sgt. William James….

    In short …..I disagree with you on this one Madison.

  • ComfortableMadness

    @matt holiga

    “I think it boils down to un-intelligent people who like to follow the crowd. ”

    Yeah buddy. Good one. 21.4 million in ticket sales…Who’s the one following the crowd?

  • Madison

    @ ComfortableMadness

    Well, I’m glad you liked it. My problems with the movie – as you can see from my review – have ALWAYS been the substance itself, not whether or not it was accurate from a procedural standpoint.

    We can agree to disagree on this one. Thanks for reading.

  • Wikus

    What a disgusting excuse for a war movie. I agree with all the critics here especially the poor soldiers who have had to experience war in Iraq.

    I cannot say enough bad things about the *unreal*, idiotic, moronic things that happen in this movie. Others have done a good job summarizing some of the worst offenses.

    yah, given the chance to send in a robot or remotely detonate dangerous explosives …. lets just WALK in, start randomly pulling wires while the whole time not knowing how the device is rigged to detonate risking everyones’ lives. Why???? Because we are suicidal maniacs?

    What I would like to take issue with and focus on in my post is the disgusting political message of this movie. War is glorified as *cool* and soldiers are heroes that care for hostile civilians. The message is NOT verbal but told through their actions (and lack of) throughout the movie resulting in a politically motivated whitewashing of the reality of an INCREDIBLY difficult and dirty urban guerilla war.

    I read claims of the movie NOT being “political” What? Excuse me? Not political?

    Having finished this movie last night I was MOST disgusted with the innate political message of how CAREFULL and CARING American soldiers are around Iraqis. …

    We are to believe that given a combat situation of hostile Iraqis defending their home turf against an invading force….. the Americans are caring, understanding and treat them more gently than the Police handle protesters at a public protest or rally in Seattle or Washington ….. OMFG. Wow

    Please note I am NOT making a statement about how much American soldiers dislike Iraqis. What I am saying is even IF this sort of situation (a bomb disarmament scenario in a hostile environment with possible exchange of gun fire) occurs in the US, NOBODY in the world is going to treat the possibly hostile party like they do in this movie. Are real people all around the US REALLY this gullible ??

    Do the people who LIKED this movie not watch the news? Do they not read the papers? Do they not have any idea how hostile, violent and dangerous and confusing the Iraq war is? Do they not realize how many Iraqis are shot, imprisoned and beaten for even being SUSPECTED of being insurgents? Or the journalists, reporters, photographers and foreign diplomats shot up accidentally? Do they not realize how many Iraqis have died??? (50 thousand to million+ depending on study of choice) Do they not realize how many MILLIONS of Iraqis have had to flee the horror of war to neighboring dictatorships because of the American invasion and ensuing carnage???

    Yet in this movie the soldiers do not shoot first…. EVER. Not once in the whole movie. American soldiers care so much and show so much restraint, not shooting at any actually threatening Iraqis except in two or three actual *combat* scenes always *defending* themselves from attack after being fired upon. EVEN in the combat sequence in the desert the American soldier first politely asks his superior whether its ok to shoot the Iraqi on the bridge. The movie offers absolutely NO reasons for all these soldiers to be so caring given the situation!

    Ugh… They are absolutely fantastically benevolent and peaceful to the point of lunatic absurdity.

    You mean American soldiers REALLY care about Iraqis SOOOOO much they will not even shoot at a car that runs THROUGH a road block?????????? I think the Italians diplomats and countless Iraqi civilians and reporters shot up or killed *near* road blocks and check points might beg to differ as to whether this movie makes any *political* statements.

    You mean American soldiers care soooooo much about Iraqis that even when they SUSPECT one is holding a cell phone bomb trigger they do not shoot him dead?

    You mean American soldiers CARE so much about Iraqis, even boobietrapped/suicide live bomber vest clad Iraqis about to go off, that they will risk their lives to disarm them?


    Ummm sorry no to all of the above!! A real soldier will make the SANE and RATIONAL decision to protect him/her self and their fellow soldiers! The ignorant will die because of their mistakes or be disciplined by their peers. This is the PROFESSIONAL ARMY not the boyscouts where you get to do whatever you feel like. A few exceptions are believable but not to the extent this movie proposes!

    The movie glorifies macho hero stereotypes to such a degree of absurdity it makes one question ones sanity. At the same time it ignores the real stress and psychological anguish and horror of what soldiers have to live with during and after a war:

    increduble anguish, horror that warps and changes them forever, making return to a *normal* quiet peaceful life nearly impossible for many! They are no longer able to withdraw and pretend the world is a nice place like all of us can! They have experienced war and horror and KNOW and see terrible things and that horror is so massive it trivializes our peaceful reality…. 🙁 This movie is a HORRIBLE disservice to soldiers everywhere. Many suffer most horribly AFTER the war, left to deal with the trauma but no longer given a useful role. It is not a REAL choice but a DEFAULT choice they are forced into by our neglect of their plight. A plight that drives so many to suicide and others to return to the only jobs they are able to do: fighting and killing.

    To them war is not a *drug* as the central theme in the movie implies, it is a nightmare reality that they cling to because the only alternative (heroic GOOD wars) is our crazy denial of a horrible reality. That horrible reality is death, destruction and horror for all who participate in it.

    The lunacy for soldiers is that people and society are brainwashed with movies like this and propaganda that glorify war as heroic and cool excuse it as necessary. Granted, many other arguably good war movies still romanticise war but Hurt Locker tries to glorify it in a moronic and extreme way.

    Even John Waynes Wild Geese is better than this movie.

    For crying out loud, its not like there have not been enough wars in the past 100 years or enough veterans alive to talk to about *REAL* war to give the writers/directors/producers of this movie the excuse of ignorance when filming such lies! ARGH!

    And this movie won Best picture among many other
    Oscars? What colour is the sky in the Oscar world?

  • Mahesh Prasad

    I’m from India. I happened to view this movie. And I am not a military man. In one word ” Over rated “. Elaborated ” The most over rated movie ever “. The script was awful. The protagonist is good. But the story around him, wait, what did I say, the story???? Was there a story??

    I don’t know what happened to the people. Slum dog Millionaire was a another such example. Well , this one was definitely not Oscar worthy. This one shouldn’t be considered even as a good movie. You say ” Best war movie??? ” Go and watch “Saving Private Ryan” Now, that was good.

    Thumbs up to the person who wrote this review.

  • Alexio

    Why so surprised folks?

    Hollywood is just keeping up with the times, and is in zeitgeist to nominate women and minorities for awards, nevermind talent or even basic skills.

    “Kathryn Bigelow is the first woman ever to win an Academy Award for Best Director” See, doesn’t that sound good and right and politically correct? That’s the kind of headline that sells now days.

    Anyhoo, take a break from listening to Hollywood shitcannon and it’s politically motivated promotions and watch these movies, if you have, then watch them again:

    Der Untergang (Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel 2004)
    Das Boot (Directed by Wolfgang Petersen 1981)
    Stalingrad (Directed by Joseph Vilsmaier 1993)

  • buff

    in comparison Avatar is more realistic!

  • Matarij

    Thank you for confirming what I thought – this movie was terrible. I really didn’t care about any of the characters, and that, for me, is the death knell. Very disappointing.

  • rania

    I also googled “the hurt locker awful”. I will never get the oscars. It is surely a means to justify the war commerse and industry. Great thing he goes back to war, instead of having the guts to make something useful of himself in peace. How great..
    just another proof that hollywood is stupid. Looking forward to seeing the next oscar swiper, hoping to be something in the area of how to kill your personality and live good with that afterwards. But nah, its been extensively covered.

  • Scooter

    Great review. I Didn’t hate it I just didn’t care. The whole movie is cliche 80’s style. My favorite scene was the cereal isle but I though it was showing how a quick thinking bomb disposer who makes life and death decisions couldn’t even pick out cereal. Or, soldiers are generally told what to do and when he has to make a choice he’s completely lost without guidance. That’s a couple of takes on that scene but the rest of the movie was unrealistic. Lethal Weapon.Cobra, Rambo,Predator are fun action movie’s but don’t deserve Oscar trophies, neither should the Hurt Locker.

  • Kort212

    I’m so glad to see I’m not crazy!!! You people are ones of the few people who really see the movie the way it deserves, as a waste of time. I really think this movie was not even close to “black hawk down” that in my opinion is much better than this piece of boring shit.

    Thanks God, I’ve had taken everithing I wanted to say about this stupid “film”. I would like to be in front of those idiots who gave it the “oscar” to this shitty movie, I think “Planet nine of outer universe” (worst movie ever made) would have been a more appropiate oscar winner.


  • Michael

    The Hurt Locker was incredibly well acted but it fails for being completely unfocused. This is one of those “Wow… I just can’t wrap my head around what it all means, so it must be genius” type of movies. I mean, the shaky camera (did they run out of steadycams lol?) that clearly loses it’s touch after the opening sequence… The “intensity” of the bomb-disarming scenes, that of which, Inglourious Basterds tops this whole movie in just the first 20 minutes alone- with all dialogue… Documentary feel? Woman director? Genius, sheer genius. Uh, I mean, it has to be, right? Don’t be fooled. It is a slap in the face to Saving Private Ryan, We Were Soldiers, Platoon and many others to call this “one of the greatest war movies of all time”. Even for an independent film this one screams amateur all over. I mean, has anyone seen “Ink?”

    As for the Oscars Hurt Locker robbed far more deserving films. I already knew that it was going to win but I watched anyway, I just had to see it to believe it. It was unreal when this monstrosity ROBBED Inglourious Basterds of an EASY Screenplay award… then it went on and ROBBED Avatar of three EASY technical awards- Film Editing, Sound, and Sound mixing. I’m sorry but anyone with BASIC video editing skills could of edited Hurt Locker. There wasn’t much to edit. Just a random mix of scenes really- with no music to match and flow with. Compare that to the end battle sequence and opening of Avatar. Avatar had perfect film editing, not to mention a solid flow of pacing- even despite the story it was selling, all over it.

    Inglourious Basterds should of won Best Picture. Hurt Locker deserved recognition in the acting department but NO awards. As “bad” as Avatar was in the dialogue, even it deserved Best Picture when compared to The Hurt Locker.

    The Hurt Locker is indeed a new kind of low. As much as I disliked it, it’s “reasonable” to understand why Saving Private Ryan lost to something like Shakespeare in Love. This is something completely different. Truly shows how far the sensibility and cultural landscape of America has slipped.

  • Chris

    Brilliant review, I thought I was the only who spotted the hideously flawed military thinking in this film, and an EOD squad who see more action than the frontline army.

    Some of the scenes were truly superb (entry into the bomb factory and the suicide at the end stuck very much in my mind) but they were mired amongst such turgidly clichéd dross that their true impact was lost, in my opinion at least.

    I find that as soon as I stop being able to sympathise with a characters position, I stop caring what happens to them, and as soon as our resident ‘badass’ walked onto the screen trying to make a big and unnecessary impact I stopped being able to even slightly give a toss what happened to him, it’s just all so preposterous.

  • Joe m

    Terrible movie.. I cant believe that this movie won awards and got such high ratings.

    For some reason it reminded alot of The Messenger, which equally sucked.

    Bring back the good war movies, like Saving Private Ryan and Platoon.

    Jeez, ive never comented on a movie review in my life till now…
    Glad to see that others thought the same way.. Figured I may have missed something, but apparantly I didnt.

  • Rachel

    THANK YOU! for writing this review. I can honestly say I agree with all points except for the good ones! I am in the process of watching this movie and there’s not plot! I keep waiting for something to happen that has some sort of meaning with a story line and I’ve got nothin….

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  • jon

    Well I noticed most of what your pointing out here as well. I didn’t see it as an 80’s action movie so much as just having alot of cliche moments in it.

    The Hurt Locker = Jarhead

    Both of these movies sucked…… and here is why I hated them.

    They are both advertised as movies that show “what it is really like to be in the military”. They are both PRAISED before anyone has really had a chance to sink their teeth into them as great movies…..and it seem to me like the “right” people are giving the positive reviews the day of the release about how “realistic” these movies are.

    That pisses me off, it seems to be the worst kind of rigged media bullshit ever. Being in the military myself I can tell you that nothing pisses us off more than hearing how good a movie represents war only to find out that its just your typical bullshit.

    If you want to see the best war movie ever watch either Band of Brothers or Kelly’s Heroes.

  • Seannay

    i think its a rather good movie… not the usual hollywood popcorn movie for the masses. no i think this movie has got a tinge of italian neorealism to it implicitly linking ww2 to the iraqi war. its got a political stance to it – critiquing america’s involvement in the war. thus there is no redeeming qualities in the movie. james is not portrayed as the stereotypical rule breaking hardman hero. that stereotype was broken when he failed in almost everything he did. he failed to save the suicide bomber, caused owen to be injured, used a redundant smoke grenade just to get the kick of the war. nope he is a failed hero. compare the film with rosalini’s paisan and you will see the similarities.

  • Grant

    You sir, are clearly retarded.

  • Jim

    I watched it, expecting quite a bit since it was after all the big oscar winner. But both me and my father were dissapointed. I just don’t see what all the fuss is about. It’s half decent, not more.

  • Mahesh

    Hey, just look at the comments………….the comments are 90% negative here…………thank God………..I am finally happy…………..I now understand there are humans out there………………………..What I do not understand is this…………….here 90% people have given negative reviews………then how come the reviews are generally positive for this utter waste of a film and how was it ever nominated for an OSCAR and Golden Globe?

  • Thank god I’ve finally found people who think this movie was simply awful, you state as do some comments on here that ‘the film on the whole was good…but’ personally I thought it was one of the worst films I’ve ever seen! If Bigelow had done the usual war/action film she might of been ok, but the fact that everyone out their keeps calling it a documentary film just makes it even worse. Putting aside the cheesy dialogue, the one dimensional characters, the non-existant plot, all of which are bad enough, the sheer far-fetchedness of it and the editing were terrible.
    Ralph Fiennes and his SAS/mercenary team are made out to be useless buffoons who, quite literally haven’t got the brains to change a tyre. The sniper scene kicks in with James shooting at a guy at a window which he misses by meters but then somehow hits a guy in the head while he’s running. The film carries on in this farcical way with James’ crappy attitude being a main feature of the film (an attitude which would get you sent home with the first day like throwing smoke bombs and not answering your team over the radio (the bad-ass goes it alone and to hell with the consequences)
    War is hell…I got that! It changes you, you become desensitised to normal life and this is what has happened to James’….but that’s all I got from it. Why is everyone raving about this film? Did I see a different version or what???

  • Unreal BS

    I avoided this movie for a long time because I heard of how realistic it was. Being an OIF vet, I figured I wouldn’t handle it well. Well, after watching 15 mins, I realized it’s as realistic as Starship Troopers. After 30 mins I realized it’s a piece of crap and turned it off. I guess I won’t be watching it.

  • Jonathan

    I couldn’t disagree more. It seemed like a perfect and very realistic portrayal of a war. I personally loved the movie.

  • RevAlBrown

    @ Jonathan:

    … I’m kind of speechless by your remark, but can’t just let it go, so I’ll try to form some syllables here. You “couldn’t disagree more” ?? With actual military personnel TELLING you that this movie is the most inaccurate, insane, unrealistic piece-of-shit portrayal of war AND soldiers, you state “It seemed like a perfect and very realistic portrayal of war.”

    I read through this entire column of comments, and I only felt the need to respond to one dumbass 2-cent deposit. That would be yours. It’s absolutely absurd for a sentient, thoughtful human being to EVER think Hollywood got something right when the actual men and women on the front lines – and their families – say, “Um, no… it’s not like that at all.”

    I didn’t wanna have to go after you like this, but geezus h, Jonathan, you couldn’t possibly have said anything more blatantly ignorant. I really wish they’d stop making this war fiction crap because more people will see this (and think it’s true) than actually take the time to talk to a soldier, a marine, a vet – maybe even thank them for doing a job the rest of us simply won’t do.

    Tl;dr: Jonathan, shut up.

  • Isaiah

    The Hurt Locker was just on FX. I expected a great movie from all the great reviews I heard when it first came out. It took until the sniper scene for me to change the channel. So….they come to the rescue of some British Special Ops unit…probably the SAS…and save them while the SAS guys are hiding…am I getting this right? Ok…let’s say they’re contractors, not an ELITE military unit. Contractors running around dressed as locals are usually ex-badasses. GREAT realism in that scene…. What a bullshit movie.

    By the way, my credentials before someone wants to say “you don’t know what the military is like”

    Afghanistan 2002, Iraq 2005, 2007, and 2009. Again…this movie is BULLSHIT.

  • mike

    If this movie had been presented as hyperbole like “Johnny Got His Gun” or “Dr. Strangelove” it might have been brilliant, but unfortunately it was a feature length suspension of suspension of disbelief. The main charachter would have been court martialed for his behavior in his first scene. A non-movie.

  • Alan Jones

    I am an ex soldier and now a psychotherapist. None of this film was the tiniest bit believeable. It took me three attempts toa actually watch to the end it was so stupid. It took 15 million at the box office which is nothing (Avatar took 760 million) People voted with their feet and stayed away in droves

  • Fred Garvin

    I thought this movie was a brilliant bizarre metaphor about the horrors of war like “Johnny Got His Gun” until towards the end when I realized we were meant to accept this as reality. Right up there with “Crash” (not Cronenburg’s Crash, the oscar winning “Crash”) as one of the worst films ever made.