The Hurt Locker

February 19th, 2010

Hmm. It was good, but not nearly as good as I was expecting, given all the excellent reviews I’d read.

It was well made, it was well acted, but it didn’t seem to offer anything particularly new in the way it was put together, and for me the occasional slow motion shot didn’t help with the general tone of wobbly-gritty-news-o-vision. As if someone was determined to be harshly realistic but couldn’t resist going just the slightest bit Vin Diesel on its ass.

I like that it otherwise portrayed modern warfare as an admirably unglamorous, boring, terrifying, meaningless, random mess, but I’m not convinced it did anything that Generation Kill didn’t do way better.

Hmm. If I’d heard nothing about it I’d probably have been wowed, but given I’d heard so much, I was a little disappointed. Still good, though.

Posted in film and tv by Joe Abercrombie on February 19th, 2010.

18 comments so far

  • Anonymous says:

    Generation kill lite. Not as edgy, funny, dark or violent as generation kill. Some of the decision / choices he made didn't feel real and took me out of the moment. The sas episode was strange and again tooke out the moment.


  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I fear HBO have spoiled traditional war stories for me with the supreme quality of Band of Brothers and now they've done the same with revisionist ones with Generation Kill. Curse their Ultra-High quality televisual output!

  • Elena says:

    I thought it was great for about 25 minutes. Then it just got stupid and unrealistic (about the time they met the british commandos) and went from being the potential defining Iraq war movie to an overblown overhyped POS. In my uncontentious and unpretentious opinion. 🙂

  • Swainson says:

    I am just finishing watching Band of Brothers for the Nth time. Very good indeed.

    HBO seemed to have jumped the shark with True Blood. I've got 5 episodes in and I still can't find a plot.

    Thanks for reminding me about Generation Kill.

  • Anonymous says:

    Another movie I won't be seeing due to the use of the "wobbly" cameras. Massive headaches.

  • kellytobin says:

    I understand why directors and DOPs decide to go with shaky cam, but for all that it's realistic and adds style and whatnot, I physically can not watch it. I sat in the cinema during the third Bourne movie with my eyes shut, fighting nausea whenever I opened my eyes. It just ruins the movie for me.

  • DRFP says:

    Haven't seen "The Hurt Locker" or even "Generation Kill" (which I've heard mixed things about).

    But since reading Michael Herr's amazing "Dispatches" I've been on a Vietnam bent. All the good stuff in film and book from "In The Year of the Pig" to "A Rumour of War". Some pretty brutal portrayals of war there.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    To be fair, I can think of far worse offenders as far as the wobbling goes.

    mixed opinions on Generation Kill? For real? I thought it was great.

  • Tyson says:

    Thanks for the warning about the shaky cam. I can't watch those movies.

    And True Blood rocks. Plot of the first season is that someone is killing women who associate with vampires.

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree, it was very "meh" to me as well. Especially with the oscar buzz. Avatar has it me thinks. Im not sure what the point of Hurt Locker was. All I know is that any guy that leaves Evangeline Lilly and child, and the prospect of making more babies with Evangeline Lilly, is not too bright!

  • DRFP says:


    I haven't seen "Generation Kill" myself. Two friends of mine, whose opinions are usually very similar to mine, were both rather lukewarm to the show. I have gone out of my way to watch as a result.

    I don't know, my friends are big fans of "The Wire" and maybe they felt GK wasn't quite on the same level?

    Regardless, with all the positive opinions here I'll put the series onto my "to watch" list.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I agree with your friends that Generation Kill is not as good as the Wire, but not as good as The Wire is a broad category that includes everything ever.

  • Choo Choo says:

    I just read HELLA NATION, a book Evan Wright published recently. There is some military stuff in it–about 101st Airborne troops in Afghanistan– but mostly it's writing he did for Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair about Americans, from Anarchists to Ultimate Fighters to some pretty insane stuff about Hollywood. A lot of the writing in HELLA NATION has the same darkness and humor and oddball characters as Generation Kill. Wright also goes into his background writing at Hustler, which he mentions in Generation Kill, but here it's much more personal. His essay about the porn industry is definitely creepy and fascinating. HELLA is very much the same writing as Generation Kill, but the subjects are very different.

  • Jimmy Two Times says:

    On the subject of good TV, I'm immensely enjoying the new series Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

    The politics, intrigue and raw brutality of HBO's Rome, and the production values of 300..

  • Anonymous says:

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who was a little underwhelmed by this film.
    Joe, you may not know what you're talking about when it comes to Tarantino but I'd say you summed this film up well enough.

    I thought the script was lacking somewhat in a few places. Like where the psychiatrist goes to see the young soldier when he's playing on the playstation and the soldier's all "blah no-one knows blah fucking blah blah!" I don't mean that to sound callous, I'm sure those people out there have a nightmare of a time that I can't even imagine but the dialogue in that scene just made me cringe.


  • Cypher Outcast says:

    I am RIGHT THERE with you on this. Saw the movie before the hype really started on it, and I was surprised at it. It's just not that impressive. It was actually boring to a large degree. And while I always appreciate a film that depicts soldiers in a realistic manner (I'm an Army veteran), this was just… blah.

  • Anonymous says:

    Secretly pleased to hear this. Thought it was just me feeling underwhelmed.

    In other news–tried to email you, Joe, but that email don't work no more….? Sent it to your people instead. Hope it gets forwarded.

    Garret D

  • The Picaroony says:

    I concur ….watched Generation Kill and Hurt Locker around the same time. Then when all the hype bubbled up about Hurt Locker I couldnt for the life of me figure out what everyone was ranting about ….i thought i’d watched a different movie because my memories of it were drowned out by GK.

    I had high hopes for Skarsgard as Thor but when it was given to that feckin slit-eyed Home & Away lump I thought …Captain American …he could do it …maybe even better.

    Ah well…


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