Will ‘The Hurt Locker’ Be Boring?

Published 6 years ago by , Updated July 14th, 2011 at 10:53 am,

The Hurt Locker explosion still 570x3201 Will The Hurt Locker Be Boring?

While at the Summit Entertainment panel at the NYCC this weekend, I watched an exclusive clip from Katherine Bigelow’s film The Hurt Locker.  It left me unimpressed and indifferent – which goes against everything I’ve heard about this film.

The film is about an Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) team stationed in Iraq.  They go around disarming bombs.  That’s it.  I know the premise is sort of dismal, but being the stationed bomb squad in a war torn city usually means things end up being intense.

Spoilers ahead based on the footage shown…







Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner) and the EOD are called in to check out a suspicious car engulfed in flames.  His squad keeps him covered, watching the surrounding buildings for suspicious characters, while James approaches the vehicle in full body armor.

After kicking the trunk a few times, James opens it to find it filled with explosives.  He walks away, takes off the armor and puts on a headset.  He lets us know if he has to die, then he wants to do it comfortably.  We watch him tear apart the car looking for the detonator.

James’ commanding officer notices men acting strangely from the buildings above and orders James to stop what he is doing.  The surrounding buildings have been evacuated and there is apparently no longer a threat to civilians.

James takes off his headset and throws it, and he continues to search the car until he finds what he’s looking for.  As this is happening, there are quick cuts from his teams onto men watching them from the surrounding balconies, heightening the tension.  We realize that James’ cavalier attitude could not only get himself, but his team injured – or worse, killed.

When he’s done he goes back to the team’s Hummer where he plays with the bomb’s detonation device.  Our attention is quickly diverted by the fact that he’s confronted by his sergeant about his reckless behavior with a right cross.






Everything I needed to know about the film was displayed in the clip except for the bigger picture of the film.  I suppose this should leave me with the desire to see the entire film, but I’m not so sure.  The one thing that did make the film entirely more interesting was something actor Jeremy Renner said during the panel Q&A, regarding the relationship between his character and terrorists:

“(James) starts to collect the things that almost killed him and in doing this he begins to gain a respect for the bomb makers.”

This simple plot twist, mixed with the fact that James is an adrenaline junkie could prove to make the difference in this action film.  Which is something else Renner pointed out:

“It is not an Iraq war film.  It’s an action movie.  It’s here to entertain.  The Iraq war is a backdrop.  You follow their plight, these people doing a really interesting job in Iraq.  It educates me, as well as any.  This movie could be about any three bullriders and how they approach a really dangerous job.”

Perhaps, in defense of the film, the clip wasn’t an all encompassing teaser that ends up ruining the broader aspects of the plot.  I do, however, like the premise that the main character starts to respect the terrorists because they are fueling the necessity of his job.

If the plot itself can withhold changing the jobs of the main characters then it’s probably worth seeing.  Then again, I’ve been wrong before.  I guess I’ll have to wait and see the outcome when this film comes out later this year.

There is no release date at this time for The Hurt Locker.

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  1. Yes Andrew, really. I moderate comments here at Screen Rant. If someone is being an obvious troll (plus posting using multiple usernames to defend their own position) and their comments aren’t contributing to the conversation, yes, I will stop it.

    Why do you think the conversations here at Screen Rant don’t get out of control like they do on most every other movie site?

    My house, my rules.


  2. Andrew,

    I DO encourage INTELLIGENT discussion and dialog here. Ask ANY of my regular readers.


  3. @ I’m being gracious in allowing you to continue to beat a dead horse.

    For now.

    Really? If a conversation is something you don’t like or find repetitive you’re going to use your editorial power to somehow stop it or stifle it? Or were you just being facetious?

  4. Seriously Windsor, you’re not as naive as you pretend to be are you? You KNOW there are plenty of people who will take in any movie about Iraq or Afghanistan now and if it has a strong pro or anti message the supporters of that message would go “see, that really happens over there!” If you really believe nobody over 15 does this… then you’re just not very observant…

  5. Well, definitely moderation is fine and obviously necessary. But the conversation above seems pretty harmless. It’s two or three people having a discussion. If they were name calling and attacking personally, that would be one thing, but banning people and deleting debate comments (even if you think they are repetitive) seems odd.

    Instead, why don’t you try encouraging discussion and debate and helping to steer it in a positive direction rather than trying to stifle it?

  6. LOL, I love you RowThree guys but you sure are dogpiling on me here. 😛


  7. I’m a firm believer in freedom of speech, no matter how annoying. *shrugs* I guess I just have a pretty good filter for ignoring comments that would otherwise get on my nerves.

    Anyway: Guy Pearce, Ralph Fiennes, David Morse in one movie? Enough said!

  8. Heh… I wonder what site that would be? Haven’t heard anything. :-)

    Anyway, I feel like you guys (especially Kurt) are the polar opposite of Screen Rant. 😛


  9. We were all pretty much banned from another certain site, so we had to come somewhere to “rant”.


  10. @Jo I never said I wouldn’t see this movie, but mostly I wanted to know why they used clip that made the movie seem not only silly, but trite and pointless. When I see a spoiler I want just a little something to be dangled in front of my face so I can’t help but want to bite.

    This could easily be the best movie I will ever see in my life, but from what I saw it looked like a pile of dog turds. Just saying.

  11. I’ve seen the movie and it was pretty good. Not the best war movie, but a great thinker movie all the same. It reminded me of ‘Jarhead’ at some certain points. Soldiers doing their job, and the movie takes more of a direct look at the psychological point of view.

    For the record, it was rather un-realistic at a lot of parts, but the scene here wasn’t really. I don’t know whats war like, only the men and woman who were there can do so, but for me, as a viewer it felt fairly accurate with some exceptions here and there. There were no lame speeches, like whats his face said, the “Are you with me?” speech, or anything like that never came up. The ending speech was good, it hit it home for me. I just wish the ending wasn’t so…sudden.

    Rent it, watch it, own it if you want. All in all, not bad.

    Oh, and the main character, James, really looks nothing like that in the movie. Weird…

  12. Ken: I’m an EOD tech. I and my guys all keep our hair long. One of my E7s worked with SF on the last tour and grew his beard out to look like them.

    Also, I don’t know that it’s unrealistic to take off your bomb suit. Plenty of guys I know (myself included) will take off at least the helmet and jacket to work on large IEDs because a) it hinders movement; and b) if it goes then a bomb suit won’t protect you anyway.

  13. @ Nick

    I understand about SF’s being allowed to keep hair that way, but didn’t know EOD would allow for it either… typically, it seemed to me that the non-infantry MOS’s seemed very strict and picky about the whole uniform and grooming thing.

    And about the helmet and suit thing, that’s not the way that scene is described. It sounded like he was just trying to be “cool” and wanted to act like a rebel and disobey orders. It’s not like he said “I need these off so I can better access the IED.” Instead he just takes it off from the get-go and makes it known that he wants to go “comfortably.” Of course, this is all after he kicks the car a few times, was he trying to see if it’ll blow up or something? I am not, nor was I ever in EOD (nor would I want to be, lol) can you tell me if this is SOP?

    Maybe one day we’ll have remote-controlled T-800’s do all of the dirty work… no wait, no, bad idea… 😀

  14. I would never kick anything on an incident. Then again, given the nature of our field and that the bad guys often use movies as a source of intel, I’m not so upset when Hollywood gets my particular job wrong.

  15. Good point Nick. And bless you for picking that particular MOS. It’s probably the most dangerous one out there, but somebody has to do it. You’re either one that is brave enough or dumb enough, or both, lol. Whichever the reason, be safe out there man. 😀

  16. I just finished watching this movie, and as a service member currently in Iraq, I thought is was pretty good overall. Some parts were very realistic of the situation here (at least it was 2 years ago) but other parts did stretch credibility (the scene in particular when he goes off on his own). However, the clip in question was very well done, and the character taking off his bomb suit made sense, as no bomb suit is going to protect you when there are 10 155mm rounds wired in the trunk. Also, he wasn’t kicking the car to see if it would go off, but to try to get the trunk open. The movie was neither pro or anti war from what I could tell, just a fictional story of an EOD soldier in IZ.

  17. That’s good to hear Cliff. I’m sure you understand me being skeptical about any movie about the Iraq war, seeing as how hollywood tends to be about it. But about him taking off his vest, I understand that reasoning, but from how it is described here, that’s not HIS reasoning in the movie. Sure they could have inadvertantly stumbled onto something that might make sense, but whether that was their intention, that’s a different story. The way his attitude toward it was described, it just seemed like he was doing it simply to be defiant and to seem more “cool” about it. It wasn’t like he justified it the way you guys did…

  18. I think the quote the character made when he took off his gear was “If I’m going to die, I want to die being comfortable,” which he said right after he saw the 10 rounds in the trunk and knew he wouldn’t survive if it went off, suit or no suit. But you’re right, he was a maverick throughout the movie, and was doing everything possible to piss off his team. Actually, a lot of the stuff he did he would have been court martialed for. But I still found it entertaining, if not totally realistic.