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. The clip you saw sounds pretty stupid from the spoiler you posted. And then growing to respect the terrorists? That’s got stupid written all over it.

  2. @Mandarr

    Can’t say I disagree about the “respect” thing – and that’ll go over like a ton of bricks here in the U.S.


  3. Sounds duuuummmmmbb. If you know how the real EOD operates, you know all of that kicking the bumper, taking off his armor, and throwing his headset is typical cliche hollywood BS. A lot of IED’s are detonated remotely, actually most are. So searching the car for it like that is pretty stupid and reckless. Most of the time they get a robot to set a detonating charge under the IED or close to it and simply blow it up so at least it’s blown up planned, meaning they could evacuate everyone and make sure the area is safe, better than it blowing up when the enemy wants it to…

    Also, find me a unit that let’s their soldiers keep hair like that. Typical Hollywood BS.

  4. @Ken

    That was funny, that’s exactly what I would’ve said a while ago, but then people go around saying there’s no creativity in hollywood… well how do you expect to have creativity and make it real, I don’t think people have made that conclusion yet.

    Back to the topic, I have seen it so I don’t want to say anything and possibly spoil or hype the move for people who want to see it. otherwise I would state my opinion on where they went right and wrong.

  5. @aGeneral

    Frankly, making a realistic movie WILL be creative since no other big Hollywood movie does it… :-)

  6. I’ve seen The Hurt Locker and it is NOT boring. It’s an intense and authentic look at the war in Iraq. It is definitely the best film about the current war. I have obviously not been over there, but it seemed ultra-realistic. I highly recommend seeing it in a festival or when it hits theaters later this year.

  7. I’d say no war movies are truly authentic UNLESS the filmmaker was there. Then again, there are consultants who help out (to be fair). I interviewed a WW2 vet a few years ago, and he was at the Battle of the Bulge. He said Private Ryan came close, but he said there’s NEVER any moments of silence.

    He told me horrific things that shocked me, and made me realize that nothing in Hollywood could match what really happened, and not be rated NC-17 for violence.

    I’m not being anti- or pro-war here, just saying that Hollywood will glamorize it (older war films) or condemn it (1980s Nam movies, the current Iraq War movies). But they won’t come close.

    I guess what kinda pisses me off about the war movies of today is that most of these people didn’t go over, and don’t seem to talk to consultants as much. My cousin did, and he’s proud of his service. A lot of people have family that went over and they HATE these movies.


  8. What I really hate about movies that are supposed to be based on real life is all of the typical hollywood dramatic pauses. As in pauses in the action so conveniently the main characters can get into some dramatic dialogue. The whole “Are you with me?” speach that’s present in just about ever action movie that you will probably never hear in real life…

    @ Jordan Raup

    I don’t know, if that little section described here is in the movie, I can’t see how it’s realistic. Unless that was all a dream sequence or something…

  9. @Lisa

    Where does this article state that it’s a review of the film? It’s an opinion piece based on the footage that was shown. If the overall film works better than the scene that was shown, that’s great – but don’t accuse us of writing an entire movie review for a film we haven’t seen.


  10. LOL, yes Lisa, continue to make yourself look good.

    Stalker? ROFLMAO! I was trying to have a reasonable discussion with you in hopes of making you see we’re not one sided. Obviously you are of a certain political persuasion that believes in free speech – as long as it agrees with your point of view.

    AGAIN, I point out that I didn’t delete your comment out of hand and was nothing but respectful and polite in my replies to you.


  11. Oh, and by the way – you’re so astute that you never even noticed that *I* didn’t write this article, it was one of my writers, Sabrina.


  12. Ok, ok, let’s do this. I said it was boring because the clip I saw almost made me get up and leave the Summit Entertainment Panel. I know I am not the only person that felt this way because some guy I have never met before in my life turned to me and asked, “Is that it? It seemed boring.” Thanks dude for confirming what I already knew.

    That being said, I said the clip I saw was boring. This is very similar to going on a first date with someone and having something like coffee and thinking, “Boy this guy is a bore.” Then later you realize that they are not that boring at all after enduring a real date. And then they take you to city dump to shoot at things and you wake up in the back of their car naked. It’s all unexpected, but a welcome change from boring.

    I’ve written movie reviews for years. This isn’t a review. It’s news. The only reason there was a spoiler there is because people’s faces explode all over the place if you do not tip them off about certain things when you are talking about a clip from a movie they have yet to see. At the end, I editorialized and said I thought the piece was boring. It was boring to me. What’s incredibly interesting is that I also said it might not be an accurate depiction of this entire film since it was a 10 minute clip.

    Lisa, I’d like to take this time to thank you for being a female version of the sort of creature that makes the internet endlessly entertaining. Although, next time I would like for you to put your grownup hat on and read the entire article before you start jumping to conclusions like an 8-year-old.

    Peace out.

  13. So basically I’m guessing the film is an anti-Iraq film and that’s why someone as clueless as this Lisa person loved it and basically for no other reason.

    Because for me, I don’t care what happens in the rest of the film, the scene that was described from this “spoiler” is utterly unrealistic and stupid. If this scene was in the movie, and the movie makers felt this is worthy to show people as a preview to the film, then that means this is what the movie makers consider “realistic.” So I would expect the same level of realism in the rest of the movie, which is basically NONE. And just seeing how they got the main character looking, with that hair and without his headgear on…

    Sooooooo, it’s crap.

    But the funniest thing is Lisa STILL doesn’t understand the very simple concept Vic tried to explain to her over and over, is that this is not a MOVIE REVIEW, this was just the author’s impressions based on the small clip she saw. The ONLY thing Vic is trying to point out to Lisa is to not cricize this article as a movie review since it’s not a movie review.

    That’s it, so simple, I got that from his first response, yet it takes 3 responses and several comments and I bet Lisa’s still scratching her head in confusion as to what everyone’s griping about…

    Sometimes I don’t understand how some people’s brain works. I wish I can jump into their mind to see how a slow thought process happens…

  14. I’ve heard (From folks whose opinions I respect) That The HURT LOCKER is Bigelow back in fine form, and one of the best post-2003 Iraq films out there. I’m really looking forward to this one.

  15. It would be easy to watch Ken since it takes so long for the thought to form. Like a bad macro disney animation!

  16. I don’t really get Lisa’s argument about her free speech being stifled, etc. She made a point and someone else engaged that point (respectfully and thoughtfully). I don’t get the “total 100 percent submission” comment.

    Feel free to debate openly Lisa. But since you’re not able to do that, you email the editor of the web site (who didn’t even write the post) to chastise him? As far as I can tell from what is above, your comments were not deleted or manipulated in any way.

    Lastly, you’re going to sit there and tell me that as an “open minded film watcher” you’ve never seen a trailer or a clip from a film and thought to yourself, “wow, that looks really good.” Or “I think that movie looks kind of stupid. I’ll wait to see more before I pay ten bucks for that!”? Please. Get of your high horse.

  17. I disagree with the authors here ALL THE FREAKIN time, you guys know this, I can be quite annoying, lol. But I’ve found that the people here don’t have self esteem issues so they take criticism quite well. Unlike a certain somebody from another movie site that gets his panties all in a bunch when I disagree with him, lol. Oh well, this one is better anyway, they usually get stories after they’ve been here for a week… 😀

  18. Nah, don’t need to watch political message movies made by people who have no clue of what’s really going on.

  19. et tu Ken J? “The Blind leading the Blind” LOL

  20. Yah, you’re right, the blind (makers of this movie) are trying to lead the blind (watchers of this movie.) 😛

    just kidding, haha

  21. Ken, don’t tell me that when watching Star Wars from the first time you said “Bull@#$%, George Lucas can’t know what happened a long time ago in a galaxy far far away!” and switched it off. =) The scene from the trailer is in the movie because it was in the script, which is, of course, absolutely fictional. It just has to be there, because the writer has something to tell you with it. Even if I was a reality junkie I still would give the movie a chance to see if it can entertain me, so give it a try =)

    Actually the movie is not anti-war or pro-war or anything, it doesn’t even have definite antagonists, it just tells you a (fictional) story and maybe evokes some familiar feelings that come to a complete circle only when the credits show up on screen. It’s definitely a must see for everyone who admires the military in some way.

    And, come on, dismissing a movie because of unrealistic haircuts and wrong markings on replacement tires of vehicles is not serious. It still can yield you something to remember it by, can’t it? =)

  22. @Jo/Lisa

    Let it go, will you? There are trailers we’ve run for movies on this site that I’ve had no intention of seeing.

    Last time I checked it’s still a free country, and we can all decide which movies to see. We’ve run trailers for movies here that look like crap, and turn out to be crap. In my experience it’s VERY rare that a bad trailer portends a great movie – usually it’s the opposite, where they craftily assemble a trailer and make a movie look good that in fact turns out to be lame (and before you go nuts, I’m not saying that’s the case here).

    I don’t think Sabrina said that she would definitely not go see it based on the footage, so you need to just chill out. I’m getting tired of your comments, honestly – they’re getting quite repetitive and I’m being gracious in allowing you to continue to beat a dead horse.

    For now.


  23. Um, yes John Windsor. It’s completely a good comparison to compare a sci fi movie based on a fictional setting and time to a movie that is supposed to be about a real military occupation set in current time in an ongoing conflict. I’m sure the movie maker had absolutely no intent for watchers to believe that this kind of thing happens in the real Iraq conflict. Yep, good show. You’ve told me…

  24. Ken, you know there is a 1986 movie called “The Delta Force”, with Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin? I’m sure you can imagine how hard would a real SFOD-D member laugh if you asked him about that movie. =) Sci fi or not, but any movie is fictional. Let’s say I don’t know anybody beyond the age of 15 that would go watch the Hurt Locker (or any other Hollywood movie) to get an idea about what’s actually going on in the real world. Some would watch CNN for that purpose, some would probably buy a ticket to Iraq to get the real idea. When you watch a movie you know it’s a movie, you don’t expect to see any truth, just a made up story with made up characters.

    On the other hand, I perfectly see your point. I myself sometimes get annoyed when I see a movie that tries to feed you a pile of bull as if it’s true. I can say that this movie is not the case for me. It doesn’t try to feed you anything and doesn’t try to convince you that it’s real, it just shows you something. Anyway, I’m really interested in your opinion after you have watched it, so I hope you’ll do. It’s not a storytelling masterpiece, but it does have a certain value.