Can't get over The Hurt

A cowboy walks into a rough town. The bad guys have struck again and the town has just buried the fifth sheriff and the local cemetery officially has a five star tag. The cowboy is the fastest gun in the Wild West and when all the bad guys are shooting at him none of their bullets are on target but all it takes for him is one bullet, one bad guy. No, he is not lucky. He has balls of iron and… You get the drift: It is the classic Western. It is classic Hollywood. It is classic Formula. And you have seen them all.

Including the latest: 'The Hurt Locker'.

Sorry. Oscar-sweep notwithstanding, that’s what 'The Hurt Locker' is. How a cowboy walks into Baghdad and single-handedly, breaking all rules of engaging terrorists and bomb-planters, keeps defusing bomb after improvised bomb with the unerring aim of The Cowboy. In a rather gritty sequence, this bomb disposal cowboy also shows he is a quintessential (a word that means, ‘the guy who finds it essential to squint through the sights of a gun for a living), cowboy by, you guessed it, taking out an enemy sniper with dead-on-target marksmanship.

Did someone say realism? Here’s an excellent link that debunks the realism of 'The Hurt Locker' in one simple post.

Arty, that’s the word you are looking for. Not realism. 'The Hurt Locker' is Rambo in arty camouflage.

It is also Superman, Spiderman, Batman all rolled into one. Except here, the hero removes his costume/uniform to exhibit his balls of iron. (There is something strange about that metaphor, but I don’t want to touch it.)

Then again, balls of iron might not be an asset in hot Iraq.

All in all, 'The Hurt Locker' is the classic Hollywood story of Ordinary Joe. Of how one Bruce Willis, Sly Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger takes on the bad guys and emerges triumphant and in doing so reinforces your faith in the Great Formula Movie. 

When in reality it is a movie that romanticises war by creating super heroes and over-simplified solutions where there are none.

Now for 'The Hurt Locker’s' Oscar competitor with equal number of nominations, 'Avatar': I haven’t seen it. I will see it when I forgive James Cameroon for 'Titanic'.


  1. Haha. Perfectly agree. Most so because it uncannily reflects my exact thoughts in the post about the Oscars I did about a month back. Glad to know I'm not alone.


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