If you have ever watched an action movie with a Veteran I am sure you have heard something like, “F#&k that, it doesn’t look like that”, or “Really?! A giant ball of fire…”. On a regular basis hollywood either unintentionally gets action scenes wrong, or they just don’t care enough to get them right. With so many combat Veterans readily available, it’s hard to understand how this trend goes on. This could be said for a lot of fields: firefighter, police, contractors, nurses, doctors, etc, etc.
Is it really that big of a deal? Well I always found it strange when a movie geared towards the Veteran/Hunter/Outdoor/etc didn’t bother with authenticity. I mean, if you were trying to market towards baseball fans wouldn’t you get all the details about baseball correct? I also think it is a matter of respect. Especially when you are attempting to depict events that have actually taken place. I get that there is, and always will be, a market for cheesy action movies, hell I like cheesy actions movies also. However, when trying to create an authentic experience, the attention to detail is paramount.
Lets take a look at three examples: claymore, rocket (RPG/AT4), and grenade. Then we will see how they actually look.
Hollywood Claymore: (Video from the movie Swordfish, retrieved from Movieclips YouTube channel).
Hollywood Grenade: (Video from the movie Missing in Action, retrieved from Movieclips YouTube channel).
Hollywood Rocket: (Video from the movie White House Down, retrieved from Movieclips coming soon YouTube channel).
Now here we have some good old 11B’s (Infantry) operating out of FOB RamRod, in Afghanistan. The NCOs are conducting training on the claymore, AT4, and hand grenade. (Video was filmed by SGT Canaan Radcliffe, retrieved from Daily Military Defense & Archive YouTube channel).
We can immediately see major differences, at least I hope you can. This article won’t convince Hollywood to change its ways. However, I hope it can help you better understand the Veteran (firefighter, police, contractors, nurses, doctors, etc, etc.) in your life. Maybe after seeing this, you could even agree with him/her.
In closing I would like to mention that there are some movies which were extremely accurate, and deserve praise for their efforts. Band of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, Jarhead, Full Metal Jacket (boot camp anyway), Black Hawk Down (depiction of soldiers), American Sniper (transition(s) home), all did a great job. Some of these movies captured a part, and others captured the entire experiences authentically.
Did I miss any realistic action/war movies? Let me know about it in the comment section below.
(Featured image courtesy of forbes.com)