When The Hurt Locker is firing on all cylinders, it generated in me the nervous tension I used to get playing Perfection. Remember that game? Trying to put all those fucking rhombuses, trapezoids and what-not in the correct slot before the whole board exploded in your face?
I remember the exact point in every round of Perfection where I’d bail- there was no way I was going to finish, so I just backed off. Who wants a game that explodes if you don’t win? For that matter, who likes Jack In the Box (the toy, not the fast food)? What is the upside to listening to creepy calliope music while turning a crank only to have a creepy clown demon to spring forth?
A Jack in the Box does cameo in The Hurt Locker, which details the final 40 or so days in a tour of duty for some bomb diffusers in current day Iraq. And yeah, there are times when you are watching these guys do the whole “red wire/blue wire” situation, just waiting for them to get blown to smithereens (which happens from time to time in this movie).
When this is going on, you do find yourself perched on the edge of your seat. And I did like the movie, don’t misread me. Its just that it has gotten such good reviews, promising an antidote to the “Summer Movie” malaise (your Transformers 2, Terminator Salvation, et al.).
I found The Hurt Locker to have a lot in common with summer movies, though. Not that I think that’s bad- it’s just being reviewed as something its not, which is something prestigious and important.
How about a “For Instance?” Well, the main character is William James, a reckless, cocksure bomb diffuser who has a problem with authority. Substitute ‘bomb diffuser’ with LA cop, and you’ve got Martin “Lethal Weapon” Riggs.
Also, there is the “Short Timers” syndrome at play. You know, the team only has such and such amount of days before they get to go home. What are the odds that those final days will be the craziest and most dangerous of their entire tour? Again, I think Danny Glover’s character (Murtaugh) in the Lethal Weapon movies was always three days away from retirement when Riggs would pull him into some crazy shit.
Speaking of Murtaugh, they actually use his most famous line in The Hurt Locker! One of them actually says “I’m getting too old for this shit.” In fact, wasn’t there also a scene in one of the Lethal Weapon movies where they had to decide between the red wire and blue wire?
So… I don’t know- it’s a good movie, but it ain’t exactly reinventing the form. What you get, however, is a pretty good action movie that is occasionally better than that. I don’t regret seeing it, and would say that you should go, too. But there has to be some nod towards Lethal Weapon, and since The Hurt Locker doesn’t overtly acknowledge that it is standing on the shoulders of giants, I present to you… a Danny Glover tribute.