Episode 7 : Bomb in the Garden Review

•August 24, 2008 • 4 Comments

If only this wasn’t the end. The build up was immense, and the results so satisfying.

This was not a series like Band Of Brothers, it was more. The complex reality of contemporary war was on show.

As Bravo Team reaches Baghdad, its size is only realized while First Recon begin doing their daily patrols. The devastation that the Iraqis face is much greater than they could ever think of.

The Marines were devastated and shocked at what has begun. But they chose their jobs. They believed. And they questioned.

The final scenes showing the Godfather facing off with the Scribe, and the rest of the Marines enjoying a video of their last 40 days at war. We are also left with some audio

A fitting finale to the series.

Thanks Evan Wright for the stories and the reality. Thank you Evan Wright, David Simon and Ed Burns for bringing the issues to our screens. And finally thank you HBO for another great series.

Soundtrack/Songs featured:

  • “Morning Train (Nine to Five)”, written by Susan Bridget Inskip
  • “Re-Up Time”, written and performed by Josh Person
  • “Smoke Signals”, written by Dada Flair
  • “Come Sail Away”, written by Dennis De Young
  • “King of the Road”, written by Roger Miller
  • “The Man Comes Around”, written by John R. Cash, performed by Johnny Cash. Courtesy of American Recording Company, LLC, Under License from Universal Music Enterprises.
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Episode 6 : Stay Frosty Review

•August 18, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The penultimate episode: Stay Frosty.

A humanitarian crisis is highlighted with the movement of fleeing Iraqi citizens from Baghdad. Murmurs of the wars ends, or at least the end of First Recons mission. But their command unit has other ideas, and the Godfathers’ plan comes to light, one last mission to cross ‘the magic line’ and head into enemy territory.

The marines further question there own mission and reason for being there. More questions than answers creates relentless tension.

One of the final scenes when Scribe questions the war really highlights this episodes dichotomy between what the government wants and what the soldiers are experiencing and reacting too. In fact this really could be the pinnacle of the series.

“That’s my recon mission then.”
– Sgt. Brad “Iceman” Colbert

Soundtrack/Songs sung :

  • “It Ain’t Easy” written by Tony D. Pizarro, Tupac Shakur.
  • “Fuck Tha Police” written by O’Shea Jackson, Lorenzo Patterson, Andre Young.
  • “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” written by Ed Bruce, Patsy Bruce.
  • “Can I Kick It?” written by Lou Reed.

Episode 5 : A Burning Dog Review

•August 11, 2008 • 1 Comment

A Burning Dog, an episode that gave us further insight into the complexities of the Iraq War.

First Recon got their first major mission: To cross an Iraqi bridge, using intelligence acquired from local Iraqi citizens. They weren’t their for a reconnaissance mission though, they were there to capture a point. Yet they were ambushed, and a farce ensues.

Heart-stopping moments occur when they discover a body of a young Syrian man, whom at first they thought would be just another Iraqi citizen. Looking closer they find a Syrian passport with a date stamp – stamped only 3 days after the Marines arrived in Iraq, and the words ‘jihad’ as the reason for entering.

Another occurs at a road block (at Al Muwaffiqiyah). After a warning is given for a vehicle to stop, Corporal Walter Hasser shoots a bit to early after he sees the car continuing to drive. Another Iraqi citizen dead. Another bruised soul. The ever-changing Rules of Engagement are tested.

Beautiful camera work, combined with the contrasting images of the night fight, and the marines resting during the day, allowed intense feelings to be portrayed.

Mesmerizing melees, an engaging plot and further insight into the characters, makes this one of the most coherent episodes.

“Sir we can still kill the cars that don’t stop, this just gives civilians a chance”
– Sgt. Brad “Iceman” Colbert

Soundtrack/Songs Featured:

  • “On The Road Again” written by Willie Nelson
  • “Sundown” written by Gordon Lighfoot
  • “Gangsta Gangsta” written by William DeVaughn, Roger Parker, Charles Carter, Steven Arrington, Waung Hankerson, O’Shea Jackson, Lorenzo Patterson, Eric Wright, Andre Young, Gregory Webster, Andrew Noland, Leroy Bonner, Ralph Middlebrooks, Walter Morrison Marshal Jones, Marvin Pierce and Norman Napier

Episode 4 : ‘Combat Jack’ Review

•August 4, 2008 • 1 Comment

Combat Jack. Episode 4 seemed to be a bit of filler. Charging towards Baghdad and continuing on with that same eerie feeling of tension between the Marines and their Commanders.

James, the second driver, is seen scoping out a target – Anti-Aircraft weapon, whilst being shot at, making the rest of the Marines more respectful of him.
Josh was trying to complete his first ‘Combat Jack, and Iceman enacts his most important mission of all, taking a shit during combat – comedy well placed.

The rules of engagement are continuing on that path of self-destruction.

Even though the Marines are eager to shoot and kill, you can see it in their eyes, that they are just doing a job. With or without abiding by the Geneva Convention. And definitely obeying their superiors.

It’s as if the Marines are saying “Hey! we’re here now, what else the f*ck are we supposed to be doing?”. This exemplifies the difference between previous conflicts.

The highlight when their road block mission is complete and Josh simply says:

“They think we’re cool, ’cause we’re so good at blowing shit up”
– Josh, the Driver

Soundtrack:

  • “I Fell Like I’m Fixin’ To Die”, written by Joe McDonald
  • “Entaha Almeshwar”, written and performed by Kadim Al Sahir, Courtesy of Rotana Audio Video, By Arrangement with The Orchard
  • “Attahaddiat”, written and performed by Kadim Al Sahir, Courtesy of Rotana Audio Video, By Arrangement with The Orchard
  • “Copenhagen Song”, written by Josh Person
  • “Teenage Dirtbag”, written by Brendan B. Brown

Episode 3 : ‘Screwby’ Review

•July 28, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The Iraq War, a controversial war at the best of times. Usually the war genre of film and tv either are vehemently for, or against, and it has been a pleasant surprise to find that in Generation Kill we are shown  both perspectives.

‘Screwby’ is an exceptional episode, with scenes showing the underlying tension between the Marines and their superiors. Constant tension aggravating the chain of command.

The rules of engagement were thrown out. The Geneva Convention not even considered. All the Iraqi’s were to be considered hostile. The atrocious events occuring over the last two episodes are somehow not surprising. But what was surprising was the humanity.

Whether this really happened? Quite possible, as the atrocities of war have frequently filtered through to mass media.

The reactions of the various characters, really embraces the fact that these Marines aren’t just the machines of war, but humans. Ethics and the simple morals of a human being are put on show and put to the test.

We shall look forward to the next episode, Combat Jack.

Soundtrack:

  • “Hot in Herre”, written by Charles L. Brown, Cornell Haynes, Pharrell L. Williams
  • “Tainted Love”, written by Ed Cobb

Episode 2 : ‘The Cradle Of Civilization’ Review

•July 21, 2008 • 1 Comment

Cradle of Civilization, the second episode in the series, provided us with the foundation for what we could expect in the upcoming episodes.

Beautifully shot, this episode featured a few melees, with a climactic battle through an urban sprawl. There were about three intense situations, first being when the Hummers are ordered to stop at the beginning of a town – literally like sitting ducks. The second was less tense, although quite violent, when the marines use a sniper rifle to take out two Iraqi Royal Guards, who were also spotting them.

And finally the charge through the last town center, was reminiscent of ‘Black Hawk Down’ and the backdrop of Mogadishu. An impressive sight.

The driver of the Humvee at the point, like in the previous episode, continued with his jibber-jabber. His name is Cpl. Josh Ray Person. Another like-able entertaining type, although his talking is almost at the point where he could turn into a hate-character.

His Sargeant Brad “Iceman” Colbert, as you’d expect is quite a serious dude. In this episode you could almost see the Iceman crack. His own superiors override his initial judgments, and prove to be wrong in making that decision. As a result he almost blasts his on barrage of stern words, but refrains courtesy of a fellow Marine by the name of 1st Lt. Nathaniel Fick. They are definitely buddies.

And last of all, we got to witness more of the rear driver in the 1st Humvee, Lcpl. Harold “James” Trombley. The quiet one, the young one, the impatient one, the naive one. Ready for battle, not knowing what to expect. It will be a spectacle when he does unleash.

I will leave you with a quote by Iceman:

“Gentlemen, from now on, we’re gonna have to earn our stories.”

Soundtrack for this episode:

  • “Beyoglu”, written by Huseyin Erdinc Kamisli, performed by DJ Kambo. Courtesy of RipTide Music, Inc
  • “Smoke Signals”, written by Dada Flair
  • “The Marines’ Hymn” Traditional, written by Jacques Offenbach
  • “Complicated”, written by Lauren Christy. Graham Edwards, Avril Ramona Lavigne and Scott Spock
  • “Bodies”, written by Stephen L. Benton, Michael Jay Luce, Christian Joseph Pierce and David W. Williams
  • “The Boyz in the Hood”, written by O’Shea Jackson, Eric Wright and Andre Young
  • “Hot in Herre”, written by Charles L. Brown, Cornell Haynes and Pharrell L. Williams

Episode 1 : ‘Get Some’ Review

•July 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Wow, what a series it will be.

The cinematography is absolutely stunning, to know that this was shot in and around South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique, is quite amazing. It really compares to the Middle East, at least from what we have all witnessed through mass media.

The color-grading is quite similar to the movie ‘Three Kings’ with blue/black gradients featured during night/battle situations, and the dry yellows and oranges during the day. This blue and black coloring creates a sense of epic proportions and thick atmosphere, whilst the yellows and oranges provide a clean contrast with the black/blue exemplifying the conditions in the hot yet empty Iraqi desert.

The characters revealed throughout this first episode have potential. There are really like-able characters in The Godfather, and the Reporter, they are intriguing characters that will play an important roles in this series.

Generation Kill is based on a book by the same name, which is based on a a 3-part series of – called ‘The Killer Elite’ – published for the Rolling Stone magazine. This explains the role of the Reporter and his role is definitely something to look forward to. What is especially intriguing about the inclusion of the Reporter, is the fact that as a general populous we have had immense exposure to the war, thanks mostly to these journalists, and to see their stories unfold will add a new dimension a series which otherwise would have been tagged another “Band Of Brothers” or “Saving Private Ryan”. It will be interesting to see how this story develops.

We were introduced to a few points of conflict between the Marines and their superiors, including tension over the rights of the surrendered Iraqi Royal Guard via the Geneva Convention, and among others a Marines dress-etiquette.

These are all parts of what has the potential to be another great HBO series.

I’ll include the soundtrack details below. These are the songs that were featured and grabbed from the credits, for those interested.

Till next episode!

Soundtrack (as seen in the credits)

  • “Merry Christmas from the Family”, written by Robert Earl Keen
  • “Sk8ter Boi”, written by Lauren Christy, Avril Ramona Lavigne, Graham Edwards and Scott Spock
  • “Lovin’ You”, written by Minnie Riperton, Richard Rudolph