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This goes beyond mere entertainment - this is simply the best contemporary television has to offer
gogoschka-127 December 2013
What you get to see here is a one-of-a-kind mini-series: this is as close to a documentary as it gets. The realities of modern warfare are shown honestly with no political agenda and you are left to draw your own conclusions.

When I watched this series I remembered a quote from another film, 'The Siege' from 1998, where Bruce Willis' character, a high ranking army official, says something along the lines of: "The army is a broad sword - not a scalpel. So trust me, you do not want to call the army, unless you have absolutely no other option".

From an artistic point of view what stands out the most is the ensemble of actors. Not once during the entire seven episodes did I not believe I was watching the actual characters - the performances and the direction in this production are flawless. I've never seen a series that felt as real as this.

This goes beyond mere entertainment - this is simply the best contemporary television has to offer. 10 out of 10.

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Absolutely Phenomenal Show
johnha-17 August 2008
As a former Marine who was deployed to the same place at the same time, I think this show did an excellent job of capturing the 'essence' of what the invasion of Iraq was like to the men who were there. This show comes closer to accurately portraying wartime Marines than any other show I've ever seen. I think this is as close as Hollywood can get short of being there and filming it live. Sometimes the special effects are a little over the top, but the dress, demeanor and dialog of the characters are very accurate.

The attitudes, bearing, and language of the Marines portrayed are spot on, as well as the day to day problems and trials they encounter. I guess what I really like about this show is the lack of cheesy moto propaganda. The films are light on pro- or anti- war propaganda and heavy on truth. I'm sure some people think that the 'get some' attitude of the Marines glorifies the war while others think that pulling no punches in the collateral damage department is anti-war, but that isn't the case. These films boldly show the invasion of Iraq for what it was, for better or worse. The Marines have 'get some' attitudes in this show because Marines really have that attitude. Collateral damage, chaos and confusion among U.S. forces are in the show because it really happens in warfighting.
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Captures The Full Chaos and Absurdity of War
bayardhiler11 July 2016
I had heard of "Generation Kill" when it premiered in 2008, but was unable to view since I do not have HBO. So I forgot about it for a while until some time ago I was looking around at the local library when I just happened to sight this little, television masterpiece, and decided, especially in light of what the result of our adventure in Iraq has been in the last few years, to give it a chance. And though I can't say "Generation Kill" was necessarily my favorite viewing experience, I'm glad I did. Based off of the memoirs of a Rolling Stone reporter embedded with the 1st Marine Recon Unit during the first days of the US invasion of Iraq, it begins on the eve of that faithful event by introducing the viewer to the men of 1st Marine Recon (many of whom are based off of real life Marines), their code, standards, and every day experience. When they learn that the invasion is going ahead, they also learn that a reporter from Rolling Stone will be coming with them. Initially reluctant to having a greenhorn tag along with them, they warm up to the young writer when they learn he used to write for Penthouse, a magazine many of these young, red blooded males are familiar with! Through the production, we see the course of events through the eyes of the Marines and their "hang around" in a the most unsugar coated method possible, and we come away with no illusions about what war is really like.

What makes "Generation Kill" so different from other war productions is the fact that it strips away the unnecessary fluff and puff and presents the story in an almost character ensemble/documentary style. In "Generation Kill" there is no music score or opening theme, only the crackle and chatter of voices over the radio greets us at the beginning and end credits of each episode, multiple units and men sounding off into the dead of night, which truth be told, is far more effective than any music theme could be (That being said, the final scenes of the last episode feature a most appropriate use of Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around", the only recorded song used in the entire series). There is also not much in the way of heroics or glory for the simple reason that in war, there is none to be found. There are no eagles soaring, or glory sounding tunes, or any other BS like that; only following the orders of your superiors (Even if they're complete fools or incompetent), hurrying up and waiting, and of course, death and destruction.

And that last part is especially evident in "Generation", as the series pulls no punches in regards to the civilian "collateral damage" that occurred in Iraq during our invasion, and thus shows the cost civilians pay when armies, even with the best of intentions, come charging into their environment in a combat role (To those who think US troops patrolling troubled neighborhoods would be a good idea, I challenge them to watch this and then try to argue for that idea!). All of this is effectively shown through the tremendous efforts of the directors, producers, show runners, writers, and actors such as Jon Huertas, Alexander Skarsgard, Lee Tergesen, Stark Sands, Neal Jones, Michael Kelly, Chance Kelly, former real life 1st Marine Rudy Reyes, James Ransone, and many, many more who I don't have the space for. To round it up, "Generation Kill" is a mini-series that leaves nothing to the imagination when it comes to the chaos and absurd nature of conflict, be it Iraq or anywhere else. As one former Marine commented here, this is the closet thing to war short of going there and actually filming it. For a former service member to say that, you know they did something right here. If you want to see what the reality of conflict without actually being there, then check out "Generation Kill". Stay frosty.
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throat cancer. just lucky i guess...
defcon_ronin14 July 2008
Every Marine that I know who's read this book, and the couple that have caught the first episode has nothing but good things to say about the material. David Simon and Ed Burns did a great job of sticking to the heart of Wright's story--and from what I've heard, even referenced Lt. Fick's personal account (One Bullet Away)--of that deployment as well. As an active duty Sergeant in the USMC, most of my enlistment has involved working with and managing the same kind of colorful personalities seen in GK. I lost track of how many times we laughed at random "unfunny" scenes because the accuracy of the mannerisms, terminology, or situations depicted.

The one thing that caught me off guard was, after watching all the HBO trailers, the lack of music. I kept expecting to hear that campy trailer music sprite up the background, but it never happened. Oh well, you can't win em all.

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I'm glad they're doing this right (mostly)
jemcgarvey15 July 2008
I'm also glad there is no music. Music (though moving) would have taken away the grit to this story and given it a more artificial feel. It's amazing how much of the dialog and situations are straight from the book, and how perfectly spot on they are showing Recon Marine culture.

I'm glad Rudy and Kocher got to play themselves. Though I only personally know Pappy out of these characters, it's obvious they are working as hard as they can (within Hollywood's tradition) to portray it as it happened. I hope they continue this series at least until the end of the invasion. I can't wait to see the action at the bridge and the other ambushes.

Oh, and the Sgtmaj. harping on grooming standards during combat operations is so hilarious because it's so true!
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True to the Marines. on a personal level.
bigjewfan1 August 2008
Before some one comments on this mini-series they have to understand that is based entirely in truth. I first picked up the book while I was traveling home on leave shortly after returning from Iraq and read it in one sitting on the plane. One of the things that I find to be the most outstanding about the book and the series so far is that it is true to the people. I don't mean that it gives us something new and authentic to ponder. I can't think of any instance where the book or show goes into the political aspect of Iraq. And you know why. Because Marines don't make policy. They enforce it, regardless of there personal feelings towards it.

I am personally tired of hearing the comments about the show being cliché' If they spend anytime around the military they will find that most of characters portrayed are just like the young men serving. Marines are a different breed. They are asked to do different things that most of society would not understand. Enjoy the show and try not to get your mind wrapped around it to much.
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As Real as it can get, Entertaining & Educational.
mayank098762 October 2015
Honest look at what went on in America's war for "Iraqi Freedom". The series is from the point of view of First Recon Marines. It gives us a realistic look of modern warfare, the combat is the most authentic i have come across, it doesn't hype the action for cinematic values. Be warned you won't get to see much of action but when it happens it's tense.

As in real life so in series the Marines are made up of unique characters, there are capable as well as dumb officers. The soldiers come from different background and races, there are Mexicans, South Americans, Blacks, Rednecks, some are educated, some joined out of patriotism, some were given choice between jail term or marine school. Everyone's brain tuned in differently, the only thing common between them are the unity of brotherhood and them being highly trained killers.For me the best part and the highlight of the series are the humors and sarcastic banter among the soldiers.

After watching the series I did some research and found out most of the names and designation are from real people and actual facts.In fact two of guys played themselves.

The series is pretty much controversy free which is surprising considering it shows some stuff which the Government would have liked kept out of limelight.

Do watch it, it's fun as well as education.
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Brilliant war drama
grantss18 December 2015
Brilliant war drama.

The story of 1st Marine Reconnaissance Battalion's participation in the second Allied invasion of Iraq, in 2003. Seen through the eyes of Rolling Stone reporter Evan Wright, who was embedded with the Battalion and upon whose book the series is based.

Though dramatized, this is pretty much a warts-and-all account of a military unit in combat. Hardly glamorous, it shows well the problems they face, both external and internal.

Not all drama and explosions - there are many great comedic moments, especially in the dialogue.

Accurate, engrossing and entertaining.
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A nice introductory first episode
rsp_k6915 July 2008
I enjoyed this immensely, and without revealing my views on the war on Iraq, I must say that I fail to see where these anti-war propaganda/war mongering commentaries are relevant.

Understandingly the Iraqi war has deep-set emotions with the American Public, but I did not feel that this in any way glorified, nor vilified the US troops. Nor did it so for the Iraqis. How anyone can regard this as left-wing anti-war propaganda is beyond me, as it seemed most of the characters had very human and sympathetic traits. As all of us who have served in the military know, there are often extreme personalities(i.e racist, militant, fundamental religious beliefs etc), by the sheer fact that the armed forces are a cross-section of any country's inhabitants, but they all showed camaraderie and discipline more than hostility towards humanity in my point of view.

although I said I wouldn't reveal my views regarding, I now feel compelled to do so. I am a huge opposer of the war in Iraq, and I feel great resentment towards many of the US foreign policies, but that does not mean that I do not enjoy the story on a personal level, nor that I can not sympathize with a country in war. By entertainment standards, this is some of the best television I've seen in a long while, and I can't WAIT for the next episode.
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Pretty Good
MDBum23 July 2008
First off, viewers should realize that this series is about a marine recon team. This is not about the army, navy, air force, etc. Most armed forces members will tell you that the people in the Marines are a different breed from other members. They are often by nature, more aggressive, angry, patriotic, racist, need to prove something, excited to kill something, etc. If you get annoyed by that, then don't watch Generation Kill. Regardless, the series is good because, although the series isn't a deep philosophical "thin red line",(judging by the demeanor and mentality of a lot of the soldiers in the film it would seem a bit unrealistic), it is an honest portrayal of the mindset, expectations, and mentality of these specific groups of soldiers. Another strong point is the relatively lack of action. This is also an honest portrayal. Much of war is 95% of sitting around, doing random chores, getting bored out of your mind, mixed in with 5% of terror and serious fighting which can shake anyone's mental foundation and nerves. . I feel this series captured this rather well.

The only downside to the film was David simon's typecasting of the obnoxious character from season 2 of the wire (wire fans will know what im talking about). It was good once, but not twice. Additionally, Skarsgard acting is rather wooden and questionable, particularly his accent, which ranges from southern, to standard, to something I've never heard of. I've lived in Scandinavia for quit some time so i've come quite accustomed to hearing their English, which is mostly excellent, but there are still hints.

Agree with the war or not, this series shows the bravery, albeit at times maniacal nature of men, who go into action when called upon.
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Great TV, no fodder for axe-grinders
rrtxdos1 August 2008
The USMC recon environment seems a lot like pretty much any organization: Understaffed, with the most complex decisions being dropped on the shoulders of unknown middle managers who can have their career terminated by a single error. Upper management has to juggle with the demands of hands-off managers with little understanding of the "battlefield" and the unpleasant task of making calls that are going to earn them no friends. Toss in with that the unavoidable reality of some commanders who might even just have one bad day - or make a snap judgment based on incomplete information, only to realize with horror what they wish they had known.

After watching this and remembering that these are not unlike what we've come to expect from our real troops, I'm a little humbled at my own gripes about the crummy food at my last business meeting.

Reality aside, this is a wonderfully rich production. The heat of the days and cold of the nights really comes through, and you can't help but flinch as a stray round whistles past. The characters often exhibit more depth than you expect - but also, sometimes less - allowing us the privilege of an occasional chuckle.

After three episodes, I find my political views little changed, but my admiration and empathy for the 20-somethings who live this reality every day, greatly increased. The show is about the characters in it, not the politics or policies which put them in any particular place.
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Excellent start
kingdave12713 July 2008
What can I say? In the first episode I saw great and (for the most part) realistic dialogue, excellent acting, good character development, and an avoidance of most clichés. I especially liked how this episode did not give any kind of glorified look at the heroes of this miniseries; the characters are ordinary people, trained to kill. Because of this, we see people who are unapologetic in their views of the enemy and each other. They are trained to kill, and thank God for that and for them. If we did not have people like that working for us, I doubt any of us would be here posting messages on a website. As a former soldier, I cannot wait to see the rest of this series.
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A work of immense power on its own, but also a great companion piece to "The Wire"
ametaphysicalshark25 January 2009
Proof that "Generation Kill", the miniseries produced by HBO films and written by David Simon and Ed Burns, their first project after the end of their television landmark "The Wire", a series which is completely incomparable in quality and scope to anything which has come before or since, is too intelligent to be concerned with simplistic political sloganeering, blind patriotism, or taking an anti-militaristic stance is the reaction which the political extremes have had to it. Any person with far right views I've spoken to or read on the internet has said similar things: this movie emasculates the marines and turns them into bleeding heart liberals (presumably because the film, and I will be referring to this as a film from this point onwards because it's definitely as much a film as "Berlin Alexanderplatz" is, has the guts to portray them as having compassion for wounded or killed civilians), and any person with far left views I've spoken to has apparently found the film to be immoral, presumably because it portrays men who spew violent, racist, homophobic, and misogynist invective as human beings.

In fact, "Generation Kill" is the farthest thing from either celebrating the military or being anti-militaristic. Like on "The Wire", David Simon and Ed Burns are on the side of the working class, as Kent Jones in Film Comment points out, and they have no interest in making a moral judgment on the nature of the work they're portraying, whether it's teaching, politics, drug dealing, or invading a country. Like Simon went beyond portraying drug dealers on "The Wire" to transporting us to their world and showing us their own problems, their own moral standards, their own worries and concerns, and introduced us to their own vernacular, he does the same with the marine corps in "Generation Kill". Like "The Wire", this is cunning and clever drama: it is political without taking sides, concerned with the inefficiency and bad planning coming 'from above' but without putting the blame on any individuals. It portrays people, some less likable and morally or politically correct than others, but people.

The only thing keeping "Generation Kill" from truly being a military version of "The Wire" is that its comparatively limited scope- it takes place within the first, 'triumphant' week of the invasion, and focuses pretty much only on one group of people. I'm entirely convinced that Simon could have written a thoroughly engrossing and fascinating drama about the Iraq war which extended past these five days, one which would have taken us past the marine corps into the lives of the other military units involved in the invasion, and the higher-ups as well, as he did starting in season 3 in "The Wire". As it stands, this is not a limitation of the power which "Generation Kill" holds, but a masterstroke in its success of making its point: every element which has made the situation in Iraq so chaotic was present in a latent form from the beginning. The film is not even really making a moral judgment of the war in Iraq, if anything it supports a well-executed version of it: most of the Iraqis we see, nearly 90% of them, are incredibly grateful, at least at this early stage, for being relieved of Saddam's rule.

Moreover, no American marine or any Iraqi is portrayed simplistically as a 'bad guy' or 'good guy', not even the bloodthirstiest of the Americans, and this writing is brought to life admirably well by the mostly perfect cast and the excellent direction and production value (it is obviously not a big-budget Hollywood film, but it still achieves real authenticity in almost every regard- the closest I came to disbelieving it was when a few Iraqis were portrayed as darker-skinned than any I've seen). The closest thing to a villain in the film is Saddam himself, who makes no literal appearance outside of posters on the streets, but then again he is pretty much the closest thing to a movie 'bad guy' in reality.

"Generation Kill" is, like "The Wire", ultimately a workplace drama about workplace politics. That the stakes are higher and that the innocent are killed even more often than they are on "The Wire" is irrelevant to the writers. This may make "Generation Kill" boring to those accustomed to and expecting a more standard war film, one which attempts an anti-war or pro-war statement. Like "The Wire" again, what the viewer is left with in the end is only a dislike of unnecessary violence and casualties, and a portrayal of the toll they take on those involved in either perpetrating the violence or those related to the victims. Both "The Wire" and "Generation Kill" are dramatically built on disappointment and disillusionment with the system in place itself, and like "The Wire" it is all about bad decisions, mistakes, and the rare good decision. The film ends with a montage and a song, much like every season of "The Wire", and with its subtle summation of the hours gone by and its emotional impact it cements David Simon's status as one of the greatest and most important writers of our time.
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Great show
gregory-jon29 July 2008
Saw the first three episodes of this on cable whilst on holiday, and hope it comes to the UK very soon so that I can see the rest. I also saw part of the 'Making of...' documentary, and many of the production team where a) female and b)British. They've done a really excellent job of portraying the atmosphere of war-torn Iraq, and have not compromised the performances by trying to tone down the language and jingoistic views of many of the characters. Heart pounding action whilst transiting the first town when the convoy comes under fire for the first time, and euphoria when they emerge at the far side largely unscathed. Brilliant. Well done. A really fine piece of work. Snap it up BBC.......please!
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Great adaptation of a great book
bob the moo19 December 2008
Like many others, I heard about David Simon et al doing Generation Kill as an idea long before it was made and while The Wire was still being screened. Interested, I read the book and enjoyed it as a piece of journalism and I understood what it was that perhaps attracted those behind The Wire to this in particular. When it came to watching the miniseries myself I had to mind myself in a couple of ways. Firstly I was careful that I didn't have my mind made up in regards how I felt it should be but, more importantly I had to make sure that I didn't start watching it with the decision already made that it was "brilliant".

I do not mean to criticise others but there is the temptation for Wire fans to love anything associated with it – sometimes before the thing in question is yet to be seen. I forced myself into this mode because I am prone to that quite often – deciding I know what something is before I have seen it. Much like The Wire, Generation Kill has a slow start and a pace that is a lot more patient than the setting (and trailers) would have you believe. To some this will be a problem but to me it just added to how convincing it was that we didn't have huge action sequences and much in the way of shootouts (in an action sense). This is not to say that there is no action, because there is, but it is delivered in a realistic way that is regularly shocking or tense but not really exciting in the Hollywood sense. If anything a lot of it is matter-of-fact in the presentation, while the content is shocking. One good example of this is the incorrect levelling of a village in episode 3 – it just happens suddenly and totally, but an ambush on a bridge is perhaps a better example of the series when a fire-fight occurs. It is frantic, chaotic and disorientating and the viewer is in the middle of it much like the reporter.

Speaking of chaos, throughout the miniseries you can see what about the story attracted Simon etc to it. Much like The Wire we have a war that is going badly with those at the top protecting themselves and keeping distant from the reality, middle-managers are left to make the toughest calls as the pressure comes down on them from above to solve the problems and all the time those on the ground have the best perspective but no power – only frustration and, in some cases, apathy. It does this really well because, despite what we get to see, at no point could it be accused of being "against the troops". Instead it points to unseen authority figures much higher up the power structure than our point of view allows us to see. It never blunders this point home though and it stays away from going after specifics or scoring easy points; in managing this what we get is a much more engaging story because it leaves the viewer to form an opinion without the heavy air of anger or judgement.

The "story" structure helps this. The obvious adaptation is to do it from the pov of the reporter character and, with his introduction I had assumed this is where it was going as it is a common device. It doesn't do this though and instead has an effective ensemble feel build around a loose focus on one unit in particular, led by Brad Colbert. The slight downside of this is that the show could be accused of having no "plot" because in truth it doesn't have a specific flow other than being embedded with the characters – I suppose it could be called an apt point that the narrative certainly doesn't have an "end" (although the series does to a point – albeit a rather obvious one that channels but never fulfils the spirit of The Wire's season conclusions).

The Wire always had good performances across the board and on the whole Generation Kill manages to do the same thing. The obvious star is the cool and charismatic Skarsgård who is a real rock at the centre of the show. Equally impressive though is someone who I disliked in his character when he was in season 2 of The Wire but who is a lot more natural and engaging here – Ransone. Tergesen brings little because the material isn't there for him and mostly he feels a bit out of place – almost too recognisable for such a role. I go though as performances are roundly solid from Sands, Lush, Huertas, Kelly and others. Some didn't quite work as well – Nenninger seemed to struggle to make something of Capt America, he tries but it was a big ask to make him more than the character that came across in the book. The production standards are high here, with the effects being convincing and the sets worked really well (only one moment in the final episode, driving under the swords statue, didn't feel real).

Generation Kill will not garner the praise directed at The Wire and nor should it really because it is not quite that good, mainly down to the nature of the material and the short run. It is however, still very good. Built on similar themes as The Wire, Gen Kill builds a convincing world and allows the viewer to draw the conclusions that are obvious. The acting is mostly good even if many people have limited character in their parts and the production values are high. Very engaging and impressive piece of work from the equally good book of the same name.
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Reinforces the stupidity of war and the current warrior mentality
intermedx30 October 2014
This is certainly no Band of Brothers and the drive to watch it is more out of a sense of morbid curiosity. But what is does reinforce is the concept of basic stupidity of the average Marine, and the lost reason and sanity of a few intelligent Marines in an otherwise testosterone laden landscape of illiteracy and limited vocabulary. I would like to think that this is a piece of fiction, but I fear this is , as others have said, true to life. It makes me sad to be an American if this is a true and actual depiction of what it is to be a Marine. if this is true it does not give one a sense that we will win anything based on intelligence, but rather by brute force. I suspect you could consider this a sanitized version of what the Defense Department didn't want you to see during the real war. None of thee men are heroes as you would find in Band of Brothers, where people rallied to a well defined enemy and the country made huge sacrifices to support the war effort.
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look everything, admire nothing
albaix20 August 2008
I have read in other comments that this TV show was full of clichés. And yes, it is. But I guess any army is full of clichés. I don't like movies like "the red thin line", because the characters look more philosophers rather than soldiers. What I liked more from this show is that it is constantly pointed out the question ¿who are the civilized people? Summarazing, there are lots of reasons to watch this show. The other thing it is pointed out is the lack of concerns about the iraqi people. The command seems to be "In case of doubt, just blow up everything". It is not true this work don't care about the Iraq people, but they are showing the point of view of a US marine platoon, and they have to show them as they are. Sorry for my English.
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The best HBO miniseries besides Band Of Brothers
chefskater3 August 2008
"Generation Kill" is a really good miniseries even though i have only seen the first four episodes so far. I've seen about half of the series and every week all I'm waiting for is 9:00 on Sunday so that i can watch the next episode.

what i really like about this movie is it isn't a bunch of BS like some other war movies are. in other war movies they don't even act like what real marines act like. in this movie its just a bunch of normal people fighting for their country.

My favorite character is Cpl. Josh Ray Person. He is the driver of team 1 alpha and he has a great sense of humor and by far the funniest character in the movie. He has a really good actor and I honestly think that is is impossible to watch this miniseries without laughing at something he does or says.

The miniseries keeps you watching all the way through the whole episode. i completely enjoy this series and anyone could like it even if they are not interested in war movies at all and i am looking forward to seeing the rest of the series.

If you like the series Band of Brothers, you will probably like this series even though there isn't as much action as in BOB.
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grahamn-515 October 2009
Well, clearly I am in the minority here...

But if this mini series was designed to show the dullness and blandness of war, then it certainly did that well. And ended up being dull and boring to watch! You could argue that war is like that, however one particular episode when marines are coming under sustained fire from no less than 3 directions, while being cornered on a bridge - and yet the only wound *any* of them receive is a scratch - well, that just tests credibility too much. Naturally, the death toll amongst from the attackers was massive.

Realistic? Apart from that, almost the only other action in the whole series is a convoy of Humvee's shooting up some Iraqi shopkeepers in a small village and hollering like rednecks.

After watching a few episodes, I was rooting for the Iraqi militia.
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'On the seventh day, when god rested, we overran his perimeter and we've been running the show ever since...'
standeman19847 September 2008
I watched the finale of this show last night and was left feeling delighted by another great series from The Wire creators, but also very much wanting to see more from the superb cast and production team. Having said that though, the contents of the 7 episode series is more than enough for viewers to appreciate the best fictionalisation of the war in Iraq so far.

Generation Kill offers a view of the invasion from the perspective of a Battalion of US Marines, who have an 'embedded' reporter from Rolling Stone tagging along with them. Evan Wright (the reporter), i have just discovered, really did this in 2003 and won an award for his articles before also publishing them as a book. This is not something i was aware of when watching, i thought the characters were fictional, but it looks like their names and likely their characters, are very much the real thing. So it's the writing that is undoubtedly the driving force behind this miniseries, but nothing should be taken away from the production team who brilliantly recreate the look and feel of Iraq - not that i've ever been there, I just experienced it from the comfort and safety of my TV armchair - which they managed on location in Africa. Susanna White in particular caught my eye with the episodes she directed and we'll no doubt be seeing much more great projects from her in the future (how many women have directed war movies/TV? not many i can think of).

The soldier's motto's of 'get some' and 'stay frosty' are great summations of their time in Iraq. While they want to see action like any committed soldier would, they also have strict codes and orders from on high to adhere to - some reasonable, some perplexing. Incompetence appears frequently, both in command and lower down the ranks. One itchy trigger finger leads to the christening of Whopper Junior, while their Captain's committence to his country's cause earns him the name Captain America. Iceman though, like many people, was my favourite character. Watch out, the Skarsgard's are coming! The morality of the Battalion is superbly played out, and it's hard not to like any of them, even the more suspect Whopper Junior as they warm to the reporter and the Iraqis during their mission. The series is not really critical of the soldiers, but in truly Wire style, critical of the process and of command, of politics and society, not of Americans but of the systems and powers that govern them with humour and humanity shining all the way through. A really nice touch is the real audio of soldier re-con at the end of each episode. The final ep brings with it the weightiest of these clips where a soldier, ironically or seriously, eloquently assesses his role as a marine, by saying 'On the seventh day, when god rested, we overran his perimeter and we've been running the show ever since...' A brilliant truth of American attitudes toward the world, war and god.
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Fail! Looked promising, but completely devoid of drama or tension.
canopy_of_trees6 March 2017
I really wanted to like this series. As a fan of gritty boots-on- the-ground war movies, Generation Kill sounded like a wet dream. So it was advertised, with warnings of "disturbing content". However, it fails miserably. This is due to a total lack of dramatic tension, and the very minimal stock battle scenes. Nothing really happens, it feels very gimmicky in that it makes you think that some shit's gonna fly, and to your great disappointment, nothing happens (like in Game of Thrones!). So I thought OK maybe if there were some good banter dialogue between soldiers, but no, it's mainly stereotypical trite spoken by colorless characters who you couldn't have given two shits about if they lived or died. How droll. Main battles are always only talked about, happening elsewhere and the actual battle scenes were sparse and hardly of any consequence at all, lacking any tension or suspense, which I think are two key elements in any good war production. The most gripping moment was probably when a soldier took some unauthorized shots at a camel (not even joking). What a sham. This is nothing other than a Hollywood executive's version of war, filled with inconsequential talk talk talk, driving around in the desert, a LITTLE shooting, more driving, then back to the talk talk talk, yada yada yada. I am only giving it stars for the good production values. I just spent two days watching this, hoping for something that never happens. I really feel cheated. What a waste of my time.
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A disturbing portrayal
jaainuae3 January 2009
I have seen a few episodes of Generation Kill. I am a big fan of HBO and this appeared to be up to the usual high standard of this production company. I was unaware of the provenance of the series. I guessed it was from the perspective of an embedded journalist but hoped this was not the case.

I cannot speak from the perspective of a serving soldier. I am female and British.However, the portrayal of the incompetence and ignorance of high command and the ignorance and ill-discipline of the 'grunts'was all too convincing. After viewing an episode on New Year's Eve that particularly depressed me, I checked this website for information to find it is, in fact,based onpersonal experience.

I think I have a realistic perspective of the realities of war and the realities of the Iraqi invasion. My brother was a British marine and I have lived long enough to know that not all soldiers are selfless heroes or infallible professionals. I have also lived in the Middle East for many years. I have American, Iraqi and Palestinian friends and always listen to and learn from all views presented to me.

American soldiers serving in Iraq are there because they chose a military career and their government sent them there. I kept an open mind about the war until discovering it was based on incorrect/dishonest intelligence. I was angered by the number of British soldiers killed by 'friendly fire' and shocked by the uncivilised treatment of Iraqi prisoners. I was also shocked by the savagery of the insurgents, but America constantly presents itself as occupying the moral high ground in these matters.

I am writing this after watching a BBC report on the embezzlement, squandering and unaccounted disappearance of $23billion of American taxpayers' money allocated to the war in Iraq.

To return to 'Generaton Kill', I expected to read messages rightly praising the series but abhorring the exposure of the incompetence and savagery it portrays. Instead, most of the messages view the behaviour of troops dramatised as realistic and acceptable.

I have no idea of the series' producers'political objectives, if any, but if it was to raise important questions about the conduct of the American troopsin Iraq, it appears to have failed.
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Generation Kill (the Boredom): disjointed, meandering, boring... Just like it should be?
kgottlicher26 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
In order to truly get a feel for this series, one needs to see all seven of the episodes (each of which tops 60 min), preferably in as few sittings as possible. That's nearly eight hours of plot that boils down to this:

1. Bored soldiers shooting the breeze. 2. Endless briefings littered with military lingo followed by endless radio communication littered with military lingo. 3. Five minutes of (usually random and mission-unrelated) action. 4. Bored soldiers shooting the breeze.

I know the point of Generation Kill is to realistically depict what war really looks like when you're a 21st century Marine in a technologically vastly superior army, but does one really need 8 h of it to get the point? Each episode looks EXACTLY the same, and it gets old by the time you sit down to watch the 4th one.

We follow a group of Marines on their way to Baghdad, expecting a grand finale in the 7th episode. But it never occurs. The war is already over by the time they reach it, so they just get there, detonate one leftover bomb, and go home. Nice to see where gazillions of dollars and years of training went to. But kudos for showing the reality as is.

At the same time, realism is also what this series has got going for it (it's just that no one needs 8 h of the same old, same old). We see Marines going on the ever-changing and often pointless/contradictory/inconsequential missions in their Humvees, which any regular could have performed just as well, and which are usually more suited for tanks and LAVs. As one Marine remarks: "We are finely-tuned Ferraris in a demolition derby". Yet there's very little concrete combat shown in each episode. And that's my major gripe with it. Maybe HBO didn't want to spend millions of dollars on pyrotechnics, or maybe it didn't feel necessary to turn their series into a "Saving Pvt. Ryan"-style action. But it would have been nice to see more of what all those mission briefings and radio talk amounted to in each episode. As it stands, it feels anticlimactic. But I guess that was the idea: realism. Missions don't look like the D-Day or the "Call of Duty". They're routine and boring.

Also, there's almost no plot: the whole series feels more like a mess of little snapshots and events, or notes written in a diary, often jumping from one scene to another pretty haphazardly. But - I guess that was the idea.

There's also an overabundance of characters. It takes you a few episodes to link the names with the faces and remember just who's who exactly, since they all pretty much look the same and few stand out. But I guess that's army.

The in-between-mission juvenile antics and banal talk are often interspersed with faux-philosophizing about the war in general, with lines such as:

"If you kill people in peacetime, you end up in jail. But here you get a medal for it".

No sh#t, Captain Obvious.

And that's where the viewer boredom really starts to set in. Once again, there's nothing wrong with it per se, but when you stretch it out across all seven episodes and lace it with minimum action, it gets old. This would've made for a powerful two-part series, but then I guess it wouldn't have imparted what it's supposed to, and that's the fact that for these guys war was pretty boring. Not a novelty in and of itself, but realism can never get overrated.

On the other hand, I find the understated (and often absurd) humor to be a nice touch. For instance, although they're fighting in a desert, the Marines are issued forest camouflage. They can't get the command to send them batteries for their night vision goggles, so they trade pictures of their girlfriends with another platoon to get them. Etc, etc.

There's also an over-the-top, Sgt.-Hartman-from-the-"Full Metal Jacket"-like sergeant(?), who provides additional comic relief with his obsession about the grooming standard, unleashing streams of red-faced, heavy-accented fury upon soldiers if their mustache are longer than their lip edges or their shirts aren't tucked in.

Also, unlike in any other war movie, soldiers are shown as humans and not robots, who (surprise, surprise) need to empty their bladder or take a dump once in a while. Or jack off. The amount of times someone is shown taking a dump is almost ridiculous, but I like the realism and the underlying humor of it.

To wind up this run-on comment, I'd like to cite the Captain, who said: "I'm not afraid of the Iraqis - I'm more afraid of doing something that would displease the General."

And that sums up rather nicely what being in the army is all about.

So, a realistically-produced series that is often more than the sum of its parts. But that's not a bad place to be. With a Hollywood budget, this would've been epic. But then it would've been spoiled by cartoonish heroes and patriotic self-aggrandizement. So, come to think of it, it's just fine as is.
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Recommended Viewing
chicknwire18 February 2009
I've never served but have always had the utmost in respect and support for our U.S. Armed Forces. This series not only reinforced the reasons why I do so, but also helped to educate family and friends.

When it was initially being promoted by HBO I had heard enough anti-war commentary that I was suspicious enough that I didn't bother watching it. A good friend started to comment on it and even went out and bought the DVD collection AND the book after seeing it's original broadcast. I finally sat down and viewed it over the weekend with my wife and we were both very much impressed. She's not a big fan of war or war movies but agreed to at least view the first episode. She was hooked.

This series provided a tremendous view inside the workings of the organization as well as the people that make it. The pause button got a workout as I helped my wife understand some of the jargon and explain some of the tactics, situations, etc. (She has heard me talk about some of these things when buddies get together with me and we "play" combat sims on our PC's.) Her interest grew along with her understanding of the challenges of the men and women that see these tasks through with dignity and honor.

Key points. Yes, Marines have a "get some" attitude. They have to. There's no other way they could carry out the tasks they need to without it. Yes, civilians get killed in a war. It's not always due to incompetency and it's rarely due to neglect, indifference or malicious intent. Yes, good Marines will make a mistake. Yes, the enemy in this war dressed like and blended in with civilians. They took over schools and hospitals and hid behind women and children. This is their tactic to play upon our culture's taboos. Whereas we fear the possibility of women and children being hurt or killed, the enemy is counting upon this fear. It was also apparent that these Marines displayed a great deal of compassion for the innocent people in this conflict. And finally, Marines have to maintain a degree of humor in order to stay stable in difficult circumstances.

The director wanted to be sure that this series simply portray the facts and let the viewer sort out how they feel about them. He succeeded. The cinematography is good, sound is excellent, and from the feedback I've read and heard from actual Marines, the accuracy is outstanding.
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Welcome to the sandbox: a 'Generation Kill' review
DashTheGreat26 August 2008
I had previously rated 'Generation Kill' a 9, from viewing the first episode. Based on past experiences (but not counting the fact that this was on HBO), I expected the rating to go down to an 8. This was not the case. 'Generation Kill' was great throughout. It was the typical HBO program, and shows what HBO is known for: realistic storytelling, consistent characters, and excellent writing and directing.

'Generation Kill' was blasted for being too rough around the edges. This is reality, however. Special attention to reality was kept in other areas too, such as highly vivid night vision sequences with tracers pouring into the night sky. At times, I wondered if I was watching stock footage. Everything about 'Generation Kill' just felt superior, from the camera work, to direction, to the writing. You really get the feel of being there, and seeing through the eyes of those who invaded Iraq.

The characters were insanely real. It was easy to feel sympathy for the Iraqs and American soldiers alike. This was the most impartial show I've seen to date on the Iraq War. Though I found 'Band of Brothers' to be far superior to 'Generation Kill,' GK was a serious contender when it comes to an HBO miniseries. GK is better than anything you will ever see at the movies. I very much enjoyed viewing this documentary from beginning to end.
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