• The Hurt Locker
    inaccurately portrays Explosive Ordnance Disposal actions, using tools and techniques not typical in real life.
  • Iraq War veteran Jay Dorleus criticizes the film for its unrealistic depiction of handling IEDs and terrain challenges.
  • Despite its critical acclaim and awards, the movie fails to accurately represent the dangerous work of EOD teams.



An Iraq War veteran is speaking out about the inaccuracies in Jeremy Renner’s The Hurt Locker. The movie follows an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team, as they work to ensure that soldiers can safely traverse through uncertain terrain. It made approximately $49 million at the box office on a budget of $15 million and earned massive acclaim from critics. It won six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Film Editing, and two Best Sound Oscars.

The Hurt Locker is one of Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie’s best movies, but there are some major inaccuracies all the same. In an interview with Insider, Jay Dorleus, an Iraq War veteran, spoke about the major issues with the way that it presents EOD actions. The movie features inaccurate tools for the terrain, creating a poor depiction of what life is really like for members of the EOD squads.

“During the beginning of the war, we started to incorporate robots. This one, specifically, is what we call a Talon. The whole premise behind it was to limit soldiers actually getting injured, because, prior to, we were using mine detectors and going up and looking for IEDs in that matter. Guys were getting injured left and right, so it was a lifesaver… I’ve never had one of those, nor have I ever used one of those before, and for that exact reason. It doesn’t really travel well over terrain. In Iraq, the terrain is rarely even, and when it was time to go put charge on whatever device that we were going to put the charges on, we just built a little handle on the actual charge, and it went on the claw, and that’s how we were able to put the charge on the actual bomb — not on the wagon like they use in the clip. When you start talking about IEDs, you have two separate ways that they can be initiated. You have victim initiated, which is pressure plate or command depth-wire and then you have remote control, which in this case it was remote control. We do have devices that are supposed to mitigate them being able to remotely activate the IEDs. We call them Jammers. It’s like a big antenna that sends out all these different signals, and if it doesn’t recognize the signal, it jams the frequency to where it can’t get to the IED. It can’t close the loop. So I would give this one a four just the realism of him actually going up and putting the charge on the IED wasn’t accurate at all.”

The Inaccuracies In The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker

Because The Hurt Locker is a simulated and fictional depiction of life as an EOD operative, it does have some obligation to ensure some level of accuracy. After all, there were allegations that the story is partly based on the true story of Sergeant Jeffrey Sarver’s experiences during the Iraq War. Sarver went so far as to sue, due to how many similarities Renner’s James shares with his personal experiences, though the lawsuit was eventually dismissed.


Why The Hurt Locker Was So Controversial With War Veterans

While The Hurt Locker was praised by critics and won many awards in 2009, here’s why the film was so controversial with actual war veterans.

With a movie hoping to depict the lives of an entire group of soldiers, it needs to ensure that those experiences are fairly accurate. Military operatives have praised Top Gun: Maverick, for instance, for its attention to detail and proper accuracy. Renner’s Oscar-winning action movie should have had the same treatment, especially given the importance of the subject matter. It depicts events that could have occurred in the real world, and it should therefore depict that properly.

The Hurt Locker
is available for streaming on PLEX, AMC+, and Philo.

As much as accuracy is important, however, the movie was still a massive success. The actual EOD methods may be faulty, but The Hurt Locker achieved profitability and critical acclaim. Any movie that earns nine Academy Awards nominations, while winning six, is typically viewed as a success in Hollywood’s eyes. Accurate or not, Renner achieved everything that he set out to, even if Renner’s William James failed to achieve everything he wanted in life.

Source: Insider / YouTube

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