Generation Kill, FX

Did we like it?
This Iraq war drama created by Ed Burns and David Simon (of Homicide, The Corner and The Wire fame) lived up to the hype, with a powerful, noisy, unsensational and memorable opening edpisode.

What was good about it?
• The chaotic miniseries about a Rolling Stone reporter Evan Wright being embedded with Bravo Company, First Recon Marines, in Iraq is played out in a natural, unforced manner, giving a sometimes awkward, fly-in-the-desert feel.
• James Ransone’s terrifying performance as Cpl Josh Ray Person, who overdoes it with something called Ripped Fuel (some sort of energy supplement, we think) and noisily puts forwward his Pussy Theory of War (“How come we can’t invade a cool country with, like, chicks in bikinis?”).
• The Marines revelling in their crudity. “We’re like America’s little pit bull. They beat it, starve it, mistreat it, and once in a while they let it out to attack somebody,” says Person.
• Beside the ranting Ray, in an interesting juxtaposition, is ultracool Sergeant Brad Colbert (blue-eyed hunk Alexander Skarsgaard).
• Lots of good background music that never got intrusive, plus a screeched version of Minnie Ripperton’s Lovin’ You.
• Love the black shorts and muscled torsos.

What was bad about it?
• We needed subtitles for some of the banter between the soldiers, only catching about half of the insults that flew around (most seemed to involve cock sucking or ass licking. We think). We also didn’t cotton on to the importance of wearing black beanie hats or keeping to grooming regulations. And the characters came so thick and fast it was hard to get a handle on them. For some viewers, though, such confusion could be regarded a strength. Like The Wire, this is a drama where the audience has to work hard to keep up.

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