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NEW Battle For Haditha (DVD)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars  62 reviews
75 of 86 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A powerful film Oct. 30 2008
By Justin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Before I begin my review I'm going to give you all my biases up front - I'm a Marine and I served one tour in Anbar Province in 2007 with a rifle company. Many of my seniors served in the Haditha area and told many-a-tale about that awful place. Having gotten that out of the way, I really wanted to like this movie from the get-go. It obviously draws its inspiration from one of my favorite films, the Gillo Pontecorvo classic "The Battle of Algiers - Criterion Collection", where many of the characters (including the screenwriter) were insurgents in the conflict rather than professional actors. I've been pretty disgusted with the Iraq films and TV shows that have come out over the past few years. Shooting in the California desert with a bunch of Mexicans dressed up like Arabs is never going to cut the mustard. Iraq has its own look and feel, and the Iraqis have their own style, even compared to the rest of the Arab world.

So I was really excited when I read that "The Battle of Haditha" was shot in Jordan, which is about as close to Anbar as you can get without crossing the border, and used real Iraqis and former-US military personnel. I also liked that Broomfield let them ad-lib most of their lines, giving them a feel of authenticity that no scriptwriter ever can. Broomfield definitely sets standards that every subsequent Iraq film is going to have to live up to. I also liked the controversial topic - there's a reason counterinsurgencies are called "dirty wars" and the Iraqis definitely do a great job portraying the mixed loyalties and emotions of many Iraqis as they seek to make some sense out of what was - for many Sunnis - an occupation.

Unfortunately, the movie's portrayal of the Marine Corps runs into a brick wall that nearly sinks the whole picture. While I enjoyed Elliot Ruiz's haunted squad leader, none of the other characters looked or sounded like real Marines. In fact, many of them seemed to be acting out popular stereotypes of Marines based on recruiting commercials and "Full Metal Jacket" or "Jarhead", which is almost nothing like what they really are. With the exception of Ruiz, there was almost no character development among the Marines, no explanation of how an infantry unit operates (which is crucial to understanding why the Haditha killings played out the way they did). Broomfield also falls into the trap of using actors in their mid-to-late twenties to portray a bunch of kids fresh out of high school. One of the guys I went to Iraq with was born in 1989 and was 12 years old when 9/11 happened.

Speaking from my experience, the Marines in "The Battle of Haditha" look like a third-rate Iraqi Army unit fresh out of boot camp. They do not know how to: hold their weapons, conduct mounted or dismounted patrols, clear a room, tactically question Iraqis, maintain cover and concealment, return fire, or conduct a squad attack on the enemy. If such things don't concern you, then disregard what I've said, but this is a point of professional pride for me and I really wish Broomfield had been able to get a bunch of real grunts for his actors. When I tried to get my company to watch this as a training film, the other Marines honed right in on this problem and were worried that some of our new-joins would get the wrong impression of how to behave in a combat zone.

Maybe I'm the last person who should be reviewing this - maybe this film was made to explain what Iraq is like to people who have never been there. If that's your opinion, go see it. But it was not made for Iraq veterans. If that's what you want to see, I recommend the HBO "Generation Kill" series or PBS's Frontline: Rules of Engagement, which gets more of the technical details right.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible March 25 2014
By DSmith - Published on Amazon.com
It started off okay, but as soon as the action started I couldn't finish the film. The tactics depicted in this movie are completely off, if you have insurgents shooting at you from a higher vantage point every single Marine has been taught to assault through the threat. From POG's and damn sure a Rifle Company which is what is depicted in this film. The film maker seems to want to take this mostly from the vantage point of the Iraqi's. He would like you to believe they have no choice but to keep quiet about Al Qaeda, but because of this they are targeted by the Marines when a roadside IED goes off. We all have choices in life, either good or bad and one way or the other it will come back to you. The acting is terrible and its obvious the Marines are trying to hard to sound like what I suppose is the stereotype of Marines. Bottom line don't waste your time!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The whole story... June 1 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
The producer and director of this film only tell part of the story. It is pointed out that the video was taken by the terrorists themselves. They coached the little girl victim. Look at the final outcome. Six of the eight Marines originally accused in the case had their charges dismissed by military judges, and a seventh was cleared of criminal wrongdoing. One Marine plead guilty to dereliction of duty for giving the order providing negligent verbal instructions to the Marines under his command when he told them to "shoot first and ask questions later,". The terrorists themselves often used civilians as cover and considered "collateral damage" as part of their activity.

This film only tells part of the story. It appears sympathetic to the terrorists and portrays the Marines as immature and undisciplined. I was in the Marine Corps and experienced a tour in Vietnam. I can assure you that while some enlisted personnel are immature, discipline was the order of the day.
30 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shameless propaganda Oct. 21 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Classic anti-American, self hating propaganda that gleefully portrays Marines as robotic killing machines. Not terribly surprising given the director's past body of work. This movie belongs in the same class as Michael Moore's files, fiction masquerading as documentary. The actors however, did a magnificent job. Especially noteworthy is the performance of Elliot Ruiz as a troubled Corporal.
36 of 48 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is an ANTI-MILITARY movie! May 30 2012
By brad - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
As a former Marine who lead patrols in Iraq I can say that this is the worst portrayal of Marines I have EVER seen. Almost every second of this movie makes me sick. Marines DO NOT conduct themselves in this manner AT ALL. Do not think for a second that the United States Marine Corps would put up with a single Marine acting in this manner much less an entire unit.

If you are an Anti-American, Anti-Military, propagandist than this movie is for you. It is obvious that this piece of dirt was made by that kind of person.

*******THIS IS A FICTIONAL MOVIE THAT IS WAY OVER DRAMATIZING AN UNFORTUNATE EVENT******* do not for a single second think that the FINEST men and women of these United States conduct them selves this way.

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