Generation Kill

Created by David Simon, Ed Burns and Evan Wright (HBO Home Video)

One captain in the 2003-era US Marine Corps' First Reconnaissance Battalion is dumb and deluded; another's paranoid, manic and dangerous. Their boss is capable, but accolade-hungry---he sends his marines into situations their unarmored Humvees aren't equipped to handle. Journalist Evan Wright was embedded with First Recon during the early stages of the Iraq war. Generation Kill, an HBO miniseries from the brain-trust behind The Wire (David Simon and Ed Burns), is based on Wright's book of the same name, and follows the battalion through the poorly planned chaos of the war's first phase. It's easy to guess what attracted Burns and Simon to this wartime story: The messy politics governing First Recon are reminiscent of the flawed Baltimore infrastructure they so compellingly brought to life on The Wire. GK's lack of background music and unnecessary exposition, hilarious, realistic dialogue, commitment to authenticity and high quality are similarly Wire-esque. Simon and Burns had five seasons to gently build The Wire's complex world and characters; here they only have seven episodes, so characters that likely would have been fleshed out if GK were longer stay one-note here. One-note for Burns and Simon, that is.

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