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Generation Kill

4.5 out of 5 stars 3,076 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Generation Kill (DVD)

A Marine chronicles his experiences during the first wave of the American-led assault on Baghdad in 2003.

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There's macho, there's military macho, and then there's the over-the-top machismo of the Marines. In the HBO miniseries Generation Kill, one character--a Marine--describes his branch of the military as "America's pitbull." The seven episodes of Generation Kill follow a battalion of Marines as they lead the invasion of Iraq, ultimately rolling into Baghdad itself by the last show. The language is dense with obscenities and military jargon, but it's surprisingly easy to follow, even if you don't study the glossary that comes in a booklet with the box set. What isn't so easy to distinguish are the characters themselves, except by surface details: This guy has a hoarse voice, this guy is an embedded journalist (a stand-in for Evan Wright, the Rolling Stone reporter who wrote the book the series is based on), this guy is a white supremacist, this guy has a mustache, this guy is an officer obsessed with the other guy's mustache. The problem is that people are ultimately defined by what they do, and soldiers in war are all doing pretty much the same thing: Shooting, swearing, and sitting around as they wait to shoot and swear some more. But Generation Kill isn't aiming for personal identification; the creators of the series (David Simon and Ed Burns, producers of the critically-adored The Wire) aim to immerse the viewer in the texture of the experience--which, in this case, is mostly chaos and confusion. Sandstorms are as great a threat as mortar fire; pizza trucks arrive out of nowhere on the brink of a mission (conveniently providing a bit of product placement); and the rules of engagement keep changing as the goals of the higher-ups grow increasing out-of-synch with the war on the ground. Generation Kill captures the frustration and increasing cynicism of the grunt troops with vivid skill, as their simplistic morality--kill the bad guys!--grows more and more hollow. Extras include some brief interviews with real Marines; the usual making-of documentary, mildly interesting but justly deleted scenes, and audio commentaries; and entertaining video diaries from Eric Ladin, the actor who plays the white supremacist. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

  • Seven-part miniseries on three discs
  • Generation Kill: A Conversation with the 1st Recon Marines
  • Making Generation Kill
  • Eric Ladin's Video Diaries
  • Deleted dialogues
  • Audio commentaries
  • Exclusive insert including military glossary, mission map, and more

Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, Closed-captioned, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: HBO Studios
  • DVD Release Date: December 16, 2008
  • Run Time: 362 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,076 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001AQO3WY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,924 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This series is an accurate and engrossing depiction of combat in Iraq. The Marines are presented realistically, as neither heroes nor villains, but men doing their jobs. There are stoic idealists like Sgt. Colbert and borderline psychotics like Cpt. America, and everything in between. This is just like any military unit, or any group of people for that matter. Instead of idealizing war, Generation Kill simply gives viewers a glimpse of what it is really like. And by the same token, the series does not condemn warfare, as many documentaries and films are so tempted to do lately.

War is frustrating for the individual soldier. Not just the Iraq War, but any war. Generation Kill does an excellent job of capturing this frustration. The Sergeant Major's obsession with the grooming standard is a perfect example of how military units often lose track of what their priorities should be. But in the Sergeant Major's defense, standards are set for a reason. And if you stop enforcing some, others will usually follow. In combat, small standards and procedures often determine whether people live or die.

On a more technical note, the acting and writing in Generation Kill were very well done. Realistically portraying a soldier or marine is probably one of the most difficult roles for an actor. There are so many subtle nuances of being a soldier or marine, that without actually being one, it is hard to understand them. Generation Kill did a great job of training the actors to look and sound believable.

I was in Iraq for 27 months, in 2005 and in 2007/2008, and I can attest that this series is about as accurate as you can get in a film. I am in the Army, but I worked pretty extensively with Marines during both of my tours, so I have a pretty decent knowledge of how they work.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am an active duty Soldier and have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you want to see the truth and "experience" the reality we all face, watch this series. There is none of the normal Hollywood left wing/right wing garbage anywhere in this series. It has no agenda except to show America the raw truth. The attention to detail in this series is unmatched. Down to having grid coordinates written on the inside of the Humvee windshields on the Vehicle Commander's (front passenger) side. Which is something we all do. This is a 7 part series and it took me over two weeks to finish it. There were several times I had to just stop watching. That's not insulting it, that just shows how real it is. It shows the boredom, humor, horror and absolute heartbreak of combat. It pulls no punches. There is no shortage of regrettable civilian casualties, which sadly, is so often the case when facing an enemy with no uniform. It goes to great lengths to show the all too common incompetence of senior leaders who see combat tours and body bags as a means to quick promotions, and will take completely uncalculated risks to achieve that next rank, always at their men's expense. America, I can't say enough about this series. It's something everyone should see.

Michael A. Sampsell
SFC, USA
Cavalryman
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I read through the "1 Star Reviews" and was unimpressed, such individuals obviously lost the point of this series completely. After buying and watching the entire series three times, truth is; this series is great; its dead honest. It doesn't glamorize war, killing, or the lifestyle of the Marine 1st Reconnaissance Battalion. If you want a left or right wing slanted view of the war, look elsewhere. If you want a real look at the initial invasion of Iraq, the command level military bravado/arrogance, lack of communication, lack of proper planning/equipment, amazing officers and grunts, as well as the totally incompetent and incapable officers and grunts, and the real feel of the fog of war and how individual personalities "fit" into all of this, this is a great series to watch. I will also add that the "characters" represented here are in-part "played" by the real marines which this story is about. The screenplay was written by the embedded reporter of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, and "lived" with "B-Company" for about 9 weeks. This embed Reporter was advised on the creation this series by the "real" same Marines whom this story is about. It is as accurate as you are going to get for a "mass media" related film, the only closer you can get, is actual footage.

Many complain about the "civilian killing" and "dedicating / urination" content, but to be honest; its accurate. Its no 5 Star hotel nor is it something to be overlooked if you want to be complete and honest. Truth is in war -especially this war, you can never be sure of whom your shooting at until your being shot at, so you do your best to make the right decisions; this series underlines that and the struggle to do this while following -at times, insane orders.
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Format: Blu-ray
UPDATE: I uploaded a customer image of the Marine jargon used in this series. It will be very useful to new persons to this series.

I'm a big fan of Band of Brothers and The Pacific and I went into Generation Kill hoping for more of the same and I was not disappointed. It's definitely an honest look at modern military activity. When the good guys aren't so good and the bad guys aren't always bad. While it's not as epic as the previously mentioned series it still is a phenomenal production. I love the characters and how you get to see inside them and what motivates them. It's what I love about the series that HBO produces they generally let you look at the different characters on a very in-depth level. It's what makes all these miniseries so much better than movies because of the character development in my opinion.

If you can stand having subtitles very few shows in English benefit as much as GK. The subtitles pick up on a lot of the background chatter plus whatever they use military acronyms it's easier to decipher what they said. Personally I love subtitles whenever I watch the show and I recommend them highly.

I watch this series almost yearly and always will pick up funny new things that I didn't notice on previous viewings. I can't recommend this enough especially if you like military movies or video games.

The one thing I love about this show is the military jargon and radio chatter that is used often. Now I've seen the series five times and over those repeat viewings I've been able to make out or look up what much of the jargon or terms they use mean. the one thing I love about this show is they don't go into depth to explain what they're talking about they leave that up to the viewer to Google it themselves.
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