Some More Support Why Black Hawk Down is the Greatest War Movie Ever.

15 Jun

Recently I was reading Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics (2007) and came across this passage from Chapter 2 “Movie Maker Mathematics–How Hollywood Shoots from the Hip.”

Getting Gunfights Right:

“Some movie makers do get gunfight scenes right, as in, for example, Black Hawk Down.  The movie depicts 123 elite US soldiers fighting a desperate battle in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3rd, 1993, on a mission to capture a renegade warlord’s key associates.  In realistic manner the characters rarely fire anything from the hip, even when firing fully automatic weapons.  Large machine guns are actually reloaded and tend to be fired in short bursts lasting no more than a few seconds at most.

One scene lends an unusual touch of realism when the hot, empty cartridges eject from a rapid firing minigun in an overhead helicopter shower down on a hapless soldier, giving him minor burns.  These weapons look like old fashioned, hand cranked multi-barreled Gatling guns, but that’s as far as the comparison goes.  Unlike Gatling guns, miniguns are rotated at high speed by an electric motor, which gives them an incredible firing rate.  Their multiple barrels are needed to keep them from melting.  Even at that, empty cartridge cases ejected from them are too hot to touch.

[For the most part ed] Movie makers are intelligent, talented, and well funded.  They can hire a busload of top experts for the price of a single supporting actor, but it does little good unless the experts are granted some power.  In Black Hawk Down, the moviemakers didn’t just pay experts, they paid attention to them.”

Such recognition by a book dedicated to exposing Hollywood’s “best mistakes, goofs and flat out destruction of the basic laws of the universe” only adds to the pageantry of Black Hawk Down.


Posted by on June 15, 2010 in Movie Reviews


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14 responses to “Some More Support Why Black Hawk Down is the Greatest War Movie Ever.

  1. catzikay

    June 15, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Cheers for Black Hawk Down! I don’t usually like war movies (especially modern war films), but this one was really good.


    • jpfmovies

      June 17, 2010 at 3:29 am

      It is always great to meet a fellow fan. By the way, nice site you have there.


  2. Guillermo Morales

    June 15, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Well, them’s fighting words (no pun intended). Are you SURE there aren’t any other movies in the running for greatest war movie ever? Black Hawk Down is awesome, but what makes it so great?…so it’s well done, cinematically, and it’s realistic, but what is the director trying to tell us? What are YOU really trying to tell us? What makes Black Hawk Down better (since you’ve focused on the realism) than a good documentary (or maybe even the documentary about the making of Black Hawk Down–hey, maybe you should review that)? I am not sure if you have really written the review of Black Hawk Down yet — yes, I know it is there, April 16, but what I’m saying is, you have more to say about this film, don’t you?


  3. dr h

    June 16, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    Bonnie, martial arts movie are an exception to the rule of physics, since we are prepared to suspend belief or disbelief just like with Indian Movies.
    More important is the insult by Hollywood to our intelligence in supposedly crime or war movies with real life scenarios.
    Consider this: In Die Hard 4 the car driven by none other than Bruce Willis, hits a speed breaker just as he jumps out, propels up like a missile and hits a chopper waiting out side the tunnel. You have got to watch it guys.


    • Bonnie

      June 20, 2010 at 11:09 pm

      But not all martial arts movies violate the laws of physics–some are really beautifully done. Some of the scenes from Kung Fu, for example, and some Bruce Lee sequences are a joy to watch — Bruce Lee especially because he is so (okay was so) lightning fast. There’s nothing fake about that!


  4. dr h

    June 16, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    As for being the best war movie, I guess people will differ for the simple reason that its more docu-drama than fiction.
    Full metal jacket,thin red line,Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now,Saving Pvt. Ryan, Patton, Guns of Navarone, Where Eagles Dare, Batlle of the Bulge and my favorite two war comedys The russians are coming and Petticoat junction are all making the short list.


    • jpfmovies

      June 17, 2010 at 3:28 am

      Well those are good movies no doubt about it. BHD is, in my opinion, the best war movie ever when you look a the whole film. For instance the BHD sound track is perfect for the movie. Also, BHD (unlike in the movies mentioned) shows elite troops that have little or no combat experience which is reflected in the film and that the enemy (the Somali militia) were battle hardened through years of civil war which is also reflected in the film. In the movies you mentioned, all of the soldiers/characters are portrayed as ultra-soldiers or spies who a as comfortable in battle as they are in bed. Also each one of your movies suffers from the overt defects discussed in the book that I lifted the passage from. Which is fine because that what movies are for, but BHD’s compliance with the laws of physics gives it an edge that the other don’t have.


  5. dr h

    June 18, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Platoon and Bridge on the river Kuawi were movies that showed human fraility and war as backdrop for complex issues. BHD was very good but honestly JP, how many will remember it after a few yrs.


    • jpfmovies

      June 18, 2010 at 1:54 pm

      Bridge over the River Kuawi! I am shocked. Unlike BHD, this movie is one of the most wildly distorted portrayals of history. Horribly inaccurate, this movie does nothing to honor the hundreds of thousands of Dutch, British, Chinese, American and indigenous people enslaved as laborers that the sadistic Japanese killed and tortured building the Burma Railway. The bridge was to be built “over the bodies of the white man” as stated by the head Japanese engineer. Former POW’s have said that the fictional Nicholson would have been quietly eliminated, even if he had reached the unlikely rank of Lt-Colonel. The real officer in charge, Philip Toosey, was a hero and this film insults his memory. Moreover, the actual bridge was built of steel and concrete, not wood. You cannot make a great film by telling a monstrous lie. Sadly many people only learn history from films and so each generation that sees it is hoodwinked.


      • Bonnie

        June 18, 2010 at 7:13 pm

        JP. THIS is your best post ever. I think you should expand it and write an entire blog entry on this topic.


      • Bonnie

        June 18, 2010 at 7:15 pm

        And I think the title for the blog entry on this topic should be your line, “You cannot make a great film by telling a monstrous lie.”


      • jpfmovies

        June 18, 2010 at 11:20 pm

        Jude had better get his proverbial sh*t together.


  6. dr h

    June 18, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I stand corrected. Actually I wanted to recommend The Great Escape but I thought The Bridge appears more intellectual and I couldn’t let an opportunity to sound high brow,pass, could I.



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