As the thriller Iraq war movie The Hurt Locker steams to Academy Awards night, soldiers and veterans are blasting the popular film as Hollywood hooey, portraying them as reckless death cowboys. Critics have emerged just days before Best Picture ballots are due for the Oscars. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has praised the film as "authentic" and "compelling," but one expert called events surrounding the bomb demolition crew at the center of the film "laughable."
Others are upset about the outrageous risks taken by the hero in director Kathryn Bigelow's movie, portrayed by actor Jeremy Renner. "There is too much John Wayne," said one. Another called the film "disrespectful" of the armed forces. "We are not cowboys. We are not reckless. We are professionals. And a lot of the film would make you think the opposite," said Paul Rieckhoff, the executive director and founder of the 150,000-member Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
(Read more The Hurt Locker stories.)