Posted on August 12, 2019
I served in the military, but I am not a military man. I’ve never read any books on military tactics and would say I only have the glancing acquaintance with the famous strategies of, say, Agincourt, Little Big Horn, Pearl Harbor, Midway, Normandy, etc.
So I feel like it’s an acceptable position for someone who’s not a military expert to ask that the people making movies that include combat spend a few pennies on an actual graduate of the War College to go over their scripts before they commit them to film?
The opening bombing run in The Last Jedi is just as abysmal as every human attack from Starship Troopers and for the same reason: dumb tactics that cost the lives of soldiers. Sending bombers out without adequate fighter support hasn’t been attempted since the Allies finally developed long-range fighter escorts in WWII. And dropping bombs when there’s no gravity? Or even using bombs at all when you have technology that wouldn’t put human pilots at risk.
For Starship Troopers, I sat there in that theater and watched them send in wave after wave of infantry without support from air or artillery so they could get slaughtered. Again, this is something that hasn’t been done since WWI doughboys charged into the teeth of oil-cooled machinegun fire with bayonets fixed.
We’ve seen them do well. For instance, the opening battle in Gladiator may not be historically accurate, but it makes sense militarily given the technology of the time. The landing at the opening of Saving Private Ryan could have been assembled from documentary footage and showed how a decentralized army with forward commanders who could think for themselves beat an entrenched army that had to call home before they did anything.
In a time of forever wars, surely we’ve got enough military advisers out there to prevent other such catastrophes from ruining otherwise good films.