The Real 'Hurt Locker' Revealed

Bomb specialists in Afghanistan and Iraq wars weigh in on Oscar-nominated film.

ByABC News
February 28, 2010, 2:12 PM

Feb. 28, 2010 — -- It's a heart-pounding feeling -- being inside a 100-pound protective suit, with your own life and the lives of everyone around you in your hands as you're disarming a bomb.

The life of a military bomb-disposal specialist -- at least as depicted in the critically acclaimed movie "The Hurt Locker" -- is pure adrenaline.

The film has been nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture. But how accurate is it?

Marine Tim Colomer saw "The Hurt Locker" and said, "It took me back to Iraq almost immediately. ... It was tantamount to being there."

Colomer deactivated more than 150 bombs in Iraq as a Marine explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) technician in 2006 and 2007.

He says the movie's bomb-disposal scenes come as close as possible to portraying the incredible danger, tension and, yes, the fear that came with the job.

"Oh, absolutely," said Colomer, who was injured -- but remained in Iraq -- when his heavily armored vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in December 2006.

"Anybody who says that they're not scared in a position like that is self-inflated. They're just not telling you the truth," he said. "Yeah, every call we went on we were scared."

Since the wars in Afghanistan and Iran began, more than 50 U.S. bomb technicians have been killed, even though the majority of explosive devices are now deactivated by robots.

Journalist Mark Boal wrote the screenplay for "The Hurt Locker" based on his experience embedded with an ordnance disposal unit in Iraq in 2004 for a story in Rolling Stone magazine.

Kathryn Bigelow, who directed "The Hurt Locker" and is nominated for an Academy Award, said she found the story of troops who have "arguably the most dangerous job in the world" compelling.

"What kind of character does this? What you and I would run from they walk towards 10, 12, 15 times a day," she told ABC News earlier this year. "I thought it was a pretty interesting psychology to examine this in a movie."