R. Lee Ermey has had a career like no other in Hollywood. Finding himself in a prominent role in Full Metal Jacket almost by accident. Initially he was only serving as a technical adviser on the set, but he impressed Stanley Kubrick enough to be one of the few allowed to improvise. Ermey has made a career of playing the same stock character: the hard-ass Marine Sergeant. He played it in a bit part over several episodes on House, M.D. and lent his voice to similar characters in both Toy Story films. With sixty films to his credit, Ermey has a Golden Globe nomination to his credit and a niche career. He has never achieved more then what he’s capable of, it seems, but he does one thing better then nearly any other actor out there: have fun blowing stuff up. So it seems appropriate a show dedicated to weaponry would be hosted by an actor so closely identified with the Marine Corps: Lock ‘N’ Load.
Following Ermey an hour at a time, he discusses the history of various weapons of warfare from their beginnings to their modern counterparts. Going into quite a lot of detail, this is a complete look at the machinations of war with the enthusiasm only he can bring to the situation.
The great thing is that they cover more than just what the weapon is and how it works. Actually using the weapon, and delving into the mechanics and physics to give an in-depth look. They also delve into the reason why technology changed, including the whys behind the adaptations of weapons to new ways of combat, to give you a true “boots on the ground” approach to the subject. It’s the why behind the how, including the uses and how the uses changed over time as warfare evolved from the trenches of World War I to the current War on Terrorism.
Not only covering American implements of warfare, as they cover the full history of many weapons including the foreign advancements. This is mainly an American perspective, as Ermey mainly gives us the U.S Military evolution of fighting, but Ermey is willing to step in and give credit where it is due elsewhere. But the treat is Ermey and the real reason to watch the film.
Obviously if you’re a fan of weaponry and the machinations behind modern warfare this is a treasure trove of information, but Ermey gives such a zest to the material that the show is fascinating in and of itself. Ermey has such a zest for the proceedings, as well as a deep knowledge and love of it, which one can’t help but get into it because of his energy. He has an easy repartee with the soldiers and weapons experts, getting them to forget that they’re on a television show and be able to discuss their respective subjects in a way that makes it easily accessible.
If there ever was a project Ermey was tailor made for, this is it.
Presented in a Dolby Digital surround sound with a full-screen format, the transfer is terrific. It really shines during the moments when Ermey gets to engage targets with whatever weapon he is armed with; using slow motion to replay it, the image gets fascinating to watch because of its detail.
The History Channel is known for good programs on a variety of subjects, and Lock ‘n’ Load is no exception.
The History Channel presents Lock ‘N’ Load. Hosted by R. Lee Ermey Running time: 10 hours. 11 minutes. Not Rated. Released on DVD: February 23, 2010. Available at Amazon.