Judge Steve Power doesn't hate watermelons, he just thinks you need to kill 'em before you eat 'em.
Join Gunnery Sergeant, Vietnam vet, actor, and scary, scary man R. Lee Ermey (Full Metal Jacket) as he takes us through the inner workings and functionality of the battlefield weapons that helped make history.
The setup is pretty simple, Lock N' Load with R. Lee Ermey is broken into 13 episodes, each with a focus on a particular type of military weaponry. A typical episode starts at the earliest recorded time for the weapon of choice; Ermey, along with a group of experts and soldiers, demonstrate these weapons while going into great detail about their histories. They then move through the decades (centuries in some cases) and go more modern with the tech. Stats on notable weaponry is given to the viewier, and 3D graphics educate on the technology behind the weapon; often highlighting the evolution from model to model. It's all interesting stuff, presented in a fashion that never becomes dry or boring. What is even more impressive is the "live fire" demonstrations, where Ermey and his people get on a range and actually put this gear to the test. You really get an idea as to the destructive force contained in these volatile weapons. Highlights for me focused on pistols, rifles and two separate episodes devoted to the evolution of the machine gun. The tech is impressive, Ermey is charming and funny, and the display of power is both impressive and intimidating.
The show's biggest boon is its host; one Gunnery Sergeant Ronald Lee "Gunny" Ermey. Ermey is at home with the plethora of weaponry on display, and the guy revels like a preschooler in rice pudding. He's got an approach that treats the serious weapons on display with the respect they deserve, but he's got that gung-ho simper fi mentality that also allows for some fun to be had. On top of that, this guy is a natural warrior. Even past his mid-60s he looks comfortable and capable with every weapon that's passed his way, from rifles and pistols to crew-supported machine guns and bows and arrows. Ermey is right at home with implements of destruction, and he's got a charismatic delivery that entertains and generates more than a few laughs. I never thought I could sit down and be entertained by 10 plus hours of words like "rounds per minute" and "muzzle velocity," but Ermey makes it all fun.
History Channel's presentation is actually a pretty poor effort. Over ten years into DVD's lifespan, and with the prevalence of 16x9 TV's in this day and age, why the hell are we still being straddled with non-anamorphic transfers? The 1:78.1 video fills my set perfectly when I zoom the sucker, and looks more than passable, but I can imagine how clear the video might have been had it actually been mastered in anamorphic. The audio is also somewhat problematic, probably due to the nature of the recording, as outdoor filming does tend to add noise to the proceedings. It's passable, but I had to crank the volume on my system to almost twice what I typically use. There are no extra features.
R. Lee Ermey NEVER misses! Not Guilty! Keep your powder dry, and your eyes on the target!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: History Channel
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