Spike TV's The Kill Point melds two popular leftist stereotypes of the U.S. military in Iraq: soldiers as victims and soldiers as violent criminals.
The show premiered July 22 with a two-hour episode that is gripping, emotional and overtly anti-war.
John Leguizamo stars as Mr. Wolf, a disgruntled Marine vet from Iraq, who leads members of his old unit to rob a bank in Pittsburgh. But the plan goes awry, and the ex-Marines are forced to take everyone in the bank (about 30 people) hostage, initiating a grueling standoff.
The five Iraq veterans are rational, ruthless and charged with testosterone. One veteran prepares to rape blond socialite Ashley Beck before a SWAT team infiltration interrupts the lewd act. Veterans promptly gun down a woman who tries to resist, and when police cut off power to the bank, Mr. Wolf decides to retaliate by executing the bank manager. An elderly gay man steps between Wolf and the bank manager, and the lights flip back on at the last second. “How did you get the courage to do what you did?” asks the excitable bank manager. He replies: “I came out of the closet in '52.” The Kill Point does manage to portray somebody as a hero, but it isn't a soldier.
The ex-Marines are more than bloodthirsty criminals. They are also victims of an incompetent, politicized government that refuses to take care of them. Mr. Wolf makes an appointment to meet special negotiator “Horst Cali” outside the bank, and takes the opportunity to deliver an impassioned anti-war speech to everyone in earshot.
“I love my country. I fought for my country. I would die for my country. But I came home to sickness and disease,” he says. He takes off most of his clothes to show the scars of wounds he incurred while fighting in Fallujah. “You know when I close my eyes, do you know what I see? I see the faces of the soldiers and civilians I killed. And the goddamned government smokes me out with their lies and away goes my pension, away goes my medical,” leading to the death of his wife, we later learn. “Go ahead and shoot me,” he says. “I served my country. 15 years I gave. Now who's going to protect me?”
Wolf concludes: “I want a flak jacket for every soldier in Iraq because the goddamned government doesn't think they're necessary. And I want every senator who voted 'yes' for this war to sign up for active duty.” Wolf's speech draws wild applause from the crowd gathered outside, and police officers and reporters join in.
Other Iraq veterans watch on TV, one still suffering from horrible wounds, and they pack up to fight with their comrades trapped in the bank.
The show is calculated to arouse sympathy for the “victim” soldiers driven to psychosis by the military and the Iraq war. The Kill Point perpetuates damaging stereotypes of American soldiers serving in Iraq while disparaging their mission and attacking the motives of their leaders.
David Niedrauer is an intern at the Culture and Media Institute, a division of the Media Research Center.