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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Gun Camera
Gun Camera
Discovery Channel // Unrated // June 5, 2007
List Price: $14.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted October 28, 2007 | E-mail the Author
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The Documentary

Gun Camera is a three-part documentary. The documentary addresses the gun camera, which is a tool used in military vehicles. One of the key purposes is to provide pilots/operators with a means to review combat engagements with the hope to learn from their experiences. It is generally referred to as a gun camera because (in most systems) it is activated when the vehicle's weapons are triggered. The gun camera has been used for many years and first became common during World War II. The documentary is detailed in three television-hour long episodes: "Moving Targets", "Air Superiority", and "Fixed Targets".

Moving Targets

"Moving Targets" is the first documentary that is about the gun camera and its development from World War II. It includes detailed a review of footage from World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War. Specifically, it looks at the gun camera's use in air-to-air, trains, air-to-ground, strafing, and at sea.

The episode begins with a quick overview of gun cameras and their purpose in combat operations. It continues with William Davis (a WWII Naval aviator) and Doug Keeney reviewing footage from WWII gun camera footage. Afterwards, Keeney is joined by Don Farmer (another pilot) to talk about trains and the importance of cutting off supply convoys to the enemy. It is referenced to WWII and the Vietnam War. Next the discussion moves into the use of F18 and Apache air vehicles to attack various moving targets in Iraq. There are also discussions about strafing (air-to-ground attacks to destroy targets of opportunity) and WWII attacks on the Japanese navy.

The cool part about the episode is how the material presented. After the introduction of a new topic, the vehicles involved and their arsenals are outlined. It provides a good understanding of what to expect (combat-wise). The actual reviews provide a good analysis of what happened with real-life military pilots.

Air Superiority

"Air Superiority" is the next documentary. It focuses on the gun camera's usage in the air and details team oriented tactics, aerial combat, mastery of the skies, helicopters, and bombing runs. It covers Iraqi Operation Freedom, World War II, and the Vietnam War.

The episode begins with Marine Major John Passant reviewing footage from Iraqi Operation Freedom. F-18s were used to attack various ground facilities in Iraq and used time delayed munitions. There is a lot of jargon provided and explained. Afterwards William Davis and Doug Keeney return to talk about more of World War II. They review footage of attacking grounded Japanese planes and avoiding anti-aircraft artillery. The next topic of discussion is about WWII air superiority, which focuses on the non-combat moments (like confirming kills), WWII fighter plane tactics, U-H1 Huey and Apache, and bomber planes in WWII.

This episode is somewhat similar to "Moving Targets". There is some redundant information between the two. Still, "Air Superiority" has some pretty cool information, such as the extensive discussion and review of bombers in WWII.

Fixed Targets

"Fixed Targets" is the next documentary. It is focuses on the gun camera's usage in contrast to "Moving Targets", but details common information (such as strafing) and also to "Air Superiority". The episode details deadly precision, bombs eye view, high explosives, targets of opportunity, and bombers. Specifically, it looks at attacks on fixed targets like bunkers, bridges, and buildings. The discussion looks at footage from World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq.

The episode begins with various individuals talking about "deadly precision". Don Farmer and Doug Keeney return to review more footage from WWII attacking buildings. Afterwards, there is a pretty cool discussion with John Passant about attacking bunkers in the Gulf War with an F-18. Keith Bauer also provides some commentary about attacking bunkers. The documentary continues with more information about the Gulf War and bombing ground targets, the Vietnam War with dual-tasked fighters/bombers, attacking targets of opportunity like trains, WWII carpet bombing, and more.

This episode provides good detail and extensive footage of attacks on fixed targets. However, some of the material feels redundant, as the topic is addressed (with less detail) in "Moving Targets" and "Air Superiority".

The DVD

Video:
The video is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is decent; the image has a distinct grain and other noticeable visual defects. It is common to other television productions of this caliber. There is also a lot of stock footage used from World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Gulf War, which looks pretty rough. However, that is how it is supposed to look.

Audio:
The audio is given in English 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The audio track is very simple and plain sounding. Dialogue is easily heard throughout the episodes. There is no support for subtitles or closed captioning.

Extras:
There are deleted scenes (13:08) included for all three episodes. Each deleted scene segment is approximately four minutes in length.

Final Thoughts:
Gun Camera is a three-part documentary about a strategic tool used in combat operations. The gun camera is a system/device attached to a vehicle the traditionally records the visual occurrences during a combat engagement. This documentary looks at gun camera footage and reviews it with active duty and retired military, as well as a military historian. The documentary is interesting and provides a good level of detail for those who want to learn more about U.S. air superiority in World War II, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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