It turns out that The Hurt Locker wasn't the legal minefield it was accused of being.
A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed last year against the makers of the Oscar-winning Iraq war drama by a U.S. Army sergeant who claimed that screenwriter Mark Boal ripped off his life and wartime experiences to create Jeremy Renner's Ranger Sgt. First Class Will James, aka "Blaster One."
Actually, going by the ruling, the critics weren't the only big fans of the cinematic nail-biter.
"Here, the value of The Hurt Locker unquestionably derived from the creativity and skill of the writers, directors, and producers who conceived, wrote, directed, edited, and produced it," U.S. District Court Judge Jaqueline H. Nguyen wrote in her 22-page decision to dismiss the case.
Sounds like a ringing endorsement for Kathryn Bigelow & Co. to us!
"No artist should ever be forced to create entire fictional worlds that have no basis in reality simply because they fear the threat of meritless lawsuits," said attorney Jeremiah Reynolds, who represented Bigelow and Boal.
The plaintiff, Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver, was also ordered to pay the defense's legal fees, but his attorney, Todd Welgarz, says they're going to appeal the decision.
"We are not going to stop representing the rights of Sgt. Sarver and other military members and the privacy of their families," Welgarz said.
Meanwhile, Boal can breathe a sigh of relief.
"The Hurt Locker was inspired by many soldiers I met and interviewed during my time reporting in Iraq and elsewhere," said Boal, who was embedded with Sarver's unit in Iraq in 2004 as research for the eventual Playboy article that served as the basis for 2010's Best Picture Oscar winner.
"It was a disservice to all of those other soldiers for Sgt. Sarver to claim that he was the only soldier that was the basis for the hero of the film. I am glad that the Court has decided to dismiss the lawsuit."
Nguyen also said she was dismissing Sarver's complaint because Boal's article was published in 2005, and the statute of limitations had run out to sue for certain grievances that he claimed originated with the magazine piece.
UPDATE 12/9/2011: Sgt. Jeffrey Sarver was ordered by a federal judge to pay more than $180,000 in attorneys fees for filing the lawsuit that was eventually dismissed, per The Hollywood Reporter. According to court documents, $38,000 of that total goes to Boal and Bigelow, $90,000 for the Hurt Locker producing team and $59,000 for Summit.