This article argues that Ridley Scott's film Black Hawk Down (2001) may be seen with the benefit of historical hindsight as a portrait of the fear of imperial overreach and failure as written through the psyche of elite U.S. soldiers. In Black Hawk Down, Mogadishu and its denizens are made to stand in for the worst fears of the American military and the civilian policymaking establishment: the city, and, by extension, urban Africa, is represented as a feral zone in which the U.S. military's unmatched firepower and technology are overwhelmed in densely populated slums. The Mog, as the film's Special Forces troops call the city, is a ramshackle megacity whose residents are armed to the teeth with the military detritus of the Cold War. Mogadishu thus embodies the new Heart of Darkness, a stateless urban world of vicious Hobbesian war of all against all. This view of Africa as the vanguard of anarchy is shared by a significant segment of the elite in the global North, who see the criminalization of the state in Africa as a direct threat to U.S. interests. If, as these analysts hold, it is from such feral zones that future threats to American society are likely to originate, then potent new weapons systems must be developed to deal with this racialized new world disorder. This article unpacks the ahistorical character of such selfserving representations of urban Africa, underlining the extent to which policies pursued during the Cold War and neoliberal era by powers such as the U.S. have helped to create the conditions that Black Hawk Down represents in such spectacular excess.