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Full Metal Jacket (1987)

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Released in 1986, <i>Full...
Friday, April 17, 2020

Released in 1986, Full Metal Jacket is Stanley Kubrick's film about Vietnam, adapted from a novel by the reclusive and bitter Vietnam veteran Gustav Harford, and then further expanded by acclaimed Vietnam journalist Michael Herr. The film breaks down neatly into two very different parts, though both are seen through the eyes of young United States marine J. T. "Joker" Davis (Matthew Modine). In the first act, Davis makes his way through Marine basic training with a motley group of other recruits under the hellish command of gunnery sergeant Hartmann (R. Lee Ermey). Joker watches as Hartmann bullies an overweight and dim-witted recruit cruelly nicknamed Gomer Pyle (Vincent D'Onofrio), until Pyle explodes into murderous revenge. In the second act, now set in Vietnam where Joker is doing a tour of duty as a military journalist, the protagonist and his fellow Marines find themselves on the front line during the Tet Offensive and Joker witnesses firsthand...

The Marine's don't...
Friday, October 9, 2020

The Marine's don't want robots - they want killers. This is the journey undertaken by Private "Joker" J.T. Davis, from brutal training camp to Vietnam itself. As most people know by now, Full Metal Jacket is divided very much into two different halves, halves that to me show the best and worst of the talented director, Stanley Kubrick. For the first part we are subjected to the training regime inflicted on wet behind the ears boys, boys soon to become Marines out in the harshness of the Vietnam War. This is real dehumanising stuff, frighteningly essayed by the brilliance of drill instructor R Lee Ermey's performance. We know, see and feel that the boys are primed to be killing machines, unemotional killing machines at that, with Kubrick astutely weaving the brutality of camp into the moral quandary that was the war itself. One particular recruit, Private Gomer (a heartfelt and unnervingly great Vincent D'Onofrio) is the...

**The second half is better...
Friday, April 17, 2020

**The second half is better than the first half.** A film of two halves. The first half of the fiim focuses on the training of raw recruits and features shenanigans we have seen countless times before - think _Stripes_ and _Police Academy_. The persecution of the fat guy - a scenario we had already witnessed in Stripes and Police Academy ( "_I could show a movie on your butt, fatso_!"- Lt Harris, Police Academy) is here played out to maximum effect. The fat guy who freezes atop a climbing frame is the central plot here with Matthew Modine's character playing second fiddle to all of the _Leslie Barbara_ stuff. The second half of the movie at least gives us something we were not expecting when a sniper's identity is revealed. - Ian Beale

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