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3 reviews, 150 user ratings

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Full Metal Jacket
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by Slyder

"A War Memorial"
5 stars

As I watched Full Metal Jacket, I was totally impressed by the way legendary director Stanley Kubrick, could build such a piece like this. I enjoyed it very much but was pretty astounded by the message that it gave out, and certainly makes me wonder about the coining of this movie as “The Greatest War Film Ever Made,” though Platoon and Apocalypse Now could give it a run for its money. But certainly this was a great rebound for Kubrick after his commercial failure “The Shinning,” and pretty much this film has become another classic in the Kubrick library.

So the story follows the experience of Private Joker (Mathew Modine), who joins the marines, and he and a squad of recruits undergo a scorching, dehumanizing and downright mentally and physically exhausting combat training. Led by brutal Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey), the recruits learn what it takes to be trained killers, and to be fearless against the enemy. The audience manages to also learn about the toll that it has on the recruits, especially Private Gomer Pyle (A then-chubby Vincent D’Onofrio), whose cracking under pressure and low self-esteem would eventually prove devastating.

After his experience and graduation Private Joker is sent into Vietnam to fight the war and more so to as a Marine correspondent for Stars and Stripes magazine. But as he covers the war, Joker must also fight to stay alive in the lethal hunting grounds of Vietnam.

The first thing that comes to mind is comparison, since that’s the only way to make sense of why would Kubrick would set up the film in two parts. Anyways, both sections show how the elements of war affect an ordinary person. The training and the fighting are always the challenges, but also take a toll on somebody since you’re always physically and mentally abusing from your own self. Both training and real war have their own points of brutality. Training has is strong point on being brutal on the human body and mind, it teaches you and beats you to pulp until you learn on how to act like an animal, how to kill on sight, and that takes a toll on a person, it changes you forever, and can no longer be the same person you were before, instead your mind is filled with hate, and filled with the urge and desire to kill somebody, you’ve just become a killing machine. The first state of dehumanization has ended.

Due to the brutality of the first part, the second part isn’t as mesmerizing as the first one, but its still captivating, and it follows our recently baptism-of-fire-ed Private Joker as a correspondent to an army gazette. But as he joins a fellow platoon to cover the latest in the Tet Offensive, we are also met with plenty of soldiers, and how they behave now. They’re more hardcore, they’re deranged gung-hoes, some more than others. For some of these soldiers this war is a nightmare, and they want to go home, for others, it’s a heaven, and they kill people like crazy. It doesn’t show as much as in the first section but we can clearly see the second stage of dehumanization (a trademark in mostly all Kubrick films), on how the trained killers react on a real life war environment. These people at first have never killed anyone before, and now, after been brainwashed in the boot camp, they see the enemy and go kill without mercy, without remorse. This of course leads to savagery and madness.

So what are the similarities between the two? Were shown from the top, and through our guide, Private Joker, that war is hell, but we fight to preserve the peace, to preserve freedom, or simply to see how it brings out the worst in people. Of course, that’s what most war movies are all about right? But what’s most unique about this film is that it isn’t a pro-war movie, much less an anti-war movie. Kubrick masterfully narrates the story on both sides of the genre of war, and lays all the cards on the table, with the audience free to choose the point of view that they want, in other words, the movie is whatever you want it to be (a good example is Joker’s outfit, he carries a peace sign medallion and in his helmet is written “Born To Kill”). The film never stops being a portrayal of the Marine Corps, but the involvement in the war and the aspects of war are laid around as the subplots and background of the main story, it doesn’t help a cause nor is against a cause nor it even supports a cause. It’s just a story of a soldier and his involvement in the Marines.

The performances were great from all over. Modine gives out one of the best performances of his career. But R. Lee Ermey astounds in the role of the brutal Drill Sergeant Hartman, how could he not? He was one in real life. Vincent D’Onofrio was also great in a physically and mentally demanding role as the stricken Private Gomer Pyle, while Adam Baldwin also shows us another dark side of humanity as the gung-ho Private Animal Mother. Kubrick’s direction as always is top notch, and the script, co-written by Gustav Hartford was also great.

In the end, I recommend everyone to watch this movie. It’s a war movie yes, but it’s like no other war movie, it doesn’t support no left or right, it stays in the middle and simply tells its story, and never veers off to any direction. For a film to do that requires someone with a lot of talent. But hey, only a great director like Stanley Kubrick would’ve pulled it off. He’ll be sorely missed.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1360&reviewer=235
originally posted: 08/09/01 20:25:58
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User Comments

4/28/18 The Big D. 100% respect for SSgt Ermey's real-life service; movie falls short of Jack Webb's THE D.I. 3 stars
3/24/18 Jeff Wilder Excellent first half, inconsistent second half. 4 stars
12/29/17 morris campbell has its moments but overrated imho 4 stars
2/07/17 Louise Very watchable, with an evocative soundtrack. Seen it several times and never gets stale. 5 stars
3/22/15 stanley welles a powerful, tightly crafted anti-war satire 5 stars
10/31/14 David Hollingsworth harrowing and risky war film 5 stars
4/14/13 Private Joker The first half was worth the price of admission. The second half was a little disorganized. 4 stars
2/13/12 Kyle Amazing film unlike heavy-handed, political crap like Platoon(gritty, aloof and honest.) 5 stars
8/09/10 Quigley The first act is one of the greatest ever. Worth it just for Act 1 alone. 5 stars
6/08/10 Flathead King The characters were not believable and the story was quite predictable. 3 stars
3/24/10 Jeff Extremely entertaining film 5 stars
2/11/10 Simon Despite some overly deliberate/unnatural acting, the direction is meticulous and masterful 5 stars
1/24/10 Chad Dillon Cooper Plays like an R rated Gomer Pyle episode. 5 stars
8/09/09 Jeff Wilder This is what you get if you cross Platoon and Apocalypse Now. Great first half, weak 2nd, 4 stars
7/01/08 RHawk Intense points of emotion in the movie. Great cinematography. Script not the greatest. 4 stars
5/23/08 R.W. Welch A few false notes, but effective stuff for the most part. B+ 4 stars
7/10/07 Total Crap "What is YOUR MAJOR MALFUNCTION, NUMBNUTS" BOOOOOM!!! 5 stars
7/05/07 Corporal B., USMC I have seen the first half +1,000 times....great. The 2nd half maybe 50 times. 5 stars
6/10/07 al smith amazing the best first hour of any movie bar none 5 stars
1/09/07 Abs Feels a 3 episodes stuck together, but other than that it's an awesome film 5 stars
6/27/06 MP Bartley the first half of training is terrific and funny. Second half is meh. 4 stars to be kind. 4 stars
6/19/06 Indrid Cold A few great moments (mostly involving R. Lee Ermey), but the story is flimsy at best. 3 stars
3/25/06 dr jim Maybe the greatest war film ever made 5 stars
3/03/06 omar this was a pointless, stupid movie 1 stars
12/18/05 Dan great movie! 5 stars
11/20/05 John Dog Amazing. 5 stars
11/05/05 Ben Brilliant! 5 stars
8/27/05 Moctezuma Pretty good 5 stars
8/22/05 Isaac Baranoff CInematic masterpiece. 5 stars
8/17/05 ES Jules there was no glorification of war in the longest day, this movie was ok 3 stars
8/05/05 Brandy Harrington "FULL METAL JACKET!" *blows brains out all over the bathroom wall* 5 stars
8/05/05 Pierre Give it a try! 5 stars
7/26/05 Kevin Kubrick Hit this one a little to close to home 5 stars
6/10/05 Anthony G Real good movie 5 stars
4/03/05 Ric Not much worth mentioning past the first forty-five minutes, but still well made overall. 3 stars
3/28/05 chris hargrave genius - part 2 grows out of part one 5 stars
3/26/05 indrid cold 1st half is fantastic, the war scenes are surprisingly bad. See AN or Platoon. 4 stars
2/12/05 ALDO if your looking for a war story...look elsewhere...coz theres hardly any war scenes in this 2 stars
9/29/04 ALBERT great lee ermey! 5 stars
9/26/04 Dan Whose the leader of the club that was made for you and me? M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E. 5 stars
7/11/04 Monster W. Kung Not one of Kubrick's best, but still a foot above your average war movie. 4 stars
7/04/04 john bale Kubrick's Nightmarish Vietnam created in England haunts you long after the film ends 4 stars
4/13/04 IP Freeley I agree with 3 man...first 40 minutes is good then fizzles badly 3 stars
3/02/04 stephanie it was ok, it didn't relly give me a great picture of what vietnam was really like. 3 stars
2/29/04 Daveman While it lacks the hallucinatory horror of AN, it still stands among the best 'nam films. 4 stars
2/22/04 MW Comparable to Apocalypse Now 5 stars
2/10/04 Sergeant Hartman You best unfuck yourself private or I will uncrew your head and shit down your neck!!!! 5 stars
12/25/03 Joe Outstanding 5 stars
12/23/03 dehshir shirgir the best film i have ever seen about vietnam war 5 stars
12/18/03 J Pluim Any one who didn't like this movie is a ill-cultured Jack Ass 5 stars
12/04/03 john it is powerful but has actually very little substance 4 stars
9/26/03 Alan You are far better off watching Platoon. If you have seen Platoon, watch it again. 2 stars
7/30/03 3man "I can't hear you!" Great first 40 mins or so then it kind of fizzles. 4 stars
7/11/03 Indrid Cold 1st half hilarious and terrifying, 2nd half not even close to impact of e.g., Platoon. 3 stars
7/10/03 shon an excellent movie 5 stars
5/20/03 Ryan F. o.k. first half, but lost its vision quick. Another flop for Kubrick 2 stars
2/24/03 Mike Awsome war movie, SEMPER FIDELIS! 5 stars
1/11/03 will that was very interesting indeed 4 stars
12/28/02 Jack Sommersby Superb beginning; dishelved follow-through. 2 stars
10/22/02 Nevz Hardcore. 5 stars
10/02/02 Daniel Ehrlich Hard core. Fucking hard core. This is the first movie about war that has ever moved me 4 stars
9/29/02 Morally Sound "You're so ugly you could be a modern art masterpiece!" 5 stars
8/25/02 Turkish Is that you john wayne? is this me? 5 stars
6/24/02 Charles Tatum First half- good, second half- average 4 stars
4/27/02 maximal01 A great movie that introduced a new action into our lexacon: skull-fucking 4 stars
3/14/02 Rockitman007 Best Vietnam Flick! 5 stars
2/27/02 Shrike take it on the chin 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Wonderful. 4 stars
2/12/02 Nevz this good 5 stars
1/24/02 travis reddout very very good 5 stars
1/18/02 Magnum Craphole Good, but overall one of Kubrick's weakest. First part great, but it goes down. 4 stars
12/11/01 slappy jacks one of my favorite war films next to apocolypse now purty nifty! 5 stars
9/23/01 Larry Smith "WHO SAID THAT? Who's the communist twinkle toed SOB who signed his own death warrant?" 5 stars
9/19/01 DeSeRt RaT UK First half excellent, Second half not so good but still an excellent film 5 stars
9/12/01 Toad man Are you a peter puffer ? Sir no sir. 5 stars
8/08/01 E-Funk The first 45 minutes are worth anyone's time ten-fold. Fucking brilliant. 5 stars
8/08/01 Mr. Hat The most realistic war movie ever. Even more convincing than "Platoon"! 5 stars
7/24/01 Nathan Brattain Grabastic pieces of amphibian shit! 5 stars
7/05/01 Connoisseur not Kubrick's best film (that's A CLOCKWORK ORANGE) 4 stars
7/04/01 Tim Gee The contrast between the two halves is perfect 5 stars
6/15/01 Melissa in NYC Undeniably great. Never have I seen a war film without the shitty preaching until now. 5 stars
6/14/01 zombie awesome! especially the first half 5 stars
5/31/01 Bada Bing Crosby You climb obstacles like old people fuck! 5 stars
5/12/01 Biz Limpkit wow 5 stars
5/07/01 The Chosen One great 5 stars
5/07/01 Mikko Salminen Enjoyable war movie. 4 stars
5/07/01 Johnny Skeekee can't fuck with Kubrick...period 5 stars
5/06/01 Sblymnl Crymnl opening scene makes it the best war movie ever, but goes downhill once they get to the war 5 stars
4/18/01 erin this movie was excellent, but could use a better ending 4 stars
4/04/01 Hawkeye There's little more chilling than killing machines singing the Mickey Mouse club song. 5 stars
4/02/01 Daniel Rieker Kill them all, let god sort them out. He knows the good ones from the bad ones this is good 5 stars
2/10/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi The first half is better than the last...but the whole is unreal... 4 stars
2/04/01 Invader More like a cartoon than a war movie, but classic Hollywood entertainment 4 stars
1/21/01 Mic Excellent, but characters were too weak in ending: they've already been thru hell, yet... 4 stars
12/18/00 K-Dawg Hands down, the best war movie ever made! 5 stars
11/24/00 The Evil Penguin the best of all war films; Watch the Kubrick films. He's better than Steven Spielberg 5 stars
11/13/00 melissa I hinestly thought that this was a great war movie showing the internal decay of the charac 4 stars
11/09/00 bruno behind apocalypse now this is the best war movie 5 stars
10/29/00 Big Al im i the only one that thinks this movie is total crap 1 stars
10/24/00 Viking The boot camp sequence is brilliant but disturbing 5 stars
8/03/00 Elvisfan Kubrick was taken from us WAY too early 5 stars
5/29/00 Zatoichi Jones There is no need to ever make a Vietnam film again. 5 stars
5/28/00 Cooke This is an awesome portrait of war. 5 stars
5/25/00 Gremlin I feel sorry for Gomer. This movie was just about the best Vietnam movie in my opinion. 5 stars
5/05/00 P.Rodriguez Finally a war movie that shows just how f@#cked up wasr is. 5 stars
4/02/00 perverted pixie Private Pyle gave me NIGHTMARES!! 5 stars
3/22/00 Andrew La Verde My most Favourite War Film Ever (Brilliant) 5 stars
2/20/00 Matthew Smith one of the best films about vietnam 5 stars
1/20/00 Add WoW!!! Intense, mindblowing stuff why can't all movies be this good? 5 stars
1/19/00 Ryan Shepherd A great movie that tries to make you understand what these Marines went through. 5 stars
1/09/00 unstrung the real nitty gritty of war, what its truely like 5 stars
12/19/99 Eric S. First 30 minutes: excellent. Last hour and a half: horrible. 2 stars
12/07/99 dog the scene in the barracks was really good 3 stars
11/28/99 Crystal Fleming Realistic looking. Good Drama. 5 stars
11/18/99 Tyson Stewart A war picture masterpiece! 5 stars
11/11/99 Tim Klarkowski Personaly, I am gay, so I hate war flims. This one was o.k. 3 stars
11/09/99 Ralf Behet Terrific first half, unfocused and pretentious second half. Kubrick can do better. 4 stars
10/31/99 Critic Better than saving private ryan in every was that counts 5 stars
10/21/99 chad this movie is the king, if you don't like it you don't know a good flick when you see one. 5 stars
10/18/99 Johnny Morris Absolutely fucking ace! 5 stars
8/25/99 Doug Paulsen 1rst have is funny in parts, and moves quicker than the second 5 stars
8/15/99 The Bomb 69 disturbing, I cried when they "soaped" Pyle 5 stars
8/02/99 Will G an extraordinary blend of disturbance, comedy, sex, and entertainment 5 stars
7/18/99 Dawn Two guns up! Definite look into the war manaized brains of Vietnam soldiers. 5 stars
7/16/99 soccer_mum From the real-life drill sargeant on down....another awesome Kubrick film. A must see!! 5 stars
7/07/99 Ben Leostein Rating: *** (out of ****) Category: "Good" 4 stars
7/05/99 Angie it was ok...the 1st half was excellent but the last half was kinda slow.. 4 stars
7/03/99 J-Dogg Good first half, uninteresting last. Shoulda stayed in boot camp. 4 stars
7/03/99 randy grubbs 1st half is better than last half, but it is a killer movie 5 stars
6/14/99 Dylan Kubrick - Auteur supreme. 5 stars
6/07/99 Kristen Hamm Kubrick is God. That is all. 5 stars
5/12/99 Benny Gordon If you haven't seen this film, hire it right now. If you have hire it again. 5 stars
4/25/99 Michael Grimm makes me want to pluck the drill sergeant's eye out and... well you know the rest 5 stars
4/18/99 jimmy jam Best war flick ever. Woah! 5 stars
3/08/99 Cathy & Kevin Our kids even love thins one. Watch it once every couple of months. 5 stars
2/05/99 donkey_dew Definatly not THE BEST war movie ever made, but still damn near excellent. AWESOME. 5 stars
2/01/99 Kooky Sal Kubrick's insanity means he doesnt work much, but when he does it's genius. This is genius. 5 stars
1/31/99 Madden The actor who played the drill instructor actually was one during the war. 5 stars
1/24/99 YellerDog The tragic tale of Private Pyle... =') 5 stars
1/12/99 jvt Spielburg will never be able to contend with the likes of Kubrick (or Malick) 5 stars
12/05/98 tj best war movie ever, for the first half alone 5 stars
11/26/98 grnr if Kubrick made it its good. no exception here, no glory just reality 5 stars
11/25/98 Mr.Pink Best war movie ever! Nobody will top this! Shame that Kubrick doesn't make more films 5 stars
11/25/98 Fred Almost as good as Saving Pvt. Ryan. Drill Sgt. kicked ass!!!! 5 stars
11/23/98 Silent Rob Superbly crafted, psychological war flick.From dehumanization,to human(e) drama. Masterwork 5 stars
11/23/98 J-Guy fucked up movie. 4 stars
11/23/98 little jerry Imitation Kubrick.Tries to be SHATTERING but can only manage a whimper. Script is a mess. 2 stars
11/22/98 Lord Of The Dunce First half hour was every bit as unsettling as Saving Private Ryan. Unreal yet real. 5 stars
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  02-Jul-1987 (R)


  02-Feb-1988 (M)

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