1980s Full Metal Jacket (1987, Blu Ray)

Published on July 14th, 2007 | by Chris

3

Full Metal Jacket (1987)


Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On July 14, 2007
Last modified:October 8, 2012

Summary:

in the end is where it all comes together, as... well I won't spoil it for you completely, but suffice it to say that Joker runs right out of jokes, and has to look death in the eyes and come to terms with it....

...While wearing a peace symbol button and "Born to Kill" scribbled on his helmet.

Don't go into to Full Metal Jacket expecting Platoon or Saving Private Ryan. It's a fairly strange piece of film, but if you know what to expect you'll get more out of it than if you go in expecting another average action movie.


Full Metal Jacket (1987)

I am in a world of shit, yes.  But I am alive, and I am not afraid.

Stanley Kubrick's 1987 masterpiece Full Metal Jacket is a somewhat bizarre animal.  Is it a hardcore war movie? Is it an anti-war movie? Is it a scathing parody of nearly any war movie that came before it?  Is it irreverent?  Disrespectful, true in many ways but so outlandish in others as to be laughed at?

Yes.  All of the above.  What Kubrick's done with this movie is simultaneously create a send-up of all those wonderfully optimistic war films from the 50's, with their portrayals of basic training as nothing but a two month camping trip and the job after as a picnic in paradise interrupted by brief portions of fighting.

The first half of the movie focuses on mainly three new recruits at Paris Island, One "Joker" (Matthew Modine), "Cowboy" (Arliss Howard), and "Gomer Pyle" (Vincent D'onofrio).  In the role that made him famous, R. Lee Ermey's drill sergeant character is a ruthless sadistic creature from hell, spouting endless streams of profanity and insults at our recruits.  Eventually, those insults, combined with the group mentality of the squad, bring Pyle (and the DS) to a very un-humorous demise.

In that first section of the film he not only parodies every other film portrayal of basic training to date, he does it in such an over the top and funny style, that only when its over do you realize how un-funny it all was.  He also says a great deal about the assimilation process and the indoctrination that goes on.

The second half of the film sends Privates Joker and Cowboy to different places and different jobs in Vietnam, with Cowboy (like most) in the infantry, and Joker as a writer for Stars and Stripes.

Just about every stereotype you can imagine is portrayed here, the not-so-bright heavy machine gunner, the everything-is-a-sports-metaphor Colonel, the Gung-Ho "I need to get in the shit" desk jockey... you name it.  All the while intermixed with just plain bizarre moments and strange speech-like dialogue such as posing with dead NVA soldiers on "his birthday" and booby-trapped stuffed animals.

There are moments in FMJ which defy explanation and stand out as just plain out of place.  Such as the scene where the documentary filmmaker is running down the line of Marines and they all spout off some overly scripted tripe while "The Bird" plays on the soundtrack.  Part of the parody?  Possibly, but its the "not executed well" parts of the movie that hurt it.

On an action-combat-and-mayhem level, there really isn't a whole lot to speak of.  There's a short firefight as the Tet offensive begins, another brief moment of panic as their squad is shelled as they approach some burning city, and not until the end of the film does the real shooting begin.

And in the end is where it all comes together, as... well I won't spoil it for you completely, but suffice it to say that Joker runs right out of jokes, and has to look death in the eyes and come to terms with it....

...While wearing a peace symbol button and "Born to Kill" scribbled on his helmet.

Don't go into to Full Metal Jacket expecting Platoon or Saving Private Ryan.  It's a fairly strange piece of film, but if you know what to expect you'll get more out of it than if you go in expecting another average action movie.

And if you see it on HDNet Movies as I did just now, be forewarned there are some strange digital artifacts that will drive you nuts during the last ten minutes or so.  It's just weird.

(I should mention, too, that every so often I see this UH-34D, YL-37 flying around the area.  These birds are featured prominently in FMJ, and hats off to these guys for keeping YL-37 going!)

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Description

Stanley Kubrick's 1987, penultimate film seemed to a lot of people to be contrived and out of touch with the '80s vogue for such intensely realistic portrayals of the Vietnam War as Platoon and The Deer Hunter...

DVD Information

Binding: DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audience Rating: R (Restricted)
Brand: Warner Home Video
Manufacturer: WarnerBrothers
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Max Gail
  • Adam Baldwin
  • Vincent D'Onofrio
  • Lee Ermey
  • Dorian Harewood

Features

  • DRAMA
  • Run Time: 116
  • Release Date: 1/29/2013
  • R
  • MATTHEW MODINE VINCENT D'ONOFRIO

Reviews

Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pvt.Pyle was the joke, September 10, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Full Metal Jacket (Amazon Video)
As a Marine Corp Vietnam vet I can say the boot camp scenes and the drill instructor are the closest to reality that ever came out of Hollywood, with the exception of Pvt. (Pyle) Lawrence ever making it to the rifle range and gaining access to live rounds. I was stationed at the rifle range for 2 years and in reality every live round was accounted for like they were made out of gold. Every once in a blue moon someone misplaced an M16 and reported it missing. The whole base was locked down and all buildings, vehicles and the entire base was searched until it was located. Nobody left the firing line with a single live round, least of all a full magazine. Beside all that, recruits are in a very controlled environment where their every moment is watched by someone. Pvt. Pyle couldn't hide a jelly donut, how was he going to get away with a full mag ? His slide into insanity would have been known by everyone in the platoon and he would have been sent packing. My platoon in boot camp started... Read more
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This disc gets my highest recommendation, September 10, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Full Metal Jacket (Amazon Video)
The debate will always rage as to which film is the best of the Vietnam war movies, but my money remains on Full Metal Jacket. Stanley Kubrick's phenomenal direction on top of several unforgettable characters make this a must see and a must own.

Having gone through boot camp myself, I love watching just that part of the movie. Thinking of my own time there really is similar to the occurrences in this film. It both cases, boot camp, as serious as it is, really is comedic as well.

This Blu-ray release is a remarkable upgrade from any version I have ever seen both visually and sonically. I wish there was more in the way of supplements, but what we get is good. This disc gets my highest recommendation.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest war movies ever told, September 29, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Full Metal Jacket (Amazon Video)
One of the greatest war movies ever told. The pathos, the torn innocence, the humanity of the characters will sear your soul. A study in bravery, courage, and true brotherhood. But above all, Full Metal Jacket is an ode to the Marine Corps, that band of brothers whose motto is "Semper Fidelis" manifested by each individual Marine to "Corps and country" and to their fellow Marines. Stanley Kubrick captured some of cinema's greatest performances by character actors like Lee Ermey, Dorian Harewood, and Matthew Modine, and the ending is pure inspiration.
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Full Metal Jacket (1987) Chris

Summary: in the end is where it all comes together, as... well I won't spoil it for you completely, but suffice it to say that Joker runs right out of jokes, and has to look death in the eyes and come to terms with it.... ...While wearing a peace symbol button and "Born to Kill" scribbled on his helmet. Don't go into to Full Metal Jacket expecting Platoon or Saving Private Ryan. It's a fairly strange piece of film, but if you know what to expect you'll get more out of it than if you go in expecting another average action movie.

4.0


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



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