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The Independent Critic

Matthew Modine, R.Lee Ermey, Adam Baldwin, Vince D'Onofrio
Stanley Kubrick
Rated R
116 Mins.
Warner Brothers
 "Full Metal Jacket" Review 
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Stanley Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" starts off like many other war films. We hear the raging drill sergeant beginning the indoctrination of his new recruits. It is this drill sergeant, played by R.Lee Ermey, that defines "Full Metal Jacket" in many ways. For him, this boot camp experience appears to be a divine experience mixing war and sex, peace and psychosis.

"Full Metal Jacket" is episodic in presentation, and this would be confusing if not for the completeness of each of the three episodes presented. It is, however, this same episodic nature that keeps "Full Metal Jacket" from being the typical Kubrick masterpiece. By taking the episodic approach, there is a disconnection between the characters, the audience, the stories and, ultimately, the film begins to wander. The film features Kubrick's magnificent sense of vision, however, it is an unclear vision that never sees a payoff and never really seems to be going anywhere.

Perhaps Kubrick has spoiled me, but when I watch a Kubrick film I expect the unexpected. I expect to have to think, and I know that I will feel. In "Full Metal Jacket," my senses were incredibly satisfied, but my mind wandered.

Kubrick maintains an "A" range film primarily based upon his vision in the film, and upon the simply outstanding performance of Ermey along with Matthew Modine as a war reporter longing for action, Adam Baldwin as the almost equally psychotic Animal Mother, Vince D'Onofrio as the chubby recruit Gomer Pyle, and the likes of Dorian Harewood, Kevyn Howard and Arliss Howard.

The film's screenplay received an Oscar nomination, and it was a gross injustice that Ermey was not nominated for his tremendous performance. You know you're dealing with a magnificent director when you can say that an A- rating is a tad bit of a disappointment. However, in Kubrick's case I can honestly say that with a bit more cohesion and focus he'd have created yet another masterpiece. Instead, we had to settle for just a damn fine film!

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic