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OK this is going to be a bit long... but it will be good food for
Yes, this movie is "Hollywood". The Plot line is predictable, but it is the concepts that the director explores along the way that make it interesting an thought-provoking, assuming you pay attention and didn't just rent it for the bang-bang, or a chance to see Demi in a wet T-shirt. Ridley make some mistakes, but he does some really good things too. Let me comment on what some other people have said, and talk about what I think Ridley does well with this film.
I think Mr. Scott gets a really excellent performance from Demi. I feel this is her best film, but I haven't seen to many, because she usually gets on my nerves. However, she is believable in the role of a woman who just wants to prove to herself that she can do this. I believe her when she says she doesn't want to be a poster child for women's rights... and the Commander is right in telling her that she's gonna have to wear that hat anyway.
Viggo is great too. I don't think too many people knew who he was when this movie came out, but he was even billed above Anne Bancroft. Someone said he looks embarrassed in every scene... hogwash. He looks like a very tough character in a very difficult situation. He knows that the issue is not whether a woman can make it, many can. This isn't about women's rights... this is about how men, mainly YOUNG men, relate to women in stressful situations. If all soldiers were in their late thirties, emotionally and psychologically, then the issue would be much smaller. Most of these guys are young, dumb and full of... you know the rhyme. I was there too, once upon a time. Viggo is excellent, he reacts the way many military instructors would... trying to stop the inevitable, fighting against politicians way over his head who have never been in the crap, but think they know better. Pay attention, you can just see that he respects LT O'Neil. But he believes he has to make an example out of her. Ms. Bancroft is excellent as well, some people say over the top, they obviously haven't had to deal with high level politics before. Perhaps she is a bit rough for reality, but remember, it is a movie, making a point, and being entertaining, things have to be gritty... and Senate will always be more vicious than any military training. I find her performance fun and a joy to watch.
I don't know if Mr. Scott has any military training, but he does a better job of conveying the realities of it to the screen than most. Yes, the SERE segment goes farther than real SERE training would go... but not by much. Talk to someone who's been through it. It would not have been the same group of instructors... it's a very specialized field and the instructors have extensive psychological screening and training. However, I'll give that one to Ridley, he's trying not to complicate the plot, and he needs the scene with Master Chief Urgayle. BTW Women do go through SERE sometimes... and the instructors do use them against the men's emotions.
As for other Militray stuff, much of the language, feelings about chain of command, frustration with training constraints and political a**-covering was /On The Spot/. I speak from 6 years of experience as an Army officer (some of the stuff you see on active duty is amazing, but in the end it all balances out and the US Armed Forces are still the best in the world). Even the way Ridley has to frig with the plot to put the trainees in a an actual firefight was plausible... not possible, but plausible. Remember, it is a movie, he's got to have a real combat situation to entertain the dumber audience who just came to see the boom. But Ridley even goes far enough to give the Master Chief a chance to back out. It is a group of Navy SEAL trainees, deep into their training cycle, with a buttload of prior experience (IF you pay attention you will note that one of the trainees is a US Army Ranger, one a Marine, probably from RECON, these are guys who know the job already, and this is true to reality). You are also talking about a straight forward mission facilitating extraction of US Army Rangers from the deep inland mission. Ridley even has that right, this would be a Ranger mission, and the Spec-ops community may do a joint op where the SEALS secure the sea-side extraction point.
Quite frankly... the movie is better than most people could have done. Matter of fact, I think it was a tough challenge for Mr. Scott and don't think anyone could have done much better. One bad point I agree with is that artistically, the movie is shot entirely too dark.. that's about the worst thing I can say about it though. As for plot predictability... how often do you REALLY see an original plotline?
One last comment. I was at the Army Officer's Advance Course when this movie came out. There was a group of Officer's that were gong to see this movie, ostensibly to have a good laugh. These were Ranger-qualified Infantry guys, a Marine officer from RECON, a couple guys going to or coming from SF training... all Type A's. The next day they weren't laughing... they just said "you know what, that wasn't half bad." That don't sound like much, but it's high praise from that group.
Probably why this has such a poor rating is because it isn't Hollywood enough for the lowest-common-denominator crowd.
Enjoy the film.
I fully admit I am not the biggest Demi Moore fan in the world. As a matter
of fact, she's been in some of my least favorite movies of the decade (A FEW
GOOD MEN, INDECENT PROPOSAL, THE SCARLET LETTER, THE JUROR, STRIPTEASE), and
she really hasn't been good in any of those. But she did win me over in
this movie, because she lives up to her character's line, "Look, I'm not
trying to make any sort of statement here." And she isn't. Instead of
letting vanity get in the way, or injecting pathos, she lets her actions
speak for her, just like her character does in trying to win acceptance as a
SEAL. The haircut scene is a good example; though it's directed with
cinematic flourish, she does it matter-of-fact.
Moore's performance is one of the two performances that elevate this from your standard grunts-become-soldiers movie. The other is the riveting Viggo Mortenson as the Master Chief, who's the drill instructor. He doesn't play the role as a sadistic tyrant, but rather as a subtle manipulator who gradually recognizes Jordan O'Neill(Moore) is someone worth taking seriously. He also avoids going for pathos.
The movie is best when it concentrates on the training. Ironically, making just a standard grunts-become-soldiers movie makes its message work, because like O'Neill's superiors, we take her seriously because she becomes no different than anyone else. The beginning is bad, and the climatic battle at the end is overblown, which weakens the movie. Still, it's worth a look, and I maintain Moore was only given a Razzie Award for this movie and performance because of her past work, and the naysayers really weren't paying attention to her performance here.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
G.I. Jane has some good points, good scenes, and (some)good acting. However, I saw its main point as trying to promote a "can-do" scenario for women in the military (I am a female veteran of 24 years) and I think several things in the movie do just the opposite. If the idea, problem, or goal is to prove that women can succeed in a traditionally male career, task, or training, then that should be presented while maintaining the woman's gender. What I mean is, O'Neil doesn't succeed until she shaves her head (shorter than the men's - and unnecessary), bulks up to the point where her body fat falls below normal and she ceases to menstruate, and generally becomes "one of the boys." The point is, she's a woman, not a man. She shouldn't have to become a man to prove she can succeed with a group of men. This is painfully clear when she screams "Suck my dick," at the Sergeant. The obvious point is that, since she's a woman, she doesn't have one of those. Nor should she need to metaphorically develop one in order to succeed. Another point I'd like to make is that her dialogue as a prisoner of war was ridiculous. The object is to survive. If you don't, your mission has failed. Taunting, bragging, and arguing with captors is a big NO-NO. Her, "I'm sorry, am I supposed to be afraid?" line would have gotten her stripped naked and suspended under a water hose for hours. There are no cadets that are tougher than the captors(instructors). Bringing unhappy attention to oneself in that situation is inescapably stupid. It is not tough. Her worst line, though, is "I'm going in." CLICHE!!
I ignored this on it's release and caught flashes of it during it's run on HBO, there were some exciting action sequences and amazing glimpses into the hell that SEAL training requires, but somehow I just couldnt put all the pieces together. It didnt make sense.....until now. I finally watched this movie in it's entirety last night and I am hooked. Whether the film misses the target on it's "statement" is not the point. It's just a good flick. Demi Moore pulls off the roll in convincing style and Viggo Mortenson has his best part as the Master Chief of the SEAL training unit. They have this crazy dynamic between themselves that finally unfolds at the ending, leaving you wishing for just a little more. Solid action film with a great support cast and a perfectly despicable villain played to the hilt by Anne Bancroft as a Senator who compromises GI Jane for her own political gain. Well, at least she tries. I think Demi Moore is one of the most underappreciated talents in recent memory. She has this unique combination of hardass determination and sensitivity that is rare. 9/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Demi Moore gave a good performance to a role that suited her really well.
can understand where her character was coming from when she said that she
did not want to become a poster figure for women's advancement in the
military and society at large. However, being that she was the only
in the NAVY Seal training camp, it was sort of inevitable for that to
happen. Hence, her character's comments were unnecessary.
Viggo Mortensen was excellent as Master Chief. I found myself still liking his character after he beat the crap out of Demi Moore's in a training game gone wrong. That scene was brutal but very necessary. In this case, the social message was that equality in the military does not just mean that men and women get an equal share of the pie but also that they both get an equal share of the pain.
SPOILER: I would have liked to see Anne Bancroft's character on Moore's side towards the end but as politics goes, she only cared about getting re-elected. It was a good reality check for the viewer.
I recommend this movie.
It's easy to film a star faking the Navy Seal training. The key line of the movie is uttered by Demi Moore when she is beaten to a bloody pulp by Master Chief in training while the rest of the trainees watch. She gets up and spits out "suck my dick" thereby claiming a virtual penis so that she can offer the ultimate insult to Master Chief and become an honorary male to the cheers of the men. At no point does the movie ever deal with the way men would really react to a good looking woman in their midst while undergoing a trial which most of them fail in real life. This is feminist propaganda turned into sensational Hollywood entertainment that belies the truth and turns GI Jane into a another racist she male who can gun down expendable lesser breeds such as Arabs with the best of them on their secret mission to Libya.
This was a true grit movie, minus Wayne. It was Demi Moore this time.
Some of the 'critics' complained she was too good looking. What did
that have to do with anything? She handled the part mucho convincingly,
as did Mortensen as her tormentor (not mentor). You knew they would
eventually kiss and make up - well make up, anyway, but it was a long
hard road traveled before they got there.
The road was brutal and I question if beating up Moore, as Mortensen did with much vigor, would be tolerated. But, she came out bruised and smiling. In return, she got a slight smile from Mortensen.
It was a fast moving moving picture with little let up in action, except for the scenes involving the brass and politicians who were as, if not more, vicious than the military. Anne Bancroft handled her role beautifully - a politician you love to hate.
Jim Caviezel had a small role in this flick. Later, of course, he portrayed Jesus. In that picture he had to eliminate cussing.
The star of that pic, of course, was Mel Gibson - noted anti-Semite, wife beater, and alcoholic. What a combination - Caviezel cusses, Gibson handles the rest. He and Charlie Sheen would make a good team - the Two Stooges.
Thinking about the training the SEALs undergo - makes Parris Island look like Wuss City. (My uncle was a D. I. there). As for me, training was a lot less rugged, in the Signal Corps, U. S. Army. I recall a corporal in charge of our unit who was chastised because one of the guys did something wrong and he made all of us do the manual of arms using our footlockers.
Anyway, for exciting entertainment and - by the way no sex scenes - "G. I. Jane" is hard to beat although, of course, Moore got 'beat' during half the movie, but she prevailed.
One final note. Were there no chaplains during SEAL training? I mean -- all that swearing. Sh-t!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Actress Demi Moore shaves her head, dons fatigues, and totes a machine
gun in British director Ridley Scott's opportune but exploitative "G.I.
Jane," a sexual equality polemic about the first female to graduate as
a Navy SEAL. This lackluster basic training epic serves up a volatile
but exemplary message about equal rights and the armed forces that cost
the filmmakers the aid of the Department of Defense. When "G.I. Jane"
isn't preaching gender parity, this cynical but slickly done "Top Gun"
clone is gung ho on showing Moore kicking butt in the kind of role her
husband Bruce Willis excels. Sadly, "G.I. Jane's" melodramatic
storyline combines with its juvenile heroics to undermine what little
credibility it musters as a socially conscious exercise in political
Writers David ("The Fugitive")Twohy and Danielle Alexandra collaborated on what can only be called a prefabricated screenplay. "G.I. Jane" marches to the familiar beat that has characterized the formulaic military service picture since the 1920s. Movies such as "Courage Under Fire," "Heartbreak Ridge," and "Stripes." have done what "G.I. Jane" tries to do. Moreover, they have done it better. Basically, the plots and the heroics in military pictures remain the same, only the sex of the hero has changed with "G.I. Jane." The Twohy-Alexandra script alternates between Congressional and Naval brainstorming sessions about Lt. O'Neil and the obstacles she confronts at the SEAL training base in Florida. A shrewd but slippery Texas Senator, Lillian DeHaven (Anne Bancroft), cuts a deal with the future Secretary of the Navy Theodore Hayes (Daniel Von Bergan). He'll snag her vote of approval if the Navy opens its elite SEAL commando school to a woman. Secretary Hayes caves in to Senator DeHaven's request, but squirms when she demands approval of the SEAL candidate.
DeHaven picks Lt. Jordan O'Neil (Demi Moore) for her physical agility and her keen mind. O'Neil is the kind of woman who makes men nervous. When we first meet her, she is monitoring a satellite transmission with a commando unit trying to escape from enemy country. She arouses the hostility of her male superior officer when she provides the best solution to the extraction problem. But Lt. O'Neil is not a person easily ignored. Neither Senator DeHaven nor Secretary Hayes expects her to finish the course. After all, Navy SEALs are the most demanding and merciless elite combat force in the world. Sixty percent of the recruits who enter the program wash out.
When the press snaps photos of O'Neil on SEAL maneuvers, a controversy erupts in both the Pentagon and Congress. Secretary Hayes and Senator DeHaven sought to keep the project under wraps, but the news wants to interview O'Neil. Suddenly, O'Neil finds herself caught in the middle of a JAG investigation.
Guys will relish the last half-hour of "G.I. Jane." That's when the bullets start to fly. During a training exercise in the Mediterranean Sea, the SEALs get to help out U.S. troops retrieving a fallen satellite in Libya. This part of the script is straight out of a "Star Trek" movie because the SEAL recruits are the only force close enough to respond to the situation. Nobody else can rescue these troops, so the Master Chief (Viggo Mortensen) takes his recruits into battle. Unfortunately, things go sour and the Master Chief catches a bullet. He sends O'Neil packing, but she refuses to leave him to his fate. Instead, O'Neil figures out the master chief's escape plan and stages an ambush to wipe out his adversaries. Not since World War II Nazi movies have the enemy been so gullible and easy to kill. These Libyan soldiers present about as much a threat to the SEALs as the Iraqi soldiers did to Charlie Sheen in the "Hot Shots" movies.
Demi Moore knocks herself out as Navy Intelligence officer Lt. Jordan O'Neil. Even her character's name has a masculine quality to it. When Demi isn't trying to impress us with her brains, she displays her feminine brawn. The calisthenics that she performs in her tight undies defy gravity. The one-armed push-ups are enough to make you break into a sweat. All of this resembles the grunge side of last summer's idiotic opus "Striptease," except that frontal nudity is avoided. Moore's performance, to her credit here, is both straight-forward and serious even when O'Neil plays toy soldier in the last reel.
Veteran actress Anne Bancroft of "Point of No Return" shines as the crafty Texas senator whose willing to use as well as abuse Lt. O'Neil to save her own congressional bacon. This is Bancroft's juiciest role in years, and she plays it to the hilt. Her best scene with O'Neil has Bancroft's cagey Senator explaining why women in combat will remain a hot issue. According to DeHaven, lawmakers fear the political suicide that television images of dead women being shipped home in body bags would prompt. Director Ridley Scott pulls some slick optical tricks to bolster "G. I. Jane," but they don't beef up the action. Jiggling his camera during the combat scenes may create disorientation in audience, but it doesn't trigger a rush of adrenalin. This artsy gimmick doesn't generate either tension or suspense. Anyway, you know that Demi Moore isn't going to get a scratch on her because she's smart enough to dodge the bullets that stupid men are firing at her.
Simply, Scott doesn't make "G.I. Jane" rock and roll. The grueling training sequences are okay, but the final combat scenes resemble Boy Scout antics, compared with even a marginal effort like "In The Army Now." Ridley Scott has produced some memorable films that deploy women in gender stretching roles, such as "Alien" and "Thelma & Louise." "G.I. Jane" boasts none of the art, hype, or viscera of those movies. In the commercially oriented market place, if the next movie doesn't top the last, trouble lies ahead. Compared with last summer's dignified masterpiece "Courage Under Fire," "G.I. Jane" amounts to sheer hokum.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have a lot of respect for Ridley's filmmaking. He shoots high and the stuff he does takes learning. This and White Squall are practice for Gladiator, all people striving under impossible external constraints.
You can see it here, where he works on the character to personalize each scene. He still hasn't mastered the art of projecting a scene into the next. Moore can carry the focus, but not the focus to come in anticipation. (Crowe can.)
I first saw this in a theater near the SEAL base. SEALs train two blocks from my house. This film doesn't capture how crazy these guys are made to be.
A recent post here by a woman claiming a military background, contained
the comment "A woman's life is no more valuable than a man's".
This mantra of the politically correct is not true as history as well as biology show. Societies have managed to recover from heavy losses of their male population, sometimes with astonishing speed. Germany was ready to fight another war in 1939 despite the 1914- 1918 war in which over two million of her men were killed. In South America's War of the Triple Alliance (1865), Paraguay took on three neighboring countries until virtually her entire male population was wiped out but fought to a stalemate in the 1932 Chaco War against much larger Bolivia.
No society, however has or ever could survive the loss of its female population. Only when the very life of the nation is at stake are women sent to fight. Israel faced that situation in 1948 but since then has never considered coed combat units for its Defense Forces despite the popular image of the Israeli girl soldier.
"G.I. Jane" is Hollywood fluff.
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