When a crusading chairperson of the military budget committee pressures the would be Navy secretary to begin full gender integration of the service, he offers the chance for a test case for a female trainee in the US Navy's elite SEAL/C.R.T. selection program. LT. Jordan O'Neill is given the assignment, but no one expects her to succeed in an inhumanly punishing regime that has a standard 60% dropout rate for men. However, O'Neill is determined to prove everyone wrong.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Although we are given the impression that Lt. O'Neil is going through SEAL training in G.I. Jane and receives a SEAL trident at the end of the movie, she in fact signed up for the "Combined Reconnaissance Team" selection program at the Navy SEALs training center, also referred to in the film as "SEAL/CRT" training. The CRT, a fictitious special warfare group, brings together operators from across several branches of the service: Navy SEALs, Army Delta, Marine Force Reconnaissance, and Navy Intelligence. The latter, of course, is Lt. O'Neil. The "real" SEAL training course is called "BUD/S" (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL). It is six months long, with an average dropout rate of around 75%. The film's SEAL/CRT course was three months long, "boasting" a 60% completion rate. The film's SEAL/CRT course included many elements of BUD/S. For SEALs, the SERE course and training mission are normally part of SEAL Tactical Training (STT), another six months of advanced operator training that follows BUD/S. Not until completing STT and further testing does a SEAL candidate actually receive the coveted gold Trident insignia. In the film, at the end of the selection course Lt. O'Neil is awarded a large silver insignia with the inscriptions "SEAL" and "CRT." We are assuming that from there she and the other successful candidates will go on for additional advanced training before actually being deployed on missions. See more »
When the first trainees are jumping out of the helicopter into the water for the S.E.R.E. training course, the sun is shown just rising over the horizon. However, the shadow cast by the helicopter's tail (viewed from inside the helicopter) indicates that the sun is instantly much higher. See more »
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.
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