Full Metal Jacket : The Film - The Book
The story of any soldier is one of two part. Firstly their is the training that this person has to endure to become a man of action. And secondly their is the action in itself. Sad. But true nevertheless.
PART ONE: THE TRAINING
Being a soldier in boot camp is a very arduous and evolving affair indeed. You have to have your head-shaved. You have to become disciplined and ordered. You have to subject your body to a rigorous exercise regime. Plus on top of that, you have to listen to the Drill-Sergeant from Hell, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman (R Lee Ermey), abuse his 'privates' just as a prostitute would abuse hers.
Pretty tough set of circumstance, I am sure that you'll agree. Privates 'Joker' (Mathew Modine), 'Cowboy' (Arliss Howard), and 'Pyle' (Vincent D'Onofio) like to think so too. Though Pyle more so than the rest if truth be told.
You see, Pyle is a rather clumsy and heavy-set rookie by nature. And time and time again he seems to get into trouble with Hartman come what may. Heck, Gormer manages to piss Hartman off so much, that he abates him, he abates his squad, going so far that he assigns Joker to chaperon his time at boot camp, just to nudge him back onto the straight and narrow so to speak.
OK, so is this a good thing or a bad thing you might ask? Hmm. Depends on your perspective I suppose. Hartman sees an noted improvement in Gormer's field work. Joker sees a noted craziness in Gormer disposition. And Gormer does not know what the f*ck he is doing. Thus ending his tenure in the barracks with a... BANG!
PART TWO: WAR IN VIETNAM
It’s January 1968, and Private Joker is a Marine Combat correspondent stationed in Vietnam, writing for 'Stars and Stripes' magazine. Nice gig, huh?
No. Not really.
Well, due to Joker's cavalier attitude on base, he and his combat photographer, Rafter Man (Kevin Major Howard), have been assigned to cover a skirmish in Phu Bai. OK, when I say 'a skirmish', what I actually mean by this, is that on the one hand, Joker meet's up with his old buddy from boot-camp, Cowboy, whose in charge of some mean looking mother f*ckers in 'Lusthog Squad'. Whilst, on the other hand, ALL F*CKING HELL BREAKS LOOSE!
Ouch! I suppose that is why what next transpires is a right battle to end all battles? As fighting is hard and fast - interviews are marred and vast - soldiers die by the bullet-load - and Mickey Mouse suddenly conforms to a military-code.
In my most humble opinion, 'Full Metal Jacket' is just a masterful piece of film-making. It's a poignant film. Its a classic war-time film. Plus it's a film that doesn't hold itself back on the judgment of war. Instead, it splashes war and the effects of war right onto the screen for all to see.
Personally speaking of course, I like to think of this piece as the cause and effect of trained regimental combat. The first half of this flick illustrates how different characters are able to endure the hardships of boot camp. Whereas the second half of this flick illustrates the bi-product of this training, and what the end result of war is really all about.
Death. Death. And more death.
Well, come on, lets face it. Who in their right mind wants to kill someone else? OK, so a serial killer might. But where the 'Average Joe' is concerned, this 'final act' might only be contemplated if someone wants to kill you, and then, of course, due to the fact that you have every right to defend yourself in the best way possible. Though, whilst saying that, is war the best way possible? Stanley Kubrick does not think so. And that's why he has captured this picture on film.
Here, check out some of these filmic-facts to see what I mean by this: (1) This film was loosely based on a book by Gustav Hasford called 'The Short Timers', which he wrote whilst serving in Vietnam. Both director, Stanley Kubrick, and his old friend, Michael Herr, adapted this book into the screenplay. (2) Anthony Michael Hall was supposed to play Private Joker. But because he could not reach any agreement on his salary or his schedule, he was eventually replaced with actor, Mathew Modine. Moreover, it was also alleged that both Bruce Willis and Val Kilmer were offered this part at well. (3) The ad campaign for this film was censored in Canada because it stated 'In Vietnam The Wind Doesn't Blow, It Sucks'. (4) Vincent D'Onofrio gained 70 pounds to play Private Pyle, breaking Robert De Niro's record of 60 pound on 'Raging Bull'. (5) Certain 'battle scenes' were shot in the Isle of Dogs and the old run-down Beckton Gas Works, both situated in different parts of East London. (6) This film took so long to shoot, that Mathew Modine got married, got his wife pregnant, and had a child before it was completed. (7) Both Bill McKinney and Tim Colceri were at one time or another supposed to play Sergeant Hartman. But when director, Stanley Kubrick, meet a real Drill-Sergeant, R. L. Ermey, [who was supposed to be the adviser on this film] he settled on him for this part. (8) One scene that was cut out of this movie saw soldiers playing soccer with a persons head in Vietnam. Whilst another scene that was cut out included a long introductory speech by Captain January. (9) The cast in 'Vietnam' ate war rations during their time there. (10) Private Joker's real name is J.T. Davis. (11) 'Full metal jacket' is a term that refers to a type of small ammunition used in warfare, like a projectile. And (12) Stanley and his daughter, Victoria, had cameos in this film. Stanley is the voice that speaks to Cowboy on the radio. Whereas Victoria is the girl in the graveyard.
All in all 'Full Metal Jacket' is a must watch movie. It tells a story. Its dramatic in action. Its poignant in prose. And it is a very enjoyable film too. Heck, if I knew I had only one day left to live, I'd defiantly save time to watch this flick. One hundred percent. No Hucky-Sucky.
THE RATING: A