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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 August 2011
This is the journey undertaken by Private "Joker" J.T. Davis, from brutal training camp to Vietnam itself.

As most people know by now, Full Metal Jacket is divided very much into two different halves, halves that to me show the best and worst of the talented director, Stanley Kubrick. For the first part we are subjected to the training regime inflicted on wet behind the ears boys, boys soon to become Marines out in the harshness of the Vietnam War. This is real dehumanising stuff, frighteningly essayed by the brilliance of drill instructor R Lee Ermey's performance. We know, see and feel that the boys are primed to be killing machines, unemotional killing machines at that, with Kubrick astutely weaving the brutality of camp into the moral quandary that was the war itself. One particular recruit, Private Gomer {a heartfelt and unnervingly great Vincent D'Onofrio} is the film, and Gustav Hasford's {writer of the novel and co screenwriter here} point of reference in this incredible first half. It's with this strand that "Jacket" burns itself into the soul of the viewer, to hopefully set us up for what will be Private "Joker's" {Matthew Modine} preparation for the Vietnmam conflict.

Then it's that second half........

Where do we go from here? We already know that "Joker" and his mentally brutalised colleagues have been stripped of their basic humanity. Soldiers primed to kill, it's harsh, but true. But Kubrick has already chilled our blood and bludgeoned us repeatedly courtesy of the "Boot Camp" set up. Modine's {who isn't strong enough to carry the picture} "Joker" is now the films axis, a clever, most definitely articulate character, who is thrust into the murky and muddled battle of the Tet Offensive, yeah and so? All it amounts to is a prolonged series of rationale and philosophical musings on the false war. Kubrick even shifting to safe mode with a clumsy narration segment spouted by "Joker".

Full Metal Jacket is a truly fine film, but it's not the brilliant one it really should have been. If one can take the time to venture deeper with the second half, then it doesn't deliver on the already made point promise of the first part. Technically it's flawless, incredibly designed, with Douglas Milsome's cinematography stunningly effective. But I'll maintain to my dying day that Full Metal Jacket finished up as being bloody and pretty instead of being a poignant and horrifying masterpiece. 7/10
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on 28 August 2015
Finally an excellent and complete blu ray edition: I bought it also because it includes italian audio and subs. In Italy we have a wonderful dubbing tradition and this is one of the best dubbed films ever. So, further than watching it in english (which is fantastic of course) I often love the italian version: even Kubrick congratulated for the quality and spirit of this dubbing, saying it was at the same level as the english version. This is so true for the characters of Drill Instructor Hartman and Jokers. The fist one was amazingly dubbed, to such a level of adherence to the actor, that, although him being extraordinary, his "italian voice" makes him even better.
About the film, apart from the rich extras and quality of the blu ray, I don't know what to add: the more I watch it the more I think it is still and even greater. The good thing of Kubrick is that everytime you watch one of his films again, you realize and find out more details, layers and intuitions.
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on 3 June 2008
This is, of course, a classic film and we all know the quality of casting and the cinematography however, you cant help but wonder how it's going to look when put on to Blu Ray. The good news is, you're not going to be disappointed!

It's been remastered in to full 1080p which brings a great depth of colour and added realism to the film. Like with The Shining, it makes an old film look like a recent production. While you cant always see a difference between DVD & Blu Ray, this is a great film to show you just how much more vibrant it really does look. The improved sound also helps, you can now watch it on any decent surround sound system and not have to keep turning it up or down depending on the scene.

I'd highly recommend this version of the film. If you enjoyed it originally, this will definitely improve your viewing pleasure and it'll be a great addition to your ever growning Blu Ray collection!
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With Full Metal Jacket, Stanley Kubrick delivers some great film-making but not a great film. Divided into two unequal halves, the first (and by far superior) section follows the dehumanising Marine training regime at Parris Island, the second the fragmented experiences of one of the recruits (Modine) as a correspondent for the G.I. propaganda paper Stars and Stripes. If it has improved with age and altered expectations - and with only two films a decade, people always tended to expect too much from Kubrick - it still doesn't quite cut it.

The most obvious feeling you get from the film is that Kubrick cut himself off from the real world - more from a generation gap than the exaggerated tales of his reclusiveness - a fatal mistake for any film-maker. Perhaps the most perfectly insulated and zealously protected filmmaker since the birth of the medium (though Terrence Malick seems eager to go one better these days), to his credit his denial does not take the mainstream form of appealing purely to the visceral but rather errs to the side of cold intellect. His characters do not exist of themselves. They have no life before or after the film, and precious little during it either. They are there to make a point, but in the case of Full Metal Jacket it is one that has been made before, and better.

The training sequences recall the gladiator school in Spartacus, bullied simpleton D'Onofrio's revolt just as futile. He is Spartacus, Humbert Humbert, Hal 9000 and the Doomsday Device all rolled into one malfunctioning package, conditioned and programmed by society in such a way that their confusion between what is expected and what is in their nature leads to their inevitable destruction. Totally dehumanised, he is no longer bound by any moral code or any human feeling - the perfect Kubrick protagonist.

Yet the other characters don't seem too wound up by their experiences once they reach Vietnam. There's no sense of people adjusting their morality to deal with the daily atrocities of war. Indeed, there's no sense of real human behaviour. Despite the presence of war correspondent Michael Herr as co-writer, it seems uninformed by reality or experiences of veterans and is always emphatically just a movie. There is a hint that Kubrick sees Vietnam as the first war where soldiers did not willingly subjugate their individuality - the first war that dehumanises or de-programmes its fighting units through trauma and the lack of a just cause - but not much more.

Point made, Kubrick has nothing left to say. The impressive camerawork that takes the place of one of the platoon on point soon becomes as repetitive and over-used as the obsessive steadicam shots in The Shining. The clichéd and protracted finale neither convinces or adds anything to the argument and is frankly so old hat it could have easily come from a forties programmer.

Compared to the relentless cynicism and disillusionment of films like the all-but-forgotten The Victors or Anthony Mann's Men in War, it is positively romantic in its idealism. The Marines are morally clean (especially compared to the atrocity laden source novel), spouting cliches to hide their inarticulacy while the officers are parodic, reinventing language into a form of Newspeak for sake of appearances. The politics are simplistic to the point of non-existence, with too many obviously stage-managed speeches for credibility.

Too many of the images are second-hand and devoid of subtext - at least when Coppola had a newsreel cameraman turn up on a battlefield, he acknowledged his own exploitation of Vietnam by playing the director. Kubrick is just another tourist in this war. There but not there, taking a few good snapshots as he passes through but never truly understanding the suffering and confusion behind them, he's never really involved and, once we reach Vietnam, neither are we.

There is still much to admire. Abigail Mead's hostile, unnerving synth score works in direct contrast to traditional film music, keeping emotion and individuality at bay and forcing the characters into disciplined rhythmic behaviour. Performances are generally better than the norm for Kubrick and production designer Anton Furst's transformation of the then-derelict London Docklands into Vietnam is truly astonishing. But it still has that coldness of the heart that blocks a truly emotional response. Whereas Paths of Glory moved you to anger and tears, Full Metal Jacket is so carefully and intricately choreographed and devoid of spontaneity that it is merely of technical, not even academic, interest. The tragedy of war is the tragedy of loss, but Kubrick's cinema of dehumanisation is so complete that loss is impossible: his characters are barely human to begin with, his filmmaking mere displays of technique and precision from a virtuoso technician who repeats all his best tricks too many times.

While earlier video and DVD releases were in fullframe (as Kubrick preferred ion pre-widescreen TV days) with only a trailer as extra, the remastered Blu-ray is in 1.85:1 widescreen and boasts a stunningly good transfer (the first BD release was less than impressive) and throws in a couple of extras. There's a half hour featurette about the film, the trailer and a cut-and-past audio commentary with Adam Baldwin, Lee Ermey, writer Jay Cocks and Vincent D'Onofrio - the latter inclusion enough to have Kubrick rolling in his grave since he always specifically requested he have nothing to do with the promotional campaigns for the films video releases after their extremely combative working relationship on the set.
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on 1 January 2008
Although this is a fantastic film, I have to say I was very very disappointed with the 'supposed' Blu-Ray high definition. This film was supposedly remastered in 1080p Blu-Ray in this version of the disc I bought, but i cannot see any signs of the HD effect....did they actually forget to remaster it? It looks no different to my original DVD copy. Playing back through my Tosh 37X3030 (which has proven to be a simply stunning Full HD TV on other Blu-Ray titles I bought), there is lots of video noise, there is little evidence of 1080p remastering. If you have watched the Blu-Ray version of, say, Casino Royale, or Planet Earth at 1080p, with its pin-sharp picture and sound, then you will be very disappointed with this version of Full Metal Jacket. I realise its an older film, but it does not even LOOK like HD to my eyes. This means I will probably be avoiding all old 'remastered' films....Not the High Definition treat I was hoping for when I took the HD plunge.
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on 7 February 2010
Never mind the other comments, they are for the 2007 Blu-Ray. This 2008 edition has a great 1080p image that feels very natural, with a pleasing amount of grain. It looks very close to how the film looked in theaters.

Unlike the previous edition this one has a couple of interesting extras, above all a very good commentary. Especially Vincent d'Onofrio offers a lot of insight into the making of the film.
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on 22 March 2010
Full Metal Jacket is certainly a movie to watch. It is really a movie of two parts, the first being the training at the barricks, which is in itself its own movie. The drill instructor is outstanding and surely must rate as one of the best performances by any actor in recent times. Although I have been informed that this drill instructor is in fact a real soldier and not an actor at all (I can't confrm if this is the case though). This makes his performance an even greater triumph. The second part of the movie focuses on the trials of "the joker" and co as they move through the various stages of the conflict, and is also entertaining. Definitely worth a look.
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on 24 May 2010
This is the kind of movie that you will want to watch over and over again, and every time you do, the genius dialouge and intense action seems to become even better. Unfortunately the movie looses tempo in the middle, but if you watch it all the way trough, you are in for an experience that will stick with you forever (and make you want to watch more of Kubrick's masterpieces, which i can only recommend).

Watching this makes me wonder why some of the elements that works so well in FMJ isn't seen in today's cinema, Stanley Kubrick is surely missed!

Watch it now, then watch it again!
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on 20 July 2010
I must say Full Metal Jacket has to be my all time favourite war movie. This movie is an excellent blend of the horrors of war and the sadistic humour some real life soldiers have in order to endure such a brutal war. Full Metal Jacket has an incredible selection characters, full of charisma and energy, with some scenes that will either disgust you or have you in stitches. I found this movie an amazing experience, not to be taken too seriously as it is just fiction at the end of the day, not a documentary. If you love war movies with a twist then you will love this. A true masterpiece!
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on 19 June 2010
Deluxe version Blu-ray review. This film seems to disturb people, partly because it does not take the strongly polarised position that other war films take, and they cannot categorise it. Is it pro-war, or is it anti-war? Its ambiguity lets us make our own minds up, but I don't think that is clear-cut enough for many people, so it disturbs them. The film is essentially split in two; a long look at the nature of Marine training, and the dehumanising nature of preparing people to kill, and then a move to Vietnam to see what happens to some of them next. Interestingly, most of the fighting, which never took over from the characters, took place in cities or towns, rather than in the jungle, which is the norm in Vietnam war films.

I hadn't seen the film for a long-time, the last time being on late night TV, so this was a fresh look. I really liked it, particularly its portrayal of human frailties, without judging them. The best thing for me though was the pace. It maintained a steady almost rhythmical pace, with events often well telegraphed, but it drew me in and kept my attention throughout nonetheless.

Full metal Jacket was a very early Bluray transfer and was widely criticised at the time. Warner Brothers took the criticism on the chin, and they redid the transfer for this deluxe version. It is presented in 1.78:1 format, giving full-screen on a widescreen TV. Detail was good, well focused without being pin-sharp, with good saturated colours, particularly the green of the uniforms. Some of the colours appeared just slightly off to me, which may have been a deliberate effect.

Audio Quality was good, with an uncompressed PCM 5.1 track in English. It wasn't quite as good as the picture, with a lot of the noise from the front, but dialogue was clear and some of the sound effects were very good. The soundtrack was very carefully chosen and seemed a bit incongruous at times:- watch out for Nancy Sinatra singing "These boots are made for walking." I deliberated over the rating for some time. In my view it is very close to five stars, but in the end I went for four.
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