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on 28 March 2015
Before watching this I’d watched ‘Platoon’ the previous evening, more on that later.
Firstly, I thoroughly enjoyed this film which scored very highly on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb, though not quite so well on Roger Ebert’s site.
The film won no major awards though it was nominated. The highlight for me (and many others I would guess) was the Marine, drill sergeant, Hartman – played by R L Emery. That was some performance, (it deserved an Oscar IMHO), and no one else in the film gets near to that level, though they all do a first class job.
The role draws an immediate comparison with ‘Emil Foley,’ the drill Sergeant, in ‘An Officer and a Gentleman.’ However, this was five years earlier in 1982, which goes to show that you can reprise a hit role quite quickly, but it has to be very, very, good!
Emery is now 71. He had four children – all very well behaved apparently!
On a more serious note, he was in fact a drill instructor in the Marines and toured Vietnam – no wonder he was so damned good!
The first half of the film is just brilliant, as the young marines are put through their paces by the uncompromising Hartman. There’s a lot of humour in here too. The second half doesn’t quite keep to that high standard but is never less than totally watchable. The fighting is a snippet of the ‘Tet offensive, which was about halfway through the war.
I think I enjoyed ‘Platoon’ a little more. Maybe it was the jungle warfare as opposed to the fighting in the City? Maybe it was because of the ‘seen it all before’ syndrome? Maybe ‘Platoon’ had a wider scope about what happened in Vietnam and therefore covers more of the salient points? In any event, It was Platoon that won the Oscar?
They are both very good films for sure and great viewing.
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on 17 May 2017
Since I am not a veteran I cannot vouch for authenticity. However this film has a very authentic feel. Highlights include Lee Ermey who plays the drill sergeant during marine training. He was an actual drill sergeant previously in the army. Most of his insults and brow beating was apparently ad-libbed, since Kubrick was happy to let him write his own lines. The marines are wonderfully obnoxious and immoral as when they arrive in 'Nam we see the lead (Pte Joker, Matthew Modine) and a buddy bartering for a prostitute.

Perhaps a weaker part of the film is the continuity. It is almost like two different films spliced together. The first half including the amusing and surprisingly dramatic life of the marines as they train for war. This was Lee Ermey's debut as an actor and he is a natural. His insults and humor are superb and spontaneous. We also see the sensitive recruit, Pte Pyle struggling as a 'useless fatbody'. The relationship between Pyle and the lead (Pte Joker) is quite heart warming. Although that particular sub-plot does not have a good ending.

The second part of the film is more centered around combat. After all what war film would be complete without some shooting. My favorite scene here is when the marines are tracking a Viet Cong sniper (who to the protagonists dismay starts racking up American kills). There are underlying themes regarding the duality of man. The troopers are one minute putting their lives at risk for a comrade but then the next are making jokes about an enemy soldiers corpse.

For me the strongest part of the film was before we travel to Vietnam. However there are lots of great little sequences throughtout that will typical of Kubrick keep you awake and alert. The film is also not particularly long. Which can be seen as a positive in the sense of 'quality over quantity'.

No matter how authentic the film is, it is very entertaining and a good appraisal of the typical testosterone filled young soldiers and their achievements and struggles.

It is not in the top ten of all time but probably in the top ten of all war films. Worth a look at the least.
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on 28 May 2017
Don't know about the realism, I'm not a veteran, or don't know one to ask. Enjoyed the film, must of seen it over the years three or four times. A good film in the league of Platoon and we were soldiers.
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on 9 March 2017
Full metal jacket is a good film but in my opinion the photographic scenery and the photographic backdrop isn't as good or as captivating as platoon
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on 26 December 2016
Great thank you
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on 26 April 2017
Fantastic movie. Had it before on video. Lost it, but now have it again.
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on 30 April 2017
Great classic film
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on 19 April 2017
great film
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on 27 April 2017
Gripping, unglamorised look at soldiering and war.
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on 9 March 2017
Still a classic, in my top 10.
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