Private Benjamin meets Top Gun, with an ultra-fit, shaven-headed Demi Moore joining the ultra-tough training programme to become America's first woman Navy SEAL.
This story is confused: overlong, it begins by being about a woman battling to overcome prejudice, and ends up a gun-toting Arab-killing action movie. Political intrigue is also thrown in, with Bancroft as a senator with a secret agenda, but this is soon discarded in favour of guns and explosions.
In trying to fit into this man's world, Moore overdoes the belligerence: the apotheosis of her gung ho bonhomie being her resounding cry of "Suck my dick!", as she is finally accepted into the all-male company. She's one of the boys, cigars and all. Her character is unsympathetic and, like everyone else, has no real depth. The only glimmer of interest is produced by Mortensen's master chief, the obligatory hard-ass with a heart of gold.
While it aims to be about women's rights, male prejudice, and political corruption, this film is really just about looks. Ace stylist Ridley Scott is in his element during the action sequences, luxuriating in the visual detail: the trademark moodicam interiors, the stark white deserts, the camera soaking up Moore's moonlit one-arm press-ups. Physically at least, the ex Mrs. Willis certainly earns her fee - in the transformation from girly desk-bound type to paid-up army grunt, we get a good five minutes of Moore shaving her long hair down to the celebrated buzz cut.
In spite of a catalogue of downsides, including clunky dialogue, fuzzy morals and preposterous story lines, G.I. Jane does offer a perverse level of enjoyment. Scott's divine aesthetic interlaces the ensuing nonsense with stirring gung-ho, ever-increasing weaponry - and cigars - for shallow appeal. But for all Moore's grunting and growling, this is still a man's view of the world. Any feminist subtext has clearly gone AWOL.