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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Matthew Modine
Adam Baldwin
Vincent D'Onofrio
R. Lee Ermey.
Directors
Stanley Kubrick.
Screenwriters
Stanley Kubrick
Michael Herr
Gustav Hasford.
Running Time
116 minutes

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Full Metal Jacket
Born to Kill: Kubrick stylee


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Plot
The journey of one Private “Joker” Davis, through the gruelling training regime to be a marine, fraught with its own psychological damage, to Vietnam itself. Here, as a war correspondent, he covers the Tet offensive.


Review

Divided like a rift into two distinct halves, Stanley Kubrick’s examination of the Vietnam conflict found him on unusually inconsistent form; the film is both powerful and frustratingly unengaged. In the first section, the boot camp, the great intellectual exalts in the dehumanising process of turning greenhorn boys into killing machines.

R Lee Ermey’s staggering performance as a drill sergeant pounds into these young men like a bulldozer, and in the case of Private “Gomer”, (Vincent D’Onfrio — fat, dangerous, a walking powder keg) the pressure will become too much. These barrages of abusive language and intimidation are supposed to burn survival into these empty vessels, but Kubrick is divulging a process of brutality to match the moral objections of the conflict itself. In Gomer’s self-destruction, the seething necessities of war are barbarities in themselves  — conform or die.

Once away from the bullying of training and into the fragged cities and casual death of Vietnam itself, stunningly envisioned on an old gasworks in London’s East End, Kubrick seems bereft of purpose. He’s made his chilling point, that a solider must shed his humanity and become a machine, and now Modine’s wide-eyed thinker contends with the battlefield itself and the film sinks into a guarded examination of muddy methodology. Is it that the state of this war is too politically messy for Kubrick’s contemplative gaze? Modine’s Joker has too astute a mind to be an innocent, and his cumbersome narration covers Kubrick’s highly designed — it is bloody and beautiful but never surreal or horrifying — but strangely empty variation on this “phony war”.


Verdict
A hardy Kubrikian effort that warms on you with repeated viewings, that is, if you love Kubrick long time.


Reviewed by Ian Nathan

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Full Metal Jacket
Empire Star Rating

Three stars?

One thing has always confused me about this movie. If Pte Pyle wanted to be a Marine, why did he go nuts when he made it as a Grunt (Infantry being first prize in USMC Boot Camp)? And if he didn't, why didn't he ask to drop out ? Otherwise, I don't think 3 stars is fair at all. The second part isn't an accurate representation of the Vietnam War, more an essay on how stupid and pointless it was. Joker joins the Marines 'to kill', undergoes the process of conversion from civilian to killing machi... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Belisarius0365 at 20:49, 22 October 2014 | Report This Post


"I'm in a world of shit, yes. But I am alive. And I am not afraid."

Haunting in its finest moments, Full Metal Jacket is Kubrick's compelling meditation on the ugliness of combat - and the loss of innocence. A gritty, adrenaline-charged military thriller and an absolute must-see... think Platoon, on acid. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by movienut707 at 17:23, 20 October 2013 | Report This Post


Kubricks cold beauty

Stanley Kubrick applies a cold beauty to his films which only the late cinematic commodity can create, Full Metal Jacket is a prime example of this; the coldness of the film is a perfect element when depicting how the military turns honest young men into killing machines. During the beginning R. Lee Ermey is brilliant as the ruthless drill sergeant who’s passion for the military succeeds all around him. His performance alone gives the film a 5 star rating before the recruits ever reach th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by j2k3 at 23:04, 07 April 2011 | Report This Post


One Of The Greatest War Films Ever

Kubrick'a massively understated and brilliantly controlled Vietnam story was always going to be one to polarise viewers, what with it's graphic violence, sewer talk and general unpleasantness that is present from start to finish. However, beneath all the smarmy, albeit realistic, war movie hallmarks is a genuinely affecting and wholly exhilarating take on the dehumanisation process. Able to draw you in as much as it repels you, it may not be Kubrick's best, but nonetheless, it is a masterpiece.... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 22:54, 06 April 2011 | Report This Post


One of the all-time best war films!

To those who are most likely rolling their eyes at my above statement and thinking that i am a 12-year-old action-seeking retard who only likes the film because of the swearing and violence, I promise you: that is NOT why I made that statement. My reasoning is that, unlike most acclaimed war films - The Deer Hunter, Saving Private Ryan, even Kubrick's own Paths Of Glory, and Apocalypse Now etc - the story of this film could apply to ANY war. Because the film focuses on the journey of a ma... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lewistarantino at 19:22, 04 April 2011 | Report This Post


Great Training Scenes else...

The first Half during training part was great including what it culminates into. But the actual war was boring and stupidity personified. It's like: Well, there's a sniper out there. One of my friends is already dead. So let me go in and get myself killed in a more stupid way. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Amol at 08:19, 13 February 2011 | Report This Post


Classic

Yes, it's true, the second half of this movie is nowhere near ad effective as the first half but it's still gripping. "Full Metal Jacket" manages to convey the de-humanization of war as well as the horrific violence. Hell, the first half is worth 5 stars alone. Ian Nathan is wrong. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by krisjcummins at 11:57, 06 February 2010 | Report This Post


wtf empire?

this movie is a bloody awesome war epic. the scenes with sergeant hartman are mint and the war scenes are extremely moving. i don't know what negative drug that that tight ass ian nathan was on while watching this brilliant film because it is easily one of kubricks best. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by snatch099 at 09:48, 19 September 2009 | Report This Post


wtf empire?

this movie is a bloody awesome war epic. the scenes with sergeant hartman are mint and the war scenes are extremely moving. i don't know what negative drug that that tight ass ian nathan was on while watching this brilliant film because it is easily one of kubricks best. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by snatch099 at 09:48, 19 September 2009 | Report This Post


While the first half is satire at its best, the second half wallows in stupidity ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by vermin101 at 03:06, 24 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: jobloffski Personally I think the second half is equal to the first. The first half breaks Private Pyle's personality, spirit and dignity. The second half robs Private Joker of his. War is hell, and you will either be broken by the process of getting ready for it, or broken more slowly, and forever by the experience of it. Neither half works properly without the other, and Kubrick very specifically had Hartman say 'What's this Mickey Mouse shit?' in the first half to tie... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Paxton at 00:23, 11 April 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Personally I think the second half is equal to the first. The first half breaks Private Pyle's personality, spirit and dignity. The second half robs Private Joker of his. War is hell, and you will either be broken by the process of getting ready for it, or broken more slowly, and forever by the experience of it. Neither half works properly without the other, and Kubrick very specifically had Hartman say 'What's this Mickey Mouse shit?' in the first half to tie both halves togethe... More

Posted by jobloffski at 19:58, 09 April 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

A fucking classic........5/5.......     ays of finger bangin Mary jane rotten crotch through her pretty pink panties are OVER!!!"/i]  s your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn't Mommy and Daddy show you enough attention as a child?"/i]  re your honesty. Hell I like you. You can come over to my house and fuck my sister."/i]  imb obstacles like old people fuck."/i]  u quitting on me?! Well, are you?! Then quit, you slimy fucking walrus-looking piece of ... More

Posted by wgamador at 18:57, 09 April 2009 | Report This Post


RE:

this should be worth 5 stars for the drill seargent scene alone ... More

Posted by dhowdy at 18:10, 09 April 2009 | Report This Post


LET ME SEE YOUR WARFACE!!!!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Hamsterwalt at 16:50, 25 September 2008 | Report This Post


I kinda have to agree with Empire here ...the first act of the movie with the training boot camp is gripping cinema ...but the second act in the war actually drags alot for me. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by SkullKassidy at 10:35, 24 September 2008 | Report This Post


3 stars? fuck off. you give crappy overrated films like pulp fiction and others 5 stars and cant see how much better full metal jacket is. so what if he didnt make it like the boring as hell 2001, its a great movie ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Rudiger Bonestown at 21:41, 19 September 2008 | Report This Post


If war is hell, then should this film even EXIST?

Cuz it sure ain't hellish ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 13:55, 21 July 2008 | Report This Post


worst empire review ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by seinfeld_55 at 20:54, 08 July 2008 | Report This Post


worst empire review ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by seinfeld_55 at 20:54, 08 July 2008 | Report This Post


Devastating, powerful and dark. It may not be Kubrick's best but it still stays with you long after viewing 3 stars is harsh and maybe 5 stars is a bit generous. Everything is impeccably crafted and it is well crafted and certainly better than most of the VIetnam movies that came out in the 80's. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by willchadwick at 11:48, 09 March 2008 | Report This Post


Devastating, powerful and dark. It may not be Kubrick's best but it still stays with you long after viewing 3 stars is harsh and maybe 5 stars is a bit generous. Everything is impeccably crafted and it is well crafted and certainly better than most of the VIetnam movies that came out in the 80's. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by willchadwick at 11:48, 09 March 2008 | Report This Post


I see what Empire means, I found a little uneven, and I feel they should have showed more of their training at bootcamp rather than the drill instructour yelling, but then again R.Lee Emery's performance is the reason why you would watch this film, and it didn't show veitnam the hell it was, as well as platoon did, but it is still a good effort on Kubricks part, and it shows that some men can snap even before they reach the battlefeild. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dgribble at 17:18, 28 February 2008 | Report This Post


Kubrick's worst film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Leomuse at 13:15, 01 February 2008 | Report This Post


sir no sir - 3 stars your takin the piss ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 17:02, 22 October 2007 | Report This Post


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