So you thought you have seen the best War movies with “Apocalypse Now”, “Black Hawk Down”, “The Bridge on the River Kwai”, “Three Kings” and “Courage Under Fire” and the others ? Well think again soldier! Because this movie will blow the pajamas off your yellow behind. This is a realistic depiction. This is a life of a man turned into a killing machine. This is a true-cold-blood War movie.
The story based on the novel “The Short-Timers” by Gustav Hasford follows a bunch of new recruits from their training in the Marine Corps into the assignment at Vietnam, into the War-zone and into the dead face of the VietCongs. From the opening scene itself you see the actors and their fate in their eyes. The first 40 minutes is sheer brilliant delight; you can’t miss a word of dialogue and you can’t take your eyes off the regimental training.
From a man to a Marine. R. Lee Ermey who was a Marine trainer was hired on set as a consultant to make accurate depiction of Marine Corps training. His mean brilliance led to Kubrick casting him in the movie as the drill sergeant – he played on film what he did before retirement to real recruits of the Army. From a man to a killing machine.
The movie moves next as the recruits are assigned to the battle-zone. Actor Matthew Modine ends up as a journalist for “Stars and Stripes”, the official military newspaper.
And then the Tet Offensive starts in Vietnam. Under fire, on duty in the field, Modine’s character “James Joker” is asked to join in with a rifle.
“This is my rifle this is my gun…this is for fighting this is for fun” sang the boys holding their rifle and crotch in each hand during their training run.
The drill sergeant has taught them well. They need to remember what they learnt because otherwise “…you would be a dead Marine; and a Marine cannot die without permission”.
Awesome, mindblowing stuff!
The soldier Leonard (also played by a first time actor who worked as a bouncer and gained 80 pounds weight for the role of a fat idiot) steals the show along with the sergeant Hartman in the first half of course.
The last half belongs to James Joker and Animal Mother (actor Adam Baldwin). The last 40 minutes is equally as engaging and spellbinding as the first.
You would think that this accuracy would mean it was shot on location in some South East Asian country. No, Stanley Kubrick did not like to be farther than 10 miles from his home. So the movie was shot in East London in a old location which was being torn down for rebuilding. So the broken buildings are real and they were being blown up gladly by the cast and crew of “Full Metal Jacket” at no objection. Modine is brilliant explaining why he wears a peace button on his uniform while his helmet has “Born to Kill” written on it. “…duality of man” he explains before he joins the ranks of combat Marines. Kubrick showcased not just another movie on Vietnam War. No, what he did was to show how an ordinary American man is turned into a crazed killer for waging War.
Watch this and learn the horrors of War.
Weirdly after watching this movie I have a strange compulsive urge to enlist myself in the US Marine Corps.