GI Jane (1997)

The new one from Ridley Scott-- enough of a reason right there to 
run out and see it-- is a feature-length retort to "let's see if 
she can take it like a man," where "she" is a naval intelligence 
officer (Demi Moore) hand-picked to be the first female allowed to 
undergo Navy SEAL training.  (A program that 60% of the *male* re-
cruits don't finish.)  And, surprise, we learn that she can do it, 
and without any gender handicapping, no less.  (She sleeps in the 
same barracks, wears the same shaved head, and must endure the same 
levels of physical abuse.  Well, almost.  None of the *guys* exper-
iences a simulated attempted rape from Viggo Mortensen's Master 
Chief from Hell.)  No, G.I. JANE isn't much of a message movie, nor 
is it a particularly effective character study.  (Heh, *what* char-
acter?)  But as a ball-breaking, black rain-soaked depiction of the 
most brutal basic training that you could possibly imagine, the 
movie is gangbusters.  (My favorite sequences:  a jog through the 
mess tent, where they're given about sixty seconds to eat, and a 
late-night essay-writing exercise.)  

Alas, once Moore's character wins the respect of her teammates-- 
which happens about eighty minutes in-- the story doesn't have a 
clue where to go next.  So, we take an excursion off base, for a 
confrontation with an oily Texas senator (Anne Bancroft, drawlin' 
away).  And then we wrap with a cliched training-exercise-turned-
real that, while mildly engaging, has been done to death before and 
even by the director's brother Tony in TOP GUN.  Neither sequence 
is particularly well-paced-- the character and plot developments 
feel rushed, but, you know, what's one more summer movie that tanks 
in the last half (or whole) hour?  Now, for the nit picks:  can 
military instructors actually physically abuse their recruits?  Did 
Ridley Scott direct those combat sequences while under the influ-
ence?  Can Demi do more than a handful of one-handers at a time?  
And, most importantly, has anybody transcribed that delicious 
exchange about a cigar and it's, ah, particularly aromatic aroma?  
(Rated "R"/128 min.)

Grade: B+

Copyright 1997 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: August 24, 1997

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