Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Genres - War  |   Sub-Genres - Anti-War Film, Combat Films, War Drama  |   Release Date - Jun 26, 1987 (USA)  |   Run Time - 116 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom, United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Jason Clark

For his first film since 1980's The Shining, legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick turned his attention to this adaptation of Gustav Hasford's The Short Timers, creating a harrowing Vietnam War picture that was one of the last of the slew of war films being made in this period in the late 1980s. Full Metal Jacket is widely described as a two-act film, the first being a gripping look at Marine basic training and madness, and the second covering more conventional battleground territory. As with any Kubrick film, though, it has more on its mind than typical war sentiments, as it is a vital addition to his body of work illustrating the poisoning of the human spirit and the cruelty that men are capable of. Shockingly, the film was shot in England (as virtually all of Kubrick's modern films have been), which doubles for both sections of the film quite convincingly. The film had the misfortune of debuting after Oliver Stone's Platoon had just swept the Oscars, and many felt it didn't resonate with the same emotional force as that more straightforward picture. In another bizarre footnote, the film contains a passage of dialogue that found its way into a smash hit for the notoriously lewd rap act 2 Live Crew titled "Me So Horny," an odd occurrence given Kubrick's infamously meticulous handling of his films and their content.