25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2003
With a [beautiful] and gung-ho performance by Demi Moore, G.I. Jane is definitely fun to watch. But it has no basis in real Navy Seals training, which one can learn more about reading Dick Couch's "The Warrior Elite". In reality there is no mock P.O.W. camp where recruits are beaten and tortured, but there are endless sleepless nights of sitting in the 57 degree ocean water of San Diego. Real Navy Seals instructors are consumate professionals, who constantly put the welfare of their men before anything else. Evolutions (exercises) are mentally and physically challenging, but never grossly abusive as in G.I. Jane. Exercises are of the "run till you drop" variety than "we'll break your leg" variety. The point of real BUD/S training is to learn that teamwork can overcome any bad situation, not just how to take a beating. Also, unlike this movie, Seal recruits undergo BUD/S followed by years of intense training, qualifications, and testing before even being considered for active deployment. They are not sent into combat because they happen to be on a submarine near a hostile country.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2005
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I recently viewed this movie on television and decided to buy it. I prefer to watch DVDs rather than TV because I don't like the commercial interruptions and because usually they edit out some material for TV. I was very disappointed to find out that the TV version contained MORE scenes not less. The DVD version for sale is not the same as the version currently running on AMC. I was disappointed because some of my favorite scenes (the ones which prompted me to buy the movie) are not on the DVD.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2005
This movie is a critically under-rated 4 star guilty pleasure for me. But like the previous reviewer, I recently watched it on cable (AMC) with a completely different opening scene not included on my GI Jane DVD. The scene depicts Demi's character Luge-ing in skintight black vinyl suit in a failed attempt to win an Olympic time trial. Later, I watched several other scenes in the AMC re-broadcast not found on my DVD. So, does this mean there going to be a G.I. Jane "Director's Cut" Version?
43 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Demi Moore is great in this story about Jordan, a quite capable military woman who is chosen to become the first female Navy SEAL. Jordan isn't sure she wants to go through the hassle she knows will result from her presence at the training, but the congresswoman who is behind this encourages Jordan to try her best. Nobody expects Jordan to survive the harsh training program, and Jordan exceeds all expectations.
Viggo Mortensen plays the Master Chief who is in charge of the training program. He is quite harsh, as you would expect from someone who is trying to separate the "best of the best" from a group of individuals who are all quite talented. Viggo isn't a mere brute - he reads poetry by D.H. Lawrence and truly cares about his trainees. He knows that if he doesn't do a good job at his training, the men here will die (and cause others to die) when sent out into combat. I understand and applaud all of that. Viggo throughout the film shows a good balance of concern for his trainees, a desire to push them to be their best, and a desire to weed out those simply not cut out to be SEALs.
However, being a fan of the military and its task of protecting the weak, I had HUGE issues with the "pivotal scene" in the SERE camp. The movie is directed by Ridley Scott of Alien fame and you would think that this man would have respect for a strong female character and the situations that result. I very much equated Jordan to Ripley, both strong women who held their own and earned respect of those around them. But instead of just having Ripley and the others tied up or left in the sun or other "see if you can resist the concerns of your body", Ridley decides to have the Master Chief *brutalize* one of the soldiers and then almost rape Jordan. What????
If we know ANYTHING about real torture situations, it is that a torturer can eventually break anybody. We all have pain limits. There are always ways to inflict more pain! At some point either our body gives out or our mind snaps. That's why spies carry cyanide capsules, because you can't be "trained" to resist torture indefinitely. So what was the point of beating up on the first soldier? What was the point of almost raping Jordan? To prove she could be raped? Heck, any GUY there could have been raped too. Is it important for them to learn what rape feels like, just in case? Would the guys have been any more or less upset to see one of their fellow GUYS being raped vs a girl? Heck they might be MORE upset to see a fellow guy be raped because that would be even less "acceptable" to them. For Viggo's character to delve to those depths after everything he'd shown us previously was amazingly out of character - or indicated that Viggo was a depraved man who had no business training soldiers.
The movie was supposed to show us that women can be just as strong as men are. Heck, real life shows us that. There are plenty of strong female characters in movies - from Ripley in Alien, to Sarah Connor in Terminator 2, and more come out every day. There are plenty of real life female police officers and fire fighters who are depended on by their coworkers every day. It was almost an insult to have the GI Jane character go through what she did, sort of an Archie Bunker situation where you are ashamed that there really are people left out there that think a woman with strength must be a lesbian. While I applaud the movie's intentions to say "hey you remaining bigots out there, it's time to wake up", to have to involve a supposed rape to make your point is very sad. To have to taint Viggo's character with a sadistic view towards woman (as much as he tries his best to be fair much of the time) is really saying that ALL guys will always have this power/lust attitude towards women that they have to keep under control. Which is entirely unfair to men. It weakens the entire point of the story.
For those who are interested, the poem Viggo quotes is titled Self-Pity:
I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.
D. H. Lawrence
The point is that you do what you have to do to get by in life. You don't waste time or energy on feeling sorry for yourself, because it does little good.
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
As a female in the Navy, I put off seeing this movie for years. I thought it was just another Demi Moore 'jiggle' movie, some sort of vehicle that would have her beating up big men in one scene and then writhing around, full of lust, on the floor. I don't know about you, but I'm kind of tired of this new tough/sexy,love her/fear her, stereotype that Hollywood has been churning out since Linda Hamilton took on Terminator 2. I thought this movie would insult females in the military, and therefore insult the military. Well, some of it was definitely Hollywood's idea of the military, but other parts of it were fairly good portrayals.
Honestly, I think Demi Moore is a mediocre actress, at best. She just comes across as not being very bright or complex in every movie I have seen her in. But as Lt. Jordan O'Neil, she's suuposedly a brainiac. She's an intelligence officer that accurately predicts a retrieval point and time for a unit that is out of communication in one scene, and then rattles off the specs on a nuclear device in another. However,the rest of her dialogue doesn't reflect this keen mind and the scope of her emotions doesn't ever really sell the conflict one feels when they are the first to cross that gender line. She's 100% confident and angry all the time. I raise the Bravo Sierra flags (BS) on that one. The one point in the movie where she seems to be contemplating ringing out of training (quitting), just shows a blank faced Moore staring at the bell. Another problem I have with Moore playing this role is that I just don't buy the fact that she could keep up with her class in SEAL training with the type of build she has. two words--stress fractures. I wish someone else played this part. I like her better in movies that don't have a message.
On the other hand, Command Master Chief (CMC) John Urgayle is very well portrayed and I felt, a good representation of Navy leadership. A good military leader is going to do their best to weed out who doesn't belong using any means necessary. Viggo Mortenson looks like a SEAL. (and by the way, those shorts are real-live Navy issue.) He is not happy about the female presence. The scene where she is captured and beat up and he begins to attempt to rape her, does make all the trainees face the fact that 'yep, rape does happen during wartime and what are you going to do about it? how will you react to it?' After that scene the CMC and other instructors are discussing their personal reactions to what happend and the CMC says something like "She's not the problem, we are." The CMC has a new respect for Lt. O'Neil, however the 'man' still has certain feelings about 'women' and doesn't quite fully come to terms with his deeply held belief that men should protect women. Which is exactly what he tries to do later in the story.
There are truly great moments in the movie that debate the 'women in combat' question. After the female Senator that got her into the SEAL program (thinking she'd never succeed) tries to yank her out. O'Neil and the Senator debate the issue. All of it is distilled down to the best question of the movie "Is a woman's life more valuable than a man's?"
This movie was a lot better than I expected but I wish it could have been more thought provoking and complex. It really could have been. All of the necessary elements were included. The CMC was an exceptional character. I wish we could have known more about him. I'd love to see a whole movie just about him (so long as they cast Mortenson).
Demi Moore was o.k.
I thought Ann Bancroft as the Senator was great and they could have done more with her character in this movie. Female Senators are pretty scarce, what did she really think about gender lines? Her character seemed to contradict herself--Why? And so long as I am questioning things, what's with all the hair scenes? The Senator is having her hair done in her office while she works, the CMC has his hair cut in his workspace while he reads, and Lt. O'neill shaves hers off.....? What is the symbolism of that?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2004
Before I watched the movie, I didnt know what to expect. I was thinking that it would be a typical overdone movie about how to make a point about Women, but it came just right. Before you complain, I like movies about strong females, but I just dont like movies trying to stuff your throat with a horrible black and white picture of the Gender Situation. This movie isnt really trying to stuff the viewer full of overdone women rights and portraying the stereotypical "Men are evil" picture. This movie is about being respected for who you are, regardless of sex or race. Its about both sides gaining mutual respect for each other, and seeing the good in others no matter the circumstances. Its also about a very strong woman who did everything to show the world that she could.
Apart from that, it was a really good movie, no real dead points like many other movies. Having watched a lot of Moore`s movies lately, I still hold her performance in G.I Jane highest. Not only is she stunning to look at, but she is also a really strong character, with a rock solid will to do what she feel is right. Under the course of the movie she goes head to head against the apparently inhuman Master Chief(Excellent played by Viggo Mortensen), and the selfish Senator. Naturally things go bump in the night, and things happen that in the end causes you to either smile or cry, or both.
Its a really touching movie, and it became one of my favorite movies, and I really adored Demi Moore after her role in this movie.
Ridley Scott, producer of Thelma & Louise, 1492 Conquest of Paradise, Black Hawk Down and more, really shines in this excellent Military Movie. The Scenery and Photographing is sharp and at the same time, dirty and edgy. Really High Quality on both Picture and Sound, and an overall pleasant movie experience.
A Minor Warning, please leave any logics outside the door. This movie is ment to be enjoyed for what it is, not to be broken down and critized to death. In the End, this movie gives you that really good feeling, and that`s what counts. Also, take note of the excellent soundtrack, and the two fantastic songs by The Pretenders. You`ll know them when you hear them.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2006
It is a little known fact that Demi Moore was trained for this film by former Navy SEAL Scott Helvenston (the youngest SEAL ever) who died at the hands of Iraqi Insurgents on 31MAR04.
While this film has many skeptics, there is no disputing the fact that Scott did his work and made Demi into the closest possible adaptation of a female SEAL.
RIP Scott. America misses you.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 1998
Feminists will unite to watch Demi Moore do one handed pushups for about a half an hour. Later on she gets the daylights kicked out of her for all the psuedo-masochists in the audience. This movie could have lasted 10 minutes, for the story and plot line. In fact it did. When Demi Moore visited Letterman.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Fast-tracker Jordan O'Neil (Moore) is an elite Naval Intel specialist and accomplished triathlete (despite her incongruous bra size). When Senator Lillian DeHaven (Bancroft) realizes possible political gain in the first female admittance into the Navy SEAL program, O'Neil's name comes up. It's just a political ploy, however, because nobody expects her to last a week in training that weeds out the strongest and fastest men, let alone women.
Upon arrival to training, O'Neil is an outcast, and reminded by condescending remarks from fellow classmates as well as instructors, specifically hard-nosed Command Master Chief John James Urgayle (Mortenson). CMC Urgayle is a harsh but fair instructor who does not take kindly to O'Neil's presence and the seeming celebrity of her career, believing female integration into front-line combat units potentially weaken a unit. During one moment when talking to her in the shower, he mentions that he got the Navy Cross for pulling a 250-pound man out of a burning tank. Therein lies his ambivalence, the problem as he sees it: O'Neil doesn't have the physical capabilities of the elite men in the program (cue foreshadowing).
While I was never a tabbed Special Forces soldier, I WAS in a Special Forces unit. The young look like Olympic athletes, able to tirelessly sprint like track stars and capable of lifting well beyond their bodyweight. The older guys were often built like gorillas, not as fast as before, but handy when you have a flat tire and no jack stand. With that said, there is absolutely no way a Navy Seal instructor would beat or faux-rape a trainee; they are highly skilled, highly trained professionals. The best of the best. Similarly, there is no way Demi Moore could hack it as a Navy Seal. Period. This is not up for debate. That does not, however, make this movie bad or unenjoyable. It's as unrealistic as Iron Eagle, which is not a slight...heck, I LIKED Iron Eagle!
I enjoy this movie quite a bit, and watch it just about every time it's on TV, but a grain of salt is needed for this Ridley Scott film (which are always superb) highlighting Demi Moore's stellar performance (and physical shape), Viggo Mortensen's psychotic portrayal, and Bancroft's version of a seasoned politician.
24 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2002
I honestly don't know what possessed Ridley Scott to make this movie. It seems to have all the hallmarks for his particular style (military toys and a swashbuckling female). But the movie is well intended failure.
It's main asset and ultimate flaw is Demi Moore. She embodies one track determination with such fierceness. You can't help but root for her. However she treats all her costars as if they are getting in the way of her pumped up body display. She acts as if her head shaving is the ultimate cinematic moment of the movie. Then Scott treats us to numerous images of Moore working out. I felt as if I were stuck in a brutal workout video. As for her physique, five years ago her shape seemed way outrageous. But now Moore doesn't seem all that muscular. I guess that is a big indicator of how much society's conception of female beauty has changed.
Despite Demi's frantic exercising and sailor blue cursing, this movie is stolen by Viggo Mortenson's mysterious Master Chief Urgayle. What Moore lacks in depth, Mortenson fills in with numerous conflicted emotions. While the movie doesn't play up sexual tension, Mortenson drops subtle hints that he may find Moore's O'Neill alluring. Urgayle is already confused about his calling in life. He gives out brutality during SEAL training only to ponder his job in private by reading sensitive literature. O'Neill's presence makes his ambivalence more apparent. He alternately protects and abuses her, bouncing from one emotion to the next. He barges in on her in the shower, all to make a big show of how unattractive he thinks she is and yet spies on her at the local PX by hiding behind the produce shelves. What about his short-shorts? Whats up with that?
It all culminates in a lustful, psychotic rage at SERE camp, when Urgayle beats then attempts to rape O'Neill. The movie tries to make an argument that all conflicts are resolved between the two of them. But I think someone forgot to tell Viggo this. Because after this gruesome scene, his Urgayle again gives O'Neill predatory glances at a local bar. He shows a slight disconcerted flutter at her return to training (after a strange interlude of smear campaign against O'Neill). Urgayle botches a mission by trying to protect O'Neill. He seems to come clean at the end by giving her his prized medal and book of poems (by the always sexy D.H. Lawrence). It is this performance that gives the movie a chilling, seductive pull. But Mortenson should have been acting against a brick wall. Moore's complete disregard of his performance makes you wonder why Urgayle is obssessed with all things O'Neill.
Anyway, the movie feels lacking whenever Mortenson is not present. Why hasn't he now transcended all the low cal male stars such as that Matt Affleck duo, and taken a place beside the real stars such as Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey, and Russell Crowe? As fun as The Lord Of the Rings is, Mortenson is shuffled aside by midgets and computer monsters. We need more Viggo in star roles at the movies!
I don't know what D.H. Lawrence would think about the use of his sensitive couplets during brutal military training. Perhaps the author "Of Human Bondage" would not find it insulting.