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IN SHORT: Three movies for the price of one. A good deal.
Before we get started, I just want to warn you that the folks sitting in comfortable chairs in small private screening rooms are gonna tell you that GI Jane is crap. Which is why Cranky sat himself down in an uncomfortable chair with a packed house of people who paid $9 each for the privilege. They all, from the ten year old kid next to me to the grey haired lady of unspecified age that I spoke with outside the theater, liked the flick. A lot.
As I said above, GI Jane is really three movies in one. All individually don't hold a lot of water, but the first two together make a pretty good flick. The simple story is that of a Navy intelligence officer who is given a chance to become a SEAL. What she really wanted was an intel desk job on a battleship. What she was going to get was incredible physical abuse for every day of the training program that she could survive. She opted for abuse. Go figure.
Movie number one: A US senator (Anne Bancroft) fights for full integration of the Navy. Setting up a number of test cases to prove that women can do the job, all eyes are looking for a woman who won't look like the wife of a Russian beet farmer, or need chromosome tests to prove her femininity. Enter Jordan O'Neil (Demi Moore) who looks good and passes the heterosexuality test. Director Ridley Scott cuts this section together quickly. There's a pounding music score under most of it; the supporting characters come and go and Demi is off to SEALs school.
Movie number two: Hell on Earth at the USNAVSPECWAR Group. Command Master Chief John Urgayle (Viggo Mortenson) struts around like a reject from the Village People while his instructors aid him in beating the crap out of the class of '97. (After sitting through this part, Cranky will never again complain about an uncomfortable movie theater seat.) Some of this section is exceptionally unpleasant watching. The abuse stops only when a cadet rings a bell three times and is mustered out of the program.
Back in DC, the politicos are having second thoughts as Demi makes it farther into the program than they thought she could. Unbeknownst to them, the officer assigned to gather information on her "progress," which is a euphemism for ammunition to take her out of the spotlight, is her boyfriend Royce (Jason Beghe). How that all comes down, between the politics and the personal effects, and how it is resolved is actually the most interesting to watch.
The third movie is the action flick; SEALs on parade in an unscheduled mission to extract another team stranded on a secret mission in Libya. According to the press notes, this bit was written for the guys in the audience and, frankly, it is the one piece that doesn't fit with the rest of the flick, which could have ended shortly after movie #2.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price for G. I. Jane, he would have paid . . .
And in that section two, a bloodied Demi spits out a euphimism at Urgayle that I can't reprint here. The paying audience cheered. So much for "crap."
All in all, Demi did good.
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