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Overall Rating

Awesome: 13.11%
Worth A Look: 19.67%
Average: 14.75%
Pretty Bad: 24.59%
Total Crap27.87%

3 reviews, 43 user ratings

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G.I. Jane
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Militaristic trash."
1 stars

By a happy coincidence, I finally got around to seeing 'G.I. Jane' the same day I started reading a book by Rene Denfeld, the controversial author of two postfeminist works: 'The New Victorians,' which challenges the modern feminist orthodoxy that defines women as victims of men; and, more germane to this review, 'Kill the Body, the Head Will Fall,' an account of Denfeld's training as a boxer and a study of female aggression and violence. An incisive and provocative thinker, Denfeld would have been the ideal choice to write 'G.I. Jane,' and I wish to God she had.

G.I. Jane is a rabid piece of militaristic pulp with a crucial and commercially shrewd difference: The hero, the soft clay to be molded into a steely instrument of death, is a woman -- Demi Moore, of course. Moore is Lt. Jordan O'Neil (a carefully androgynous name), a smart but frustrated officer handpicked to undergo the harshest military training in the world -- in the Navy SEALs, which boast (and that's a good word for it) a 60 percent drop-out rate. Will a woman have the right stuff? Or will she fail and set feminism back decades?

Well, we're talking about an expensive Hollywood movie co-produced by its star, so the question is never whether Jordan will make it; it's how she'll make it, and what kinds of highly fetishized punishment we can watch her endure on the road to self-fulfillment. G.I. Jane was directed by Ridley Scott, a sometimes great stylist (Alien, Blade Runner, the similarly op-ed-worthy Thelma & Louise) who often sacrifices substance to style. Scott turns G.I. Jane into a heavy-breathing pictorial ordeal, an essay in eroticized brutality and masochism. A certain part of the audience may enjoy seeing Demi Moore shaved and beaten and degraded, and Scott gives them that and more. If not for its flimsy "feminist" pose, the movie would be denounced as violently misogynistic.

G.I. Jane -- a stupid title befitting a stupid film -- is the sort of Nietzschean service drama I thought Full Metal Jacket had bagged and tagged ten years ago. Stanley Kubrick's chilly masterpiece told the truth about military training: that it isn't remotely "good for building character," that it grinds up human meat and spits out war machines. As Jordan transforms into an ass-kicking iron butterfly, the self-actualizing spectacle becomes absurd. For centuries we've gotten the coded message that men must be brutal to be real men. The message is no less repulsive when applied to women. Jordan says her ordeal is her choice, but what is she choosing? To be cannon fodder in a war that improves politicians' approval polls?

Since the movie introduces a duplicitous senator (Anne Bancroft) who selects Jordan and then betrays her, I expected Jordan to see through the bullshit. But no, she stays true to her unit -- a good cog in the machine. She blossoms under the cruel tutelage of the baroquely named Master Chief Urgayle (Viggo Mortensen, whose witty and sinister portrait of sadism is the movie's saving grace); she gets to prove herself in a real-life battle that I found unwatchable -- Scott fractures the action with jittery zooms that had me wishing for Dramamine.

By the end, the message is clear: to be a real woman, you have to become an animal. I eagerly await Rene Denfeld's review.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 01/03/07 13:15:25
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User Comments

7/03/19 bill joe terrible film - 'triumph of the will' meets a nautilus plus ad 1 stars
12/29/17 morris campbell good film good acting 4 stars
12/15/14 Jamie Fantastic movie, loved it, Demi and Viggo. I do agree that this reviewer is an idiot 5 stars
8/16/13 charles LOVED IT--THE REVIEWER IS AN IDIOT 5 stars
7/18/13 KingNeutron I liked it - Demi looked hot despite the toughness 4 stars
3/26/11 woah-ho-ho A loada crap. Ev'one got a badass attitude in d flick. A 5'1" Vietcong would blow her away 1 stars
8/17/10 lksdjflskdfj The reviewer is an idiot who likes to here himself talk. 5 stars
4/28/10 Robert Silly pap which degrades the real spirit of the American warfighter 2 stars
12/25/08 Monday Morning Could have used more bosom. 3 stars
2/14/08 mb A walk into sharp points, well manoeuvered. Good movie. 5 stars
1/29/07 Sepi53 great film. Demi is GREAT GREAT!! 5 stars
12/29/06 Kimberly Awesome movie. Demi kicks butt! 4 stars
11/13/05 andrei buena muy buena 5 stars
8/19/05 ES back when the world thought Viggo was a man 3 stars
6/10/05 Monday Morning Too long by about two hours. 2 stars
4/10/05 dwarzel Who wants to tell her that GIs are in the ARMY? 1 stars
3/16/05 Ronin If you are even a little interested in Special Forces you will like this movie. 4 stars
2/23/04 Elizaveta I actually really liked this film...filmlink is right though, viggo's the best part of it. 4 stars
2/07/04 Terene Troutman Great movie 5 stars
1/16/04 Ubu the Ripper A cinematic catastrophe. Why does any movie house bother to hire Demi Moore? 1 stars
12/11/03 john demi Moore is actually doing a goodjob but the premise doesn't work 2 stars
10/24/03 BratlerJlo Not crap but much to improve upon 2 stars
5/12/03 hoover makes us proud 5 stars
2/18/03 skkkdjr Another tough bitch flick. 1 stars
1/01/03 KMG VIGGO....PUNISH ME!!!!!! 4 stars
3/02/02 Jenny Tullwartz Demi Moore irritating, unconvincing in the role, and ugly in the shower. 1 stars
1/28/02 Mel Good and straight to the point (not a soap opera) 4 stars
4/01/01 Jesse L Other than Demi's chest shots this was just painful 1 stars
2/16/01 Jake Good study on overcoming adversity. Chemistry between Moore and Mortenson. 4 stars
12/10/00 T.Smith Better than I expected 4 stars
9/27/00 Terrie Smith Nothing really exceptional; some scenes are a bit much. 3 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Better than I expected, but still not enough to save Demi's fledgling career. 4 stars
6/09/99 Lucas jackson okay women in the army,bull shit,get na life Demi 1 stars
4/25/99 mkitterman I found it derivative of Cannonball Run II. 1 stars
12/09/98 Scion of Graveheart Now she's Miss American Heroine. God, no. I've never seen anything that sucks. 2 stars
11/25/98 Mr.Pink A very guilty pleasure! "suck my dick"-scene is destined for camp-status 4 stars
10/22/98 Babylon Bounce That title says it all. Better than that G.I. Joe crap. 2 stars
10/17/98 Sailor Moon Ate My Balls Hey G.I. Joe, meet your worst nightmare! Demi Moore is so full of blah 2 stars
9/28/98 katherine i killed the person that told me this was a good film. ive never seen anything stupider. 1 stars
9/12/98 kanatcha blah 4 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball Are we anti-men or what> Expected women to leave the theatre and beat on me. Yeesh. 2 stars
8/20/98 {{{OZ}}} She fucked Redford for cash, then she stripped for cash. Now she's Miss America. No. 2 stars
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  22-Aug-1997 (R)



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