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Laramie Movie Scope: G.I. Jane

A rousing military training movie about true feminine grit

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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August 25, 1997 -- ``G.I. Jane'' ought to pump up the career of Demi Moore as much as her muscles seem to be pumped up in this movie about a macho gal beating the boys at their own game.

It's a formula film (along the lines of ``An Officer and a Gentleman'' or ``Rocky'') that is well-executed by director Ridley Scott (``Blade Runner''). Moore stars as Lt. Jordan O'Neil, a woman given the chance to go through training to become a Navy SEAL, an elite military commando squad, on a trial basis. The deal to get O'Neil into the SEALs is wrangled by Sen. Lillian DeHaven (Anne Bancroft).

In the training, O'Neil is up against a trainer (Viggo Mortensen) who is out to wash her out of the training, something that virtually everyone else seems to be trying to do as well. All O'Neil is asking for is a level playing field, but they keep tilting it against her. The training is so difficult that it becomes sort of a parody of tough training sequences. The film fails to explain how eating leftover food from a garbage can makes one a better soldier, but I guess we'll just have to accept that one on faith.

Although there are some surprising developments in the story, the ending is pure Hollywood. It is about as predictable as you can get, but it is a rousing story, with a big action payoff. Moore does a good job as the tough and stubborn O'Neil, while Bancroft, who is seldom seen these days, sparkles in her role as a cold, manipulative politician.

Moore is tough, Mortensen is tough, Bancroft is tough. Everybody's tough, and stern and serious. The movie is pretty much one-note, with hardly a human weakness revealed by any character. A little more humor would have helped, although the recruits eating food from the garbage cans was funny in a perverse sort of way. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 1997 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)