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.
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