Plot: What’s it about?
With the ever increasing push to equalize the sexes, including military service, it was only a matter of time before the first female attempted the most rigorous training of all, the training needed to become a Navy Seal. With a major female politician behind that very issue, the wheels are set into motion to place a female candidate into the program, as a preliminary test. Although no one wants to see her succeed, no one thinks a female can make it through the first week, so not much thought is given to the effort at first. The test candidate is chosen, and Lieutenant O’Neil (Demi Moore) becomes the first female to enter Navy Seals training. At first, she is given separate bunking, showering, and bathroom facilities and judged on a different scale, but she demands to be treated the same, which means the already grueling process is about to become ever more draining. As she continues to push through the intense training, her superiors and teammates try harder to force her to quit. With the odds against her and worsening every day, can O’Neil put everything aside and prove she is just as able as anyone else?
When I first heard about this movie, I was like, not another movie showing how men and women are equal by having a woman overcome some odds. But as I watched it, I was taken in by the powerful acting and excellent directing, which really create a stirring experience. The movie has a strong blend of impact action and dialogue, which is rare in movies these days. Usually when action is involved, the storyline and dialogue go out the window, but not here. The training sequences are very powerful, using vivid imagery and intense on screen action to create a feeling like you’re a member of the crew. The camera places you right in the scenes in an intimate way, which makes us bond with O’Neil even more. The elements also play a key role during these training segments, and the camera makes us feel in the middle of it, not sheltered from it like some movies do. I think anyone looking for an action movie that breaks out of the genre limits will like this movie, although the disc doesn’t offer much except the movie itself. So if you haven’t seen it, at least rent it, it’s worth your time and money.
This movie was directed by one of my all time favorite directors, Ridley Scott. While his list of work is somewhat short, most of his films are very powerful, such as Alien, Legend, Blade Runner and White Squall. When elite directors are discussed, you won’t Scott’s name often, but I think he deserves a mention, although his work list is a little narrow. In this film, Scott creates some incredible scenes, especially the training sequences and the scenes in the field. By use of camera movement and placement, Scott puts you right in the thick of things, and he also pulls some excellent performances from the cast. Demi Moore plays the lead role in this movie, and I feel she gives the finest performance of her career, one that she will likely never top. Moore (Ghost, Striptease) has established herself as a talented dramatic actress, but she pushes herself to new limits with this role. The sheer physical side of this part seem daunting, let alone the actual acting involved. Also giving a superb turn here is Viggo Mortensen (Carlito’s Way, A Perfect Murder), who is almost haunting as the Master Chief over the trainees. Other actors in this movie include Morris Chestnut (The Inkwell, The Best Man), Jason Beghe (Thelma & Louise, Monkey Shines), Kevin Gage (Heat, Strangeland), and Anne Bancroft (Mr. Jones, Home For The Holidays).
Video: How does it look?
G.I. Jane is presented in a 2.35:1 non anamorphic widescreen transfer. This title was released before Buena Vista began anamorphic support, so the image just doesn’t live up to recent standards. During the night scenes, and other darker scenes, the image looks too bright, which can harm the scene’s intended visual impact. Even during the lighter scenes, the colors seem muted, and the entire image is just too soft through the whole movie. There are no compression errors, but I am afraid that’s too little, too late.
Audio: How does it sound?
While the image quality just plain sucks, the audio is one kick ass ride, well worth taking. Even the smallest of noises seems to boom through the speakers during the intense scenes, while the dialogue driven sequences retain their proper volume levels. This transition is smooth, which is rare on discs even these days, so I am inclined to give high marks here. When you combine the visual impact of the action scenes with this explosive audio mix, you’ve got one hell of a movie ride, so hang on tight!
Supplements: What are the extras?
Sadly, the only extra on this disc is the trailer. Perhaps the future holds a new release for this movie, with a making of featurette and commentary, which would be too cool. This movie deserves better, let’s all hope someday it gets the royal treatment.