****/**** Image A- Sound B Extras B-
starring Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio, Lee Ermey
screenplay by Stanley Kubrick, Michael Herr, Gustav Hasford, based on Hasford's novel The Short-Timers
directed by Stanley Kubrick
by Bryant Frazer It's obvious from the beginning that Stanley Kubrick loves R. Lee Ermey. Loves him. Though Ermey is only the fourth-billed actor in Full Metal Jacket, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman may as well be the star of the show. He's described in Gustav Hasford's source novel as "an obscene little ogre in immaculate khaki." His barked insults and obscenities dominate the first section of the film--a tour de force showing how Hartman wears down (and, supposedly, toughens up) a barracksful of U.S. Marine draftees, blasting away at their natural aversion to aggression and reprogramming them as soldiers. Kubrick was lucky to find him; a Vietnam War vet and former Marine Corps drill instructor, Ermey brings an irresistible combination of outrageousness and authenticity to the part. Hartman could have come across as an unlikely caricature but for Ermey's ferociousness.