Full Metal Jacket is one of the great War movies, one of two or three great Vietnam war movies, and one of Stanley Kubrick's least pompous films. It features a solid cast that includes Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, an unrecognizable Vincent D'Onofrio, and a memorable performance by R. Lee Erney as the Drill Sergeant. Full Metal Jacket 25th Anniversary Digibook features a very good commentary track with R. Lee Erney, D'Onofrio, and screenwriter Jack Cocks. It also includes a featurette titled Between Good and Evil, and a 1-hour documentary DVD Stanley Kubrick's Boxes. For Kubrick fans this DVD is almost as important as the main feature
Full Metal Jacket opens in a Marine boot camp where Joker, Cowboy, Private Lawrence, and others of the 3092nd Platoon are being drilled by Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. This first half of the movie shows the training makes these men become able to respond automatically to commands and situations. It ends with one of the most famous scenes in war movie history. The movie also ends with one of the most famous war movie closes.
The second half of the movie is set in Viet Nam where Joker (Modine) is now a correspondent for Stars and Stripes. Joker ends up in country with Cowboy's platoon. By the end of the movie the Joker monicker is no longer appropriate.
There is nothing spectacular about Full Metal Jacket. It is the whole that makes the movie a classic. There is of course a lot for film connoisseurs to sink their teeth into but this time around Kubrick's stylistics do not get in the way of a good story and great performances.
The DVD Stanley Kubrick's Boxes is a Sundance Channel documentary film by Jon Ronson. Ronson is invited to the Kubrick estate where he discovers the director kept everything and there are thousands of boxes on the property. Ronson looks into some of the boxes and talks to Kubrick associates and family members. This is an extremely revealing look at Kubrick.