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Volume 2 , Number 10
October , 1997

You Gotta See This G.I. Jane

By Andy Wallace

As I sat in the tiny, rather dingy theatre, looking periodically at the Coca-Cola "Screen Test" that is constantly flashing
You are...
Adrian Balboa
(rocky 1,2,3,4,5)

at me, I wonder what the hell I'm doing here. Then an image of a hot, sweaty Demi Moore doing pull-ups in a tight tank top spring into my mind, and I remember...
Ok, so maybe my motives aren't pure, but I have never claimed such a thing, anyway. I was there first to see Demi Moore, a woman I have had a huge crush on since I saw her in "No Small Affair", second to see a movie to review.
The story is very 90's - a woman Senator (Ann Bancroft), trying to further her agenda of increasing the opportunities of women in the military, talks the military into taking some test cases on, and selects a hotshot Naval Intelligence officer as her first victim - er, test case. The woman enters the horrific Navy Seals program (note, the film was made without the help of the Navy, a tacit denial of the contents of the Navy Seal training depicted in the film), fights her way through, comes up against terrible odds, gets almost defeated by mysterious forces, then manages to fight her way back, eventually winning.
This is basically a "minority comes into a hostile group, and through incredible force of will and just general all-around being special, manages to win over foes, and makes friends" movie. In this case, the minority is a woman, and the environment is the US military, encompassing Washington politics and the Navy SEALs training camp. On the way, she discovers hostile superiors, even more hostile peers in her group, and an even more hostile Washington establishment. As is necessary, she also has one or two supporters in her peer group (including the one black man in the group, who draws parallels between the experiences of a black man in the Navy and those of a woman), and a haltingly supportive boyfriend.
Yes, it is somewhat formulaic and predicatble, but don't let that stop you - the formula is followed well (after all, it works), and the details that flesh out the story are well put-together.
A side note. Once again, I find myself in the very strange position of criticising the inclusion of pictures of Demi Moore's body in a movie. I was one of the 12 people who liked "Striptease", except I thought they had too many shots of Demi stripping in the movie - it detracted from the movie itself,which was a pretty decent comedy. In the case of "G.I. Jane", there was a little too much of a sweaty Demi in skimpy workout clothes, er, working out. The one-handed push-ups were especially... but I digress. The issue is that I find myself in the strange position of wanting to re-edit the movies, taking those scenes out, or cutting them down. Of course, I'd want to save them for myself, but they don't really belong in the movie.
That aside, I say, ignore what people think (I got some strange, knowing looks from the folks at the movie theatre, a single guy showing up, alone, for a Sunday night showing of "G.I. Jane"), and go for it. The movie is well made, and will give you a couple of surprises. Viggo Mortensen, whom I have not seen before, gives a fine performance as the often brutal instructor, although there is one scene with him and Demi that will cause many to cringe, at the very least. The depictions of SEAL training are also brutal, but fit the image that many have about the elite force. Ann Bancroft is also very good as the politician who has one agenda - re-election, and will stop at nothing to achieve it. And Demi - well, there is generally nothing to say about Demi Moore's performances. Alhthough she is in no danger of winning an Oscar anytime soon, she is a credible actress, and does not shirk from the ugly side of a story.
Give it a chance! It's 7 bucks that I'm not upset at having spent (Unlike wen I saw "Heartbreak Ridge" - ugh!). And Demi, if Bruce ever gets too boring, look me up...
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