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Full Metal Jacket (1987)

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NOTE: This commentary is only available on the 2007 Special Edition.

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Actors Adam Baldwin, Vincent D’Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey and Jay Cocks Rating:8.0/10 (16 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Londo Mollari on March 2nd, 2008:Find all reviews by Londo Mollari
It's obvious that the four speakers were not sitting in the same room together but nonetheless, the comments made were quite good and kept you engaged. I was quite shocked when Vincent said that he owes his entire acting career to his role as Pyle. He said it with such sincerity and conviction. It was great getting to hear Lee Ermey talk about the process of how he went from being a technical advisor to landing a role in the film.
Reviewed by reidca on July 29th, 2008:Find all reviews by reidca
There's SPOILERS ahead...

I don't know where to start with this. All of the recent Kubrick commentaries have been extraordinary. Except of course for Eyes Wide Shut for which there isn't one at all. Don't know why that is, they could have had Tom Cruise and Sydney Pollack for example - that could have been great!

Anyway, I digress. This commentary has been edited strangely. Vincent D'Onofrio is front and centre here, the most compelling and interesting person on this commentary, yet his character doesn't last the first thirty minutes! R. Lee Ermey, on the other hand, lasts the same amount of time both on-screen and in the commentary. Adam Baldwin (who possibly has more screen-time in the other two acts) only gets to speak for the period his character is on-screen - which is a shame as he also has interesting stories to tell, such as when Stanley walked up to him and asked what he thought about ending the film with Sid Vicious' 'My Way'.

Of course, from his talking, D'Onofrio clearly seems to have hung around the entire shoot, so he gets to tell the most interesting stories and really gives you a sense of the actor's journey. Kubrick always seemed to have this egotistical megalomaniac image, yet the actors on these commentaries dispel that. D'Onofrio says that the actors loved Kubrick and spoke of him with 'affectionate awe'. He also said that most great directors don't talk with actors about acting and how to act, they talked about direction or photography instead. D'Onofrio obviously learnt a lot about filmmaking on this, his first film, and talks about Kubrick's use of composition and the rhythm of the camera. He formed a strong bond with Matthew Modine and Arliss Howard and they often improvised scenes (another control freak Kubrick rumour shot down) together. D'Onofrio tells a story about how the three of them (along with Debra Winger) visited ground zero after 9-11, after being requested to help out by talking with the fire brigades. D'Onofrio falls under the recent trap of describing how 'you'd do that with CG these days' but does make the compelling argument that with CG, there's no such thing as happy accidents. He compares and contrasts this film with "Oliver's film" Platoon from the same time and makes reference to shots that Kubrick wanted to 'look like Sam Peckinpah'.

Jay Cocks speaks quite a bit about Kubrick's method and style from a more analytical point of view (don't think he ever worked with Kubrick?). He talks about his restrained use of reaction shots, the inevitable comparison with Paths Of Glory (as well as Apocalypse Now and Steel Helmet, a Sam Fuller film), the lack of back-story for the characters and the original ending which involved Animal Mother decapitating the sniper.

Disappointingly, Matthew Modine is not on this commentary (nor is he in the documentary). Maybe it's because he's already been there, done that, with his book 'Full Metal Jacket Diary'.

I can't help but think that these Kubrick commentaries wouldn't have been better if Kubrick had been alive to do them himself. He was apparently hungry for information but I just can't imagine Kubrick would have wanted to sit down and record his thoughts on his own films. In a way I think it's better to hear second hand about Kubrick's genius - you really do get that 'affectionate awe' feeling and I think Kubrick would have wanted it that way.
Reviewed by Buldrebisk on September 4th, 2009:Find all reviews by Buldrebisk
Wonderful to listen to, for the most. I would have liked more/other people on this track. I would trade Jay Cocks with Matthew Modine. In fact I would be happy enough if they would just leave Jay Cocks out of it. He does not belong on this track. You got three of the main cast talking about their direct involvment in the movie and then you cut to this guy talking in an analytical way about how the light is darker and represents something. Useless. Shame he gets as much time as he does. But the three others save the day anyway and makes a track I would love to hear again. 8/10
Reviewed by Detective_Gittes on December 24th, 2014:Find all reviews by Detective_Gittes
Commentary track is extremely boring. I would recommend passing as you will struggle to get through it, one of the worst commentary tracks I have ever listened to. It seems as though they have no idea what they are talking about, Kubrick is a genius Director, these actors are forgettable no bodies who will never be remembered from anything other than Kubrick's work, testament that Kubrick is a genius but his actors not so much.
Reviewed by Agressor on January 13th, 2016:Find all reviews by Agressor
I disagree with the reviewer above who thought Jay Cocks does not belong here. Though the actors all deliver fine commentaries I think Cocks provides a well-needed, different viewpoint to the track. Sure, his contributions are largely theoretical, as is often the case when these kind of "subject experts" are involved, but I actually find his segments of the track to be the most interesting and insightful.

That's not to take away from the other talkers though, like I said, I appreciated their efforts as well and I recommend the commentary as a whole!