Leonard's murder-suicide brings Full Metal Jacket to such a sickening climax that it's hard to imagine how the next 50 minutes or so could top it. Spoiler alert: they don't. The rest of the movie takes place in Vietnam, and despite Kubrick's typically otherworldly, something's-wrong-with-this-picture narrative quality, his war zone, with its carefully-lit fires and immaculately-timed pyrotechnic displays, is a shadow of more vivid hellscapes previously conjured, for better or worse, by Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter, and Platoon. Our guide to the territory is Private Joker, now a combat correspondent who asserts his self-awareness by scrawling "Born to Kill" on his helmet and pinning a peace sign to his uniform. The former gesture is a bit on the nose, given that the first section of Full Metal Jacket is all about what it takes to turn draftees into soldiers; the latter is arguably juvenile, or at least naive about what it means to be a soldier on active duty in hostile territory. Joker is still essentially a kid and has a kid's philosophy, leveraging his status as a journalist to remain aloof from the messier matters of living and dying.
THE 4K UHD DISCWarner Home Video reloads Full Metal Jacket for one more home-video go-round in a crisp and mostly definitive UHD BD edition (it comes packed with a bonus Blu-ray Disc and a code for a digital download) that renders the movie more pristinely than any release print from 1987. Like previous BD transfers, the picture here is framed at the 1.76:1 aspect ratio that takes up the entirety of an HDTV screen. (The film was exhibited theatrically at 1.85:1 or 1.66:1, depending on the territory, and 1.76:1 is a completely reasonable compromise as Kubrick was known to have disliked letterbox bars back in the early days of home video.) Colours seem accurate enough, though they've clearly been fussed over this time around--the green cast that had crept into HD transfers of the film is mostly gone, returning the intense Kubrick-blue moonlight to two key scenes in the barracks that signal points of no return for poor Private Pyle. In HDR and Dolby Vision, the light blasting into the barracks through the large windows is so bright as to leave an after-image on your retina, while exteriors gain so much texture and detail they sometimes feel three-dimensional. The various fires raging in the film's final scenes of urban warfare are rendered in crisp shades of red-hot that lend an especially hellish, almost hallucinatory feeling unique to this version. Given some of Kubrick's decidedly old-school directorial preferences, I wonder what he would have made of 4K HDR's awesome clarity. I assume he'd either embrace the format for its ability to see further into a film negative than ever before or reject it utterly for imposing on his visuals a level of intensity he couldn't have anticipated. 2b1af7f3a8