Culture > Movies

Film: A tale of two Rambos

Movies | Demi Moore goes macho while Sylvester Stallone gets real

Issue: "Federal Testing," Sept. 13, 1997

Women and men are exactly alike except in their reproductive systems. Gender roles are just the creations of a repressive society. Keeping women out of combat is just another sign of sexism. That's the mindset of the dreadful Demi Moore vehicle, G.I. Jane. Ms. Moore's character is recruited as a test case for integrating the military. She gets kicked around, becomes a political football, then is set up on phony charges of lesbianism. Her final challenge is a Ramboesque mission into Libya to rescue a bunch of soldiers who are stranded in the desert. With her bald head and Bally's heath spa body, she conquers all to show the world that women and men are physically equal. Gung ho! Ridley Scott, who made Sci-Fi films like Blade Runner and Alien, is a fitting director for a movie about a woman who becomes a Navy SEAL. Such a premise is as close to reality as a two-headed transplant movie. His action scenes of Ms. Moore and company going through hell week are mildly engrossing, but all the scenes with serious dialogue are terrible. The worst parts are the scenes involving Anne Bancroft, who plays the Pat Schroederesque senator who uses our Amazon heroine as a pawn to promote her own career. There's a wimpy boyfriend and mean drill instructor in here too; most of the male characters in G.I. Jane have all the personality of the food in a Navy ration pack. On the other hand, Cop Land does a better job of putting controversy in uniform. Sylvester Stallone shows the world he can still act by playing a pudgy, overweight sheriff in a New Jersey town filled with New York City cops. He's partially deaf, so he can't be a real police officer on the other side of the bridge. But the boys in blue like him, so they give him a job fighting the nonexistent crime in that little community. Then one of the town's cops accidentally kills two black druggies on the George Washington Bridge and fakes his own suicide. This starts a spiral that reveals the whole town was built for the cops who got their mortgages from a mob-controlled bank. Robert DeNiro comes into town as an investigator trying to get Sheriff Stallone's help with the case. So Sly gets his big shot at being a crime fighter, but he has to investigate his best friends. The suspense builds to an intense climax, and our hero finally gets to shoot somebody. Cop Land's picture of the small town is a reflection of New York City itself. After all, for a cop sick of living and working in the crime and grime of the Big Apple, an offer to sell out in exchange for life in a quiet, peaceful thin blue ghetto must be tempting. This movie was deliberately made as an independent film-and thrives on its story and acting instead of its budget. Cop Land works because it shows how people sworn to uphold justice can become part of the evil they're trying to fight. G.I. Jane settles for political fashion and winds up as flat as the comic book that its title invokes.

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