This revolting ersatz political spiel (1997) takes so long to get to its first real dramatic conflict that the remainder—which includes scenes of combat that just happen to feature a woman in a position of authority—is virtually unendurable. A garden-variety underdog drama that only pretends to be about a woman's struggle to compete equally with men, the movie depicts the harrowing induction of a female officer (Demi Moore) into the elite navy SEALs as an ambiguous rite of passage. The gory details are simply itemized by David Twohy and Danielle Alexandra's screenplay, then slicked up by Ridley Scott's direction—an incredibly unstylish exploitation of some of his own cliches. The broader context in which Moore's character attempts to flout a double standard with hard-body heroics (reminiscent of her exotic-dancer role in Striptease) involves an opportunistic senator (Anne Bancroft) who checks her hair in the back of a limo and several military men of various ranks who are sensitive enough to cry or at least get near tears. As confused in its gender politics as any set of ideas could be, this movie cancels itself out. 124 min.
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