No war movie has been able to match the opening 45 minutes of Kubrick’s Vietnam film, in which R. Lee Ermey, a former Marine himself, plays the ruthless, obscenity-spewing drill sergeant in charge of basic training. With Ermey’s Gunnery Sgt. Hartman as the focus, Kubrick suggests such training involved little more than torturous obstacle courses and a torrent of sexually explicit insults. Left to Hartman’s mercy is a helpless, overweight failure (a young, mesmerizing Vincent D’Onofrio) who becomes the main target of the sergeant’s ire and a casually subversive writer (Matthew Modine) who serves as our guide through the rest of the film. That’s unfortunate, for Modine lacks the emotional intensity that the second half of Kubrick’s movie desperately needs. Once the film moves to Vietnam – largely re-created with sets in England – it remains as regimented as boot camp, even when the chaos of the conflict unfolds across the screen. Kubrick’s movies are nothing if not orderly, and that serves him well in some instances here. The columns inherent to the military experience – the lines of men, bunks, tanks and such – are ripe for his trademark tracking shots. Yet the disorder of warfare is an even more crucial element, one that Kubrick may not have not been fit to depict.