I'll never forget escorting the late Samuel Fuller, the much-decorated World War II hero and maverick filmmaker, to a multiplex screening of Full Metal Jacket, along with another critic, Bill Krohn, 11 years ago. Though Fuller courteously stayed with us to the end, he declared afterward that as far as he was concerned, it was another goddamn recruiting film--that teenage boys who went to see Kubrick's picture with their girlfriends would come out thinking that wartime combat was neat. Krohn and I were both somewhat flabbergasted by his response at the time, but in hindsight I think his point was irrefutable. There are still legitimate reasons for defending Full Metal Jacket--as a radical statement about what conditioning does to intelligence and personality, as a meditation about what the denial of femininity does to masculine definitions of civilization, as a deeply disturbing experiment in sprung and unsprung narrative, and perhaps as other things as well. But as a piece of propaganda against warfare, it's specious, providing one more link in an endless chain of generic macho self-deceptions on the subject...
I had the rare privilege of seeing Stanley Kubrick’s last war picture — an adaptation of Gustav Hasford novel’s The Short Timers, about his experiences during the war in Vietnam — with war specialist Samuel Fuller, shortly after the film came out. He didn’t much care for the picture, he said afterwards, because he didn’t much like films about training, and besides, this movie wasn’t antiwar enough for his taste; he thought it might even encourage some teenage boys to enlist in future wars. Of course, Fuller had extensive war experience and Kubrick had none, which might have also played some role in forming his bias.
But one thing in the film that he loved without qualification was the close-up of the wounded Vietcong sniper at the end while she’s begging for Joker (Matthew Modine) to finish her off —- above all, for the look of absolute hatred in her eyes. “How did Kubrick do that?” he said with admiration.
As I'm sure you can infer from him being referred to as "the late Samuel Fuller" in a review of Saving Private Ryan, he was long dead when Lone Survivor came out. He also didn't live to oversee the extended cut of The Big Red One. Fuller loved Reservoir Dogs and he and Tarantino became friends. I'd be less interested to know what he would have thought of Lone Survivor than what he would have thought of Inglorious Bastards and other later Tarantino movies, or Tarantino's denunciations of John Ford, Fuller's friend and the director of his favorite movie, The Informer.
BTW the beginning of The Hateful Eight
seems to be a reference to the opening of Big Red One