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I wanted to see exotic Vietnam... the crown jewel of Southeast Asia. I wanted to meet interesting and stimulating people of an ancient culture... and kill them. I wanted to be the first kid on my block to get a confirmed kill.
~ Sgt. Joker


Private James T. "Joker" Davis, later Sergeant Joker, is the main protagonist of Full Metal Jacket. He is portrayed by Matthew Modine. He is the narrator of the movie, and he is shown wearing a peace sign on his uniform as well as an M1 Helmet reading "Born to Kill".

Full Metal Jacket

In 1967, Private James T. Davis is undergoing harsh training in the boot camp by Master Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, who also brutally punishes the overweight Gomer Pyle. Joker is paired with Pyle, and as Pyle's progress through training starts to improve, it comes to a halt when Hartman discovers that Pyle has stored a contraband jelly doughnut in his footlocker, which causes him to adopt a collective punishment policy: he won't punish Pyle whenever he makes a mistake, he will punish the entire platoon. As a result the platoon, including a reluctant Joker, hazes Pyle with a blanket party, and Pyle is pushed over the edge. He grows increasingly unstable, and it culminates when he enters the bathroom on the platoon's final night on Parris Island, executing drill commands and reciting the Rifleman's Creed in the bathroom while loading his rifle with live ammunition. Hartman is woken up, comes to investigate an sees him in the bathroom and yells insults at him before being shot dead. Pyle then aims at Joker, but he manages to calm him down by saying to take it easy and calling him Leonard, his first name. This seems to trigger memories in Pyle of how Joker had been his sole friend and mentor. He then shoots himself in the head. 

The following year, Joker is transferred to Vietnam as a Sergeant, and now works for the Lusthog Squad. The men engage in the Battle of Hue, and at that time, the squad is interviewed by journalists and reporters about their experiences in Vietnam. Later, while on patrol, the squad leader Crazy Earl is killed in a booby trap and Eightball and Doc Jay are killed by a Vietcong sniper. The sniper shoots and kills Cowboy whilst he radios for support; he soon dies in Joker's arms. Eventually, Joker and the squad finally find the sniper, a teenage girl, but after wounding her, the squad argue whether or not if they should kill her or not, with the sniper constantly begging for death. Joker insists that they can't leave her to bleed out and suffer, and is told that if he wants her to be put out of her misery he'll have to do it. He does so, and is congratulated on his kill by the squad as he displays the thousand-yard stare. At the end, Joker and the squad walk back to their camp, with his squad singing the Mickey Mouse March, and Joker states that despite being in a "world of shit", he's happy that he's still alive and that he's no longer afraid.

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