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Behind Enemy Lines
Behind Enemy Lines (Soundtrack)

Behind Enemy Lines Behind Enemy Lines Review

Directed By: John Moore
Starring: Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman, David Keith, Gabriel Macht and Shane Johnson.

A whole slew of films with a military angle are about to be unleashed upon us, though Hollywood is not trying to cash in...well, not completely. After all, it takes years to make a movie and the incident of September 11 is still only a few brief months behind us. The question is, will a film like Behind Enemy Lines be what the audience flocks to or will they avoid it in droves?

Well, apparently with enough box-office to take second place the answer is yes. Follow-up query...does it deserve the attention and should the film have been pushed up from it's previous release date to test the waters for upcoming films like Black Hawk Down?

I like Owen Wilson and was saying not to long ago that we are quickly running out of heroes in the films. From the intelligent action heroics of Harrison Ford to the Basic and easy-to-cheer antics of a Shwarzenegger where do we go next? Who are we to look to? Ben Affleck in Armageddon? No. Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity? Time will tell. But Owen Wilson seems to be the kind of guy an audience can get behind. He has a rolling, almost lazy way with dialogue that one can enjoy and relate to and in Behind Enemy Lines he busts his ass to put across every action scene.

It's the film that doesn't hold up it's end. Chris Burnett is a Navy pilot who is tired of watching and not fighting in the tense political situation of Bosnia (the film is set during what the film makers call "the day after tomorrow" giving them poetic licence to do whatever the hell they want to do it seems.). When Burnett and his pilot are shot over enemy territory during a reconnaissance mission Burnett has to avoid a ruthless secret police enforcer, a deadly tracker, and what seems to be an entire army of men whose single mission is to kill the blonde Yankee. Back on the aircraft carrier Admiral Riegart (Gene Hackman) plans several rescue missions to find them scrubbed each time due to the political nature of the war that is being fought.

One brief sentence about Hackman's performance here. He's a pro and never lets you down...end of sentence.

Early in the movie there is a solid scene that puts the entire audience on edge. Burnett and his co-pilot Stackhouse are targeted and hunted down by several SAM missiles. The twists and turns in the air of trying to lose these evil little flying tubes is quite exhilarating. But from that point on the movie is a non-stop roller coaster ride which never gets beyond the 'There he his! Get him! Chase, chase, chase...oh, he's wait, there he is! Get him! Chase, Chase, Chase...' syndrome.

As for a movie that tries to imply that war is horrific (duh) the over stylization thrown on the silver screen here is astounding. Slo-mo shots and trick music video camera work showing battles and people being blown up, etc. But to be fair, it is John Moore's first film and he is used to directing Sega commercials. Maybe it takes some time to shake that from your system.

The cruel element of the movie comes just before the end credits. A series of text goes on to tell you what these 'characters' are doing today making you wonder how much of the story is true and how come we never heard about this phenomenal turn of events. Then a little research digs up the obvious. In 1995 an American warplane pilot named Scott O'Grady was shot down over Bosnia by a missile and he parachuted to safety. After six days of keeping out of sight he was rescued by Marines. No one was injured, no one was blown up in slo-motion to a driving rock and roll beat. There were some reports that mentioned one rescue helicopter encountered sniper fire but came back undamaged. I wonder what Scott O'Grady is thinking when he sees this film.

Not a bad movie...just one that takes on some airs that are entirely unnecessary. 3 out of 5 gives it that all important passing 'C' grade.

Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul

DVD Information:

Special Features:
Commentary by Director John Moore and Editor Martin Smith
Commentary by Producers John Davis and Wick Godfrey
Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
Original "Main Title Sequence" and "End Credit Sequence" with Optional Commentary
Alternate "Tale Off" Montage with Optional Commentary
3 Extended Director's Cut Scenes

The DVD Review:
See DVD info for all the detail on available special features and check back for the review when this title is released!

Evil Ash

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