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Behind Enemy Lines

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Behind Enemy Lines

Starring: Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman
Director: John Moore
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: November 2001
Genres: Action, Suspense, War

*Also starring: David Keith, Gabriel Macht, Eyal Podell, Travis Fine, Elizabeth Perry, Joaquim De Almeida

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

If you're into high-tension action-adventure with a dollop of gung-ho patriotism thrown in, this war thriller could be for you. Chris Burnett (Owen Wilson) is a frustrated Navy fighter pilot who submits a letter of resignation to his CO (Gene Hackman) because he's tired of being a U.N. peacekeeper, noting: "I certainly didn't want to be a cop in a neighborhood nobody cares about." Furious, the CO assigns him to a Christmas Day reconnaissance mission over Bosnia but, when Burnett and his co-pilot Stackhouse (Steve Macht) spy suspicious Serbian troop movements in a demilitarized zone and snap digital photos, they're forced to parachute out when their plane is shot down. Stackhouse is quickly executed but Burnett escapes and is pursued through the rough, wintry, forested terrain. He's confident that he'll be rescued, not realizing that the NATO commander (Joaquim de Almeida) has ordered the CO not to do anything that might upset the fragile cease-fire agreement. Owen Wilson's panic is palpable, as is Gene Hackman's grim determination to "get my boy back." Seemingly inspired by the daring escape of Scott O'Grady, the American pilot shot down over Bosnia in 1995 and rescued by the Marines after surviving on grass and rainwater for six days, writers David Veloz and Zak Penn have developed a formulaic story by James Thomas and John Thomas. Director John Moore concocts an adrenaline-fueled sense of visceral excitement, utilizing Brendan Galvin's realistic photography, Paul Martin Smith's razor-sharp editing, and Don Davis' throbbing music - but, unfortunately, the implausible, heavy-handed, overkill superhero ending blows a great set-up. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Behind Enemy Lines" is a suspenseful 6, notable primarily for its spectacular action sequences.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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