out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
Behind Enemy Lines
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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