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Behind Enemy Lines is a war/action movie starring Gene Hackman and Owen Wilson. Wilson, a disillusioned navigator on duty aboard a US aircraft carrier stationed in the Adriatic Sea, gets on the wrong side of his commanding officer (Hackman) and as a result is sent on a Christmas Day reconnaissance mission over Bosnia. Spotting something on the radar, together with his pilot, Stackhouse, they discover a group of heavily armed rebel soldiers who use an anti-aircraft gun to shoot them down. Having ejected, Stackhouse ends up with a broken leg (I won't say what happens to him) and it is up to Wilson to find somewhere to send a radio signal back to base and get them rescued.
Of course, nothing goes to plan and Wilson ends up on the run through lots of pretty Bosnian countryside and some war-torn towns while his commanding officer tries to fight through the red tape in order to get a rescue mission out to him.
I'm not really a fan of this kind of war/action movie, but it came on TV while I was eating dinner and it was good enough to hold my attention, if clichéd. Hackman plays the same character he always plays, while Wilson was suitably gung-ho as the navigator on the run. Essentially, though, it was a typical American war movie, with rousing speeches, lots of cheesy dialogue ("let's bring our boy home", "hang in there, son", etc.) a very predictable plot with some very suspension-of-belief moments, and some strange choices in music (interesting to hear Feeder's "Buck Rogers" soundtracking a flight sequence although there was worse), but some interesting action set pieces and some nice scenery shots. It was filmed in Slovakia, apparently.
I wouldn't watch it again, because it contains far too many of the good ol' American "war is cool" feelings that irritate me in every movie that contains them. When Hollywood endlessly makes movies like this where the Americans are the faultless heroes (although in this movie they are "cleverly" disguised as NATO) and the nameless, faceless Eastern Europeans are the terribly corrupt enemy, it's no real surprise that the USA starts so many more wars than anyone else. Purely as a movie, though, it is entertaining enough to while away an evening, if you like this sort of thing.
Stars Gene Hackman, Owen Wilson
Behind Enemy Lines (2001)
Writer: Jim Thomas & John Thomas
Dir.: John Moore
Owen Wilson - Lieut. Chris Burnett
Gene Hackman - Adm. Leslie McMahon Reigart
Gabriel Macht - Stackhouse
David Keith - Master Chief Tom O'Malley
Joaquim de Almeida - Adm. Piquet
On a routine recon mission a U.S. jet is shot down by Serbian rebels. The pilot is executed, but the navigator escapes and goes on the run. Knowing what he's seen, the rebels try to kill the navigator before he's rescued. Not wanting to disrupt peace negotiations, NATO refuses to violate no-fly-zone restrictions to rescue the navigator. The navigator has to evade the rebels and make it to a safe zone. Jeopardizing his career, the navigator's commanding officer organizes a resue mission.
This is a pretty good action movie. It has a pretty good, albeit somewhat unoriginal story, but is still quite entertaining.
It has plenty of good action with some drama and a couple of laughs thrown in for good measure.
The movie has a good cast, all of whom turned in good performances.
I believe this was Owen Wilson's first big action movie, and he did a good job. He proves that he is more than just a comedic actor. He was more than capable of performing the stunts and the physical action. Plus, he was still his usual self, throwing in a few jokes and wisecracks here and there.
And, you can't go wrong adding Gene Hackman to a movie. He's a terrific actor and is good in every movie he's in, including this one.
There have since been a couple of sequels to this movie, but neither of them stack up to this one.
I would recommend this movie to any fan of war type action movies, and/or any Owen Wilson fans.
Having signed up to be a hot shot Navy fighter pilot, Lieutenant Chris Burnett has become disillusioned with his career, as he spends more time policing the Bosnian landscape than seeing any real action. Determined to find a more satisfying career when his tour of duty on the U.S.S. Vinson ends, he is sent on one final reconnaissance mission, with his co-pilot Stackhouse, to photograph the Bosnian landscape. A mundane task until they spot some illegal military action in a supposedly demilitarized zone, which leads to them being blown out of the sky by the illegal force.
Having managed to safely eject from his failing craft, he witnesses his injured co-pilot brutally executed by one of the soldiers and inadvertently draws their attention whilst trying to hide. Stuck in the middle of the Bosnian wilderness, it soon becomes a game of cat and mouse as he is hunted down by the illegal Bosnian army; his only hope is that the Admiral on the U.S.S. Vinson will be able to send in a rescue team to retrieve him.
Before picking up "Behind Enemy Lines" I had heard absolutely nothing about it, but having read the synopsis on the back cover I was expecting a gritty war drama in the same style as "Black Hawk Down". But sadly I was completely let down, as although this is definitely a war drama it is anything but gritty. Instead you have a war drama which spends more time trying to impress with artistic camera techniques and over choreographed action sequences than being gritty and realistic.
> The Story
The concepts behind the film are actually quite good with the main element focussing on the stranded pilot trying to escape the clutches of an ensuing illegal army. Although not exactly a new plot, it is one which has seemed so far to have escaped the Hollywood trend of using the same storyline in every film until it becomes totallly predictable and unoriginal.
The second element to the storyline focuses on the feelings of the pilot as he has become disillusioned with not seeing any real action. Sadly this element is not used to great effect and although provides reasoning behind some of the actions, in reality it is only used as the set up for the main element. This to me is a shame as I can only imagine that the feelings that the pilot has ring true to the feelings of many service men who, although may hate the atrosity of war, signed up under the illusion that they would see action. I would have loved to have seen this really used to greater effect as it would have provided a greater deal of depth to what is essentially quite a flat film.
One of the main problems with the storyline is that it cannot make up its mind as to what it wans to be. It starts of in quite a light, humourous manner and you couldn't be blamed if you thought it was going to be another "Top Gun" style movie. But it soon dispenses with the majority of the lightness and humour but fails to get really gritty, sort of floating in no mans land making it quite dull and not overly engaging.
The other huge problem is that the action is just completely unrealistic. We have the stranded Lieutenat running in wide open spaces being bombarded with gun fire and missiles from close range but never getting hit. Okay, so a little bit of escapism does not hurt anyone, but this borders on the ridiculous. It also does not help when in one scene we watch the Lieutenant jump from underneath a covering of snow to fire at one of the army trackers. Yes it may be dramatic to watch, but it feels more suited to the unbelievability of a "Rambo" movie than one that is trying to be a realistic, gritty drama.
> Cast and Characters
Up until now I have refrained from mentioning any of the stars and that is for a very good reason. In the lead role of this would be realistic, gritty drama we have one of Hollywood's most popular funny men, Owen Wilson as Lieutenant Chris Burnett. Yes that's right, we have reknowned comedy actor taking on a serious role and I have to say it is one of the worst bits of casting I have ever seen. Wilson is just far to nice to effectively carry of the pilot, fighting for his life in a war torn country, he looks to nice, sounds to nice and just does not display any real emotion through the entire film. To be honest, he spends more time looking like a model in a TV commercial than as a serious actor, which is more to do with the direction than his acting ability.
Unfortunately the film predominantly focuses on Wilson's character as also making an appearance is Gene Hackman as his superior, Admiral Reigart. To be honest, although he does not get any decent screen time or any decent dialogue, he puts in a decent performance which saves the film from being absolutely terrible. This is by far not his best performance but he manages to convey real depth to his character as he has to fight beureaucracy before he can even attempt a rescue mission.
Sadly the remaining members of the cast putty in pretty mediocre performances with the worst coming from Joaquim de Amleida as Admiral Reigart's Nato superior. He seems to float in and out of his scenes without any real screen presence and is totally unconvincing as such a powerful man. Also putting in a rather bewildering performance is Vladimir Mashkov as the lead Bosnian tracker searching for Burnett. He is supposed to come over as a ruthless, expert assassin, but he could not hit a barn door at 10 paces, plus he looks more like a weasily drug dealer than an expert killer.
"Behind Enemy Lines" is directed by little known director John Moore, who prior to taking the reins of this $40 million movie had only ever directed TV commercials. This knowledge helps to explain why the film comes across as just one long TV commercial but does not excuse it. The film may be visually impressive with a vast array of camera techniques fom slow motion running straight into snappy freeze frame action and some stunning landscape sequences. But for the majority of the time, the film comes across as just an overlong commercial for the latest pair of Nike trainers, especially as Moore seems to favour shooing Owen's pouting good looks rather than the roughness of the situation.
>>>> DVD - Bonus Features & Quality
> Bonus Features
Audio Commentaries - You get the choice of two different commentaries, the first one coming from the director and editor, the second one by the producers. Both commentaries provide detailed information on what they were trying to achieve in each scene and how they went about it. What is nice is to have the two different view points, but there is a fair bit of duplication of facts which is to be expected.
Behind the Scenes - This sadly falls into the category of being purely promotional with the usual array of interviews and background footage, all of which comes across as very staged. Sadly it fails to deliver any real in-depth detail and although attempts to convince us that the film is realistic to true life fails abysmally.
Deleted/ Extended and alternative scenes - We get a selection of scenes which thankfully ended up on the cutting room floor, thankfully as they only made the film even more unrealistic than it already is. The best of these was the alternative fight scene, which although still borders on the totally unrealistic it at least had a bit more drama and grit about it than the one they chose to use.
Pre Vis Ejection Sequence - Otherwise known as the storyboard for the ejection sequence. But what they have cleverly done is cut the traditional storyboards with the CGI animated storyboards to make like an animated cartoon version of the scene, with the option to watch with or without an audio commentary. Although not overly interesting, it did come across in a better format than most of these styles features.
> Picture Quality
Even though the majority of the film has been staged using moody lighting, the picture quality comes across as very sharp without spoling the attempted atmosphere. There are a few sequences which appear quite grainy but I feel this was intentionally shot in this manner to create atmosphere rather than a fault in the transfer over to DVD.
> Sound Quality
The sound quality is a bit of a mismatch as although the sound effects comes across as pretty impressive, especially as bullets whistle past your ears, the dialogue on the other hand seems quite flat and lifeless, a bit like the film really.
Well you may have guessed by now that I am not overly impressed with the movie and basically feel that it is wrongly packaged as a gritty war drama where in fact it is more like a bit of action, escapism. It may have a couple of well choreographed action sequences, but for the most this it is a miscast, over stylized attempt at a modern war drama which plays more like a trainer advert than a real film. Although it may appeal to those who like a bit of escapism as well as watching a Hollywood hunk posing on screen, I would not recommend it if you are looking for a serious action, drama.
Sadly the DVD package adds very little to make this film more appealing. The 2 audio commentaries are the saving factor and are very informative but are let down by the remaining features which are more entertaining than informative.
>>>> Price & Availability
>>>> Technical Details
Duration: 101 mins
Year of Release: 2001
Genre: Action, War, Drama, Thriller
DVD Release: 2002
Aspect ratio: 1.77:1
Director(s): John Moore
Writer(s): Jim Thomas, John Thomas
Cast: Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman, Gabriel Macht, Charles Malik Whitfield, David Keith, Olek Krupa, Joaquim de Almeida, Vladimir Mashkov, Eyal Podell, Geoffrey Pierson
© Christianfilm December 2006
NB. This review also appears at www.maximovie.co.uk
To carry on what seems to be becoming a theme in my movie ops I ended up watching yet another film involving US armed forces on a mission somewhere that loosely can be described as a war action movie. So having seen said movie twice over the weekend I thought this left me in a very good position to write about it. Although having had the DVD since its release there probably wasn’t any need to watch it yet again over the weekend but I always seem to end up drawn to films when they are on Sky. The film is based around the Bosnian conflict and the Air force missions to enforce the Un resolutions within the permitted airspace. On Board a US Battle ship Lt Chris Burnett (Owen Wilson) has handed his resignation to his commanding officer, Admiral Leslie McMahon Reigart (Gene Hackman) who is a little unhappy at his decision to say the least and reacts by putting Burnett and his Pilot Stackhouse (Gabriel Macht) on the worst mission of the year, The Christmas mission. While everyone back on the ship is having their Xmas dinner Burnett and Stackhouse are running recognisance over the safe areas of Bosnia. However as they start their return to base Burnett notices Military of activity in the No Fly zone but manages to convince Stackhouse to fly a little off course to see what’s going on. And I bet they wished they hadn’t, being noticed by the troops on the group 2 anti aircraft missiles are launched as these troops are doing something they shouldn’t be. The plane is shot down and they are stuck behind Enemy Lines with no real idea of how to get out. The situations gets steadily worse as Burnett has to leave Stackhouse, who now has a broken leg, and head for higher ground to radio for help. 9;f course while he’s scrambling up the hill the troops have closed in on Stackhouse and eventually execute him. Now Burnett must flea and contact the base and hope that his actions haven’t signed his own death warrant as
well. The director, John Moore is fairly unknown with only 4 films to date to his name and this being the biggest box office draw of them all. However that said its obvious he has a talent for film making as the direction is fairly smooth and everything is done meticulously well. He seems to have got the best out of all the actors, which really is no easy task when you have a script with as many plot holes in it. While the basic plot was easy to follow and worked well some of the locations and dialogue puzzled me totally as Burnett tried to make his escape. Slight twists in the story really didn’t have the desired effect, well on me anyway and overall the script and plot could have been so much better. However that said as a brainless action film it works wonders. With Owen Wilson as the lead character this left me a little wary to start with as I feel he often blows hot and cold. I loved him in Shanghi Knights but then Zoolander I thought was one of the worst films I’ve seen and put me off both him and Ben Stiller for a little while. However he really impressed me in this film and made the lead role his own. Although to start with you half expect him to be joking around all the way through he does seem to slip nicely into the more serious role. Other than Wilson the only other actor worth mentioning is of course Gene Hackman, I mean there was no way to avoid mentioning him. Although he really takes to his role and his presence speaks volumes for his character he is pretty much on cruise control throughout, with no real tests of his acting ability and no real surprises from his character either. Despite all this he does add something to the film that would probably have been missing had it been someone else. Overall Id certainly recommend it as a no brainer, however if your looking for something with a little more sustenance then I’d suggest maybe checking out “Tears Of The Sun” or
“Black Hawk Down”. If like me your not a huge fan of Wilson I’d still say give it a chance if you see it on Tele as its certainly ideal to waste away a rainy night. But as an action film it does fair pretty well and I will no doubt watch it again at some point in the future.
I remember seeing the trailer for this movie at the tail end of last year and it was one of the worst cut trailers I have ever seen. I wouldn't be surprised if they gave the job to a monkey who had A.D.D and was heavily drinking at the time. Anyway now the film is on DVD and a wok colleague lent it to me so I didn't have to pay good money to see something that could waste 100 minutes of my life. Behind Enemy Lines has some elements that I liked before even watching it, it has a modern war story and featured Gene Hackman and Owen Wilson in the leads. Wilson is one of those affable actors who you just like whilst Hackman is one of the best actors around, I can't name a time he has ever sucked in a movie. So far so good but then I saw that the director was a veteran of commercials and music videos, this should give you some idea of what to expect from the movie. Wilson plays Lt. Chris Burnett, a navy navigator who gets shot down 'behind enemy lines' in Bosnia as the war rages. Adm. Leslie Reigart (Hackman) is the chief who is in charge of trying to get Burnett back home safe however he has to contend with the political wranglings which hinder the rescue operation. Burnett has to evade and survive in the wilderness, all the time he's being hunted by some bosnian rebels who have already shot his pilot dead. At 100 minutes long this is a film that doesn't outstay it's welcome, it flys by and has a high action qouta to keep you occupied. It doesn't stink up the screen like certain epic war movies from last year. Wilson was a good choice for the lead role purely because you can buy his character as an ordinary human being. I'm sure the outcome would have been different had a bigger name become involved. Hackman commands the screen whenever he's present as you'd expect, as for the supporting roles, well they're all pretty faceless. This is Wilson and Hackman's show. Director John Moor
e creates some pleasing visuals throughout, he gives the film's wilderness scenes a bleakness and non glossy look. However when he comes undone is in the fact that he uses MTV style editing far too frequently. Whenever the action ramps up he resorts to speeding up the film, slowing it down, freezing it. All of this renders the viewer senseless and upsets the rhythm of the scenes. It really spoils the movie and just puts it in the same vain as every other recent action movie made to appeal to teenage boys. I was surprised that the script didn't really throw up many of those corny war phrases. Sure there were a through littered throughout but ultimately the actors ride through them. I was pretty disappointed though that the opporunity to make a war film with some real heart and message was missed. This movie is based on some true events but we never really get the idea of what the real conflicts are and why there are Bosnian rebels. With a bit more thought this could have been along the lines of Black Hawk Down. However it's obvious that the maker's of this film weren't really going for that kind of audience. This is a film that is by no means bad, I found it entertaining and wouldn't turn it over if it were on TV sometime. However that's as far as it goes when it could have gone further.
Conflicts can often create opportunities for filmmakers to do their thing. Behind enemy lines is based on an incident that occurred in the Bosnian conflict. Using some artistic license, this film tells the story of a pilot navigator who is shot down with his pilot and forced to find his way home. Cast/Characters *************** Owen Wilson - Chris Burnett Gene Hackman - Lesley Riegart Gabriel Macht - Stackhouse Charles Malik Whitfield - Rodway Joaquim de Almeida - Piquet David Keith - O'Malley Olek Krupa - Lokar Vladimir Mashkov - Tracker Chris Burnett is bored with flying the routine missions over War torn Bosnia. Life can be meaningless for a navy fighter plane navigator when all you do is fly the same pointless missions every day. Feeling his time is being wasted, Chris hands in his resignation, much to the disgust of his commanding officer, Lesley Riegart. Reigart believes that his men should tolerate the boredom and that every mission is important. Reigart takes Burnett's resignation personally and uses the young navy mans' notice period to assign Burnett and his pilot, Stackhouse the Christmas mission. This adds to Burnett's frustration and he decides to veer off course to try and find something more interesting to look at, despite being told to stick to the routine. This action takes the two men on a flight path over a group of soldiers on the ground who should not be there. The men on the ground try to hide their position, the result, they shoot down the navy pilots. Burnett and Stackhouse manage to eject out of their plane at the last minute and parachute to the ground. Attempting to contact mission control, Burnett realises he must get to higher ground to send and receive radio transmissions. So he sets off, leaving his injured friend and pilot, Stackhouse. Soon Burnett is to witness to a horrific act of violence, which sees him run
ning for his life. Back at mission control, Reigart desperately sets about arranging a rescue mission. But it's not that easy. There are political issues to consider. Perhaps through duty, perhaps through guilt, Reigart breaks all the rules to try and get Burnett home. I will say no more to enable people to watch this film for themselves! Performances ************* Probably best known for portraying Hansel McDonald in Zoolander, Owen Wilson has been around for a few years now. He gives a fine performance in this film. Choosing subtlety over overacting. You can empathise with Burnetts situation, feeling particularly vulnerable surrounded by the enemy. Still can't get over the strange nose though, it's weird! Gene Hackman, typecast as the grumpy officer once more gives a usual top class performance. But I would like to see him play someone a bit less moody! Of course he play Reigart superbly as you would expect, but Reigart is a character like so many other similar roles he has played. So no surprises here but Mr Hackman, how about playing somebody more likeable please, pretty please with a cherry on top! As for the supporting cast, well they all do their jobs and they do them well. The most notable performance from the minor players is that of the tracker, Vladimir Mashkov. Resembling a Gabriel Byrne lookalike having a really bad day. He is a cold blooded killer showing no emotion or humanity as he tirelessly tracks his prey. Director ******** Directed by John Moore, making his film directorial debute. This film is slick. Having only ever directed advertisements before, it does make you wonder just how much talent may be wasting away making those more often than not, irritating space fillers on television. Clever camera angles and a nice use of slowed down shots, he has turned this film in to a gripping experience. There are some silly moments in the f
ilm, mostly in connection with the actions of the hero. But you can forgive him for this and after all, how would someone react in that situation? Faultlessly? Probably not! Watch out for more movies by this man, he is definitely a director worth looking out for! Overall View ************ Loosely based on a real life incident involving a Lieutenant Scott O'Grady, this is a fine film. The action is quite intense once it really gets going, if perhaps a little slow at the beginning. The actors performances are top notch allowing you to immerse yourself in to the action. Yes, a lot of artistic license has been used, but to great effect. Scenes to particularly watch out for with regardes to the action sequences are the mine field and a tank making an entrance. I wasn't sure about this film at first, it was not one that jumped out of the video shelves at me. But having seen it, I would recommend it thoroughly! .
Lieutenant Chris Burnett (Owen Wilson) is a top naval aviator during the Bosnian War. Frustrated that he is not part of the action, Burnett is at loggerheads with Admiral Reigart (Gene Hackman), who thinks Burnett has no idea of what it really takes to be a soldier. When Burnett is sent on a routine reconnaissance mission on Christmas Day, he decides to do some 'real work' and flies into enemy territory. After taking digital photos of something no one was ever meant to see, his plane is shot down... Trapped behind enemy lines, Burnett is left to fend for himself in a bleak wilderness whilst awaiting rescue. Ruthlessly pursued by a deadly secret police enforcer, a relentless tracker, and countless hostile troops, Burnett must find inner resilience and cunning to escape with his life. Back on the aircraft carrier, Reigart is anxious to send in troops to bring back his soldier, but is told by the onboard NATO officer, Admiral Piquet (Joaquim de Almeida), that the political situation is far too delicate to risk such a mission. Forced to make one of the toughest decisions of his life, Reigart has to choose between the life of one man, risking the fragile peace process in Bosnia, and his career. More famous for his roles in comedies such as The Royal Tenenbaums, Meet The Parents, Zoolander and Shanghai Noon, Owen Wilson takes his first leading role in Behind Enemy Lines, making an unlikely hero as the ordinary man forced into extraordinary circumstances. Trying to make an impression in his debut feature, John Moore's direction gets messy, with some scenes shot documentary-style and others sped up or slowed down, for no particular reason. And after some pointless character-building scenes are out of the way, Owen Wilson delivers a surprisingly competent performance in his first leading role. "Behind Enemy Lines" is a corny, formulaic, and predictable cat-and-mouse thriller, in a world where the baddies alwa
ys miss and the goodies can outrun the shrapnel from every landmine they set off. But with one taut action scene after another, as long as you leave your brain at the door, this is an a glibly entertaining ride. Stars; Gene Hackman, Owen Wilson, Gabriel Macht, Joaquim De Almeida, Charles Malik Whitfield, David Keith, Vladimir Mashkov, Olek Krupa, Director; John Moore Certificate; 15
My goodness, is this film saturated with the most beautiful men ever, or what?! What can i say, i'm not a war film person really, but i think it's very fair 2 say that i was on the edge of my seat pretty much all the way through this film! And absolutely excellent it was too! Although, the ending was a little predictable, i found myself pleeding that what i thought was going to happen would (shan't spoil it for those of you who are yet to see it!), it did, but what i'm saying is, it was less of a really sort of 'we're American and dead proud of it, so we're going to fill this film with MASSIVE hints to show you just HOW proud we really are', and I was glad in the end, of the outcome (even if it was slightly predictable!). There were a couple of rather *ugh* bits (if you'll pardon the expression), but it was nice, because you were given a slight warning by the music, and camera angles etc a couple of seconds before the *ugh* bits were, so you could hide behind your partner's back and squeal until it was over! But as I've said there weren't too many of these. The film is filled, more with suspense and the fear of the potential violence, and the uncertainty of whether somebody will be shot, and i find that much more enjoyable than just mindless killing, which can be found in alot of war films, so if you're like me and don't particularly like mindless killing, but enjoy a good thriller, (with a bit of a predictable ending) then this film is almost certainly for you, ESPECIALLY if you like a good American 'fella'!
Come out, Come out wherever you are, here PLOT where are ya? Truth is there is a new type of flim on the market, films which have decided not to have any kind of plot whatsoever. Instead they will just film a bloke running through different terrain. The plot is nowhere to be seen, in fact just mentioning plot in this very review is an insult to plots around the world. Anyhow I think by now you have gotten the idea that I didn't think much of the plot! So here is how it goes Owen Wilson (Burnett) plays an American Air Force navigator who thinks that the Air Force is all about action, he finds the reality of it much less exciting. He decides to resign from the Air Force. However (you knew this bit would get here eventually) he finds himself on patrol with his pilot, Gabriel Macht (Stackhouse) on Christmas day. They decide to liven things up a bit and fly away from the intended course, they find themselves behind enemy lines and are shot down after a pulse soaring battle in the skies. They eject and land safely, their radio stops working (how typical) and Burnett goes to the nearest hill to get reception. Whilst there he witnesses through his binoculars the execution of his pilot by Rebel Forces. He is spotted and the hunt begins. Running, running, pretty much lots or running and patriotic references. His superior risks his job yadda yadda yadda and saves his life. HOW TYPICAL, spare me please!?! A truly stereotypical film, I would however recommend it to my worst enemies...if that's any consolation to any of you. Some good spur of the moment entertainment but apart from that this is most certainly absolute bilge.
Wilson's character (LT Burnett) is a Navy flight navigator who has become disillusioned with the Navy and is contemplating resigning his commission. Hackman plays an admiral who is the battle group commander for USS Carl Vinson. While flying a routine reconnaissance mission, Burnett and his pilot (LT Stackhouse) see something they're not supposed to see and do something they're not supposed to do (as something like this would probably get you court-martialed). As a result, the enemy (in this case an Eastern European rebel group), shoot them down with a surface-to-air missile. The flying scene where their plane is being chased by the SAM is intense, riveting and heart-stopping and probably one of the best in the movie. They eject and find themselves deep inside enemy territory, struggling to survive. Once on the ground, it becomes a game of cat and mouse between them and two rebels who want to make sure the Americans are dead. Meanwhile, back on the aircraft carrier, the control room has lost radio contact with the pilots and realize something is wrong. Hackman wants to send in a rescue team, but his efforts are thwarted by political reasons and a foreign embarked admiral who makes it clear that no rescue will take place. The interesting parts are the relationships between the two admirals, the two rebels and the two pilots. Wilson does a fine job in an action film, as most of his previous films have been light comedy. As a result, he comes off as an all-around normal guy thrust in an unusual situation, and not some muscular action-hero that would have no problem in a situation like this. Although somewhat predictable, the action was non-stop and suspenseful
You all must of heard of the bosnia crisis but not heard much about it, thats good formthis film becasue they can use that fact. As I said this film is set in the bosnian War, the film starts on board a ship and you told that the ceasefire is in place and you find out that a piolet wants to resign from the navy becasue he gets no action. Later on during the christmas period heis put on a reccie (the army slang for a type of like scout mission) but this is on chriostmas dayu, so off he goes flying over bosnia then he finds something strange in the demillitarlised zone, a group of troops and a masaxcreded village, he takes pictures of this on his plane, and is thjen shot at by a sam site, and in a bond style scene he doges missiles before he is eventually shot down. His firend is executed and he is then on the run, he is being chased by i think serbs but the film never tells you. He radios home and is told they cant pick him up because hes in a demillitarised zone so he has to make his way to another zone, which involves going through mine fields, hitching up with some 14 yea old rapper in the most humorous rap scene ever filmed, he runes through bomed villiages in serb uniforms and at the end has a battle with a simper on an ice field and just as the tanks turn up, three helicopters full of us marines land in a massive battle he gets away and flys home. The film is great, it is exciting and is the type of thing chris ryan was up to, so if you enjoyed any of ryans books about the sas then you'll like this. The acting is great and i thought owen played the part well. He had to act l;ike he didnt know a thing and run from an army of serbs. The script is well thought of and the action sequences are great, there are some great things done with the camera work especially when the plan is being chased by missiles. Gene hackman plays his part very very well. this film is great, go and see it.
I went to see this movie with a few of my friends. Gene Hackman made the best of a bad job but Owen Wilson seemed to be an American God; a Superman. Firstly, he survived a plane crash, then he managed to fall under a dead person to hide from the Serbs. And when I said he was Superman, I wasn't joking. He managed to run into a shop with armed men chasing him, swap his clothes for a dead man's, in record time. Also this 'maverick' was taking a breather on the top of a dam and an experienced sniper had him in his sites with a 7-54 scope and a 7.62mm bullet which are accurate up to 5 miles-he missed within 2. Nearing the end of this film our 'hero' gets shot in the shoulder from less than a foot away and stil manages to enjoy a good fist fight. To top it off a whole army of Serbs come into the scene along with american choppers. Owen is home free but instead tries to geta camera, which, is amoung the army of Serbs. Once again he does not get hit. He then jumps for the chopper with his shot shoulder, and once he is safe in the chopper his best friend pats him on, you've guessed it, the shoulder. I think this film is full of fun surprises and if you are looking for a laugh you should visit the movies and say to the lady at the counter "Three tickets to Behind Enemy Lines, please." If you are looking to see a serious film then don't because we went, expecting to see a good thriller that kept us in suspense. It certainly kept us in suspense, but only for the credits.
Behind Enemy Lines STARRING: GENE HACKMAN, OWEN WILSON, GABRIEL MACHT. DIRECTOR: JOHN MOORE CERT: (12) DON’T MENTION THE WAR!!…don’t mention the fact that the U.N. is about as effective at maintaining order as miss Gayle; a hapless supply teacher who happened to wander into my yr7 French class and was more than half way towards a nervous breakdown by home time, don’t mention how safe havens became genocide hot spots or even raise a whisper about all the stuff that went on behind the scenes…feel free, however, to make a movie about how one U.S fighter pilot, shot down behind enemy lines, braves the sickening slaughter in the Balkans in true God Bless America fashion, only to come out on top thanks to the fact that he’s…well, American Goddamit! Bosnia was one war that a lot of people my age remember, and though I’m no expert on the subject, I know for a fact that Hollywood has simplified things to the point where I was half expecting them to take credit for ending the conflict themselves…oh waitaminute, they do take credit for that. Behind Enemy Lines is a morally dubious war film, which is practically a botched cut n’ paste of the infinitely superior ‘BAT 21’ (1988) which also starred Gene Hackman in the stranded pilot role, now occupied by Owen Wilson (writer of ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ and ‘Rushmore’). The story goes that fighter ace Owen Wilson’s been shot down; slap bang in the middle of warring Croats, Bosnians and Serbs (i.e. the dodgy foreigners) and while he’s dodging bullets, gruff old timer Gene Hackman tries to get “…our boy outta there…” without scrapping the tenuous peace deal below. It all makes about as much sense as foreign policy, and though there are a few points in its’ favour; such as MTV director John Moore’s hyperactive handling of the impressive dog
-fight / rescue scenes (he’d obviously been watching ‘Top Gun’ that week), Wilson disappearing off heat-radar after hiding himself under a pile of bodies, and the ever reliable presence of Gene Hackman; whose cigar chewing colonel is a cross between that bald flight school instructor in ‘Top Gun’ and the character Gene played in ‘Crimson Tide’…I’m getting a distinct Tony Scott vibe here, and ultimately, that what this film aspires to be: it’s cut rate Scott, a poor mans ‘BAT 21’, not quite as lame as say, ‘Iron Eagle’ ‘Saviour’ or ‘Navy SEALS’ but nowhere near as good as ‘Top Gun’ or as ‘real’ and disturbing as authentic Bosnian war movies like ‘Pretty Village, Pretty Flame’. If history is bunk then this movies a bunch of nonsense, and though I’m a big fan of Gene Hackman’s work, he seems to be taking it easy in his old age, with undemanding popcorn fare like this. Enjoyable in places but like the war itself; too patchy and too often mishandled; Impose sanctions on ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ and conscientiously object to having to go see this in the cinema; wait for the DVD as you’re better off watching ‘Top Gun’ for the millionth time. Dismissed.
Although one would think this is 'loosely' based on the incident a few years ago where an Air Force pilot (LT Scott O'Grady) was shot down in enemy territory and later rescued by our forces, that's really where the similarities end. 2 stories really: A Navy pilot is shot down over enemy territory and is ruthlessly pursued by a secret police enforcer and the opposing troops. Meanwhile his commanding officer goes against orders in an attempt to rescue him. Wilson's character (LT Burnett) is a Navy flight navigator who has become disillusioned with the Navy and is contemplating resigning his commission. Hackman plays an admiral who is the battle group commander for USS Carl Vinson. While flying a routine reconnaissance mission, Burnett and his pilot (LT Stackhouse) see something they're not supposed to see and do something they're not supposed to do (as something like this would probably get you court-martialed). As a result, the enemy (in this case an Eastern European rebel group), shoot them down with a surface-to-air missile. The flying scene where their plane is being chased by the SAM is intense, riveting and heart-stopping and probably one of the best in the movie. They eject and find themselves deep inside enemy territory, struggling to survive. Once on the ground, it becomes a game of cat and mouse between them and two rebels who want to make sure the Americans are dead, one of the rebels being very scary as he is a lone sadistic killer. Meanwhile, back on the aircraft carrier, the control room has lost radio contact with the pilots and realize something is wrong. Hackman wants to send in a rescue team, but his efforts are thwarted by political reasons and a foreign embarked admiral who makes it clear that no rescue will take place. The interesting parts are the relationships between the two admirals, the two rebels and the two pilots. Wilson does a fine job in an action film, as most of his previo
us films have been light comedy. As a result, he comes off as an all-around normal guy thrust in an unusual situation, and not some muscular action-hero that would have no problem in a situation like this. Non-predictable, and the action was non-stop and suspenseful. Not the greatest movie ever made, this all-male testosterone film still is very good action fun.
Behind Enemy Lines might just as well be called Run Owen Run, because roughly 50% of the film features Owen Wilson running towards a goal or away from his enemies. This thriller, which is constructed on the foundation of a time-honored formula, succeeds purely on its ability to generate an adrenaline rush. It also boasts the kind of ending that encourages an ovation from an enthusiastic audience. It's not great art, but it is effectively manipulative filmmaking, and offers a fairly uncomplicated portrait of individual heroism. In today's fervently patriotic climate, where anyone and anything associated with the U.S. military is regarded as nearly sacred, Behind Enemy Lines should do very well. The movie takes place at some unspecified, not-too-distant time in Bosnia. Behind Enemy Lines does not attempt to dissect or explain the complicated social and political situation there. Instead, we are presented with a straightforward scenario. An American reconnaissance plane veers off course during a flyover and is shot down because its crew sees something they aren't intended to see. Once downed, Lt. Chris Burnett (Wilson) must flee for his life from a bunch of Bad Guys (identified only as being Serbs) who are out to get him. Meanwhile, back on his home aircraft carrier of the USS Carl Vinson, Admiral Reigart (Gene Hackman) is trying to organize a rescue effort. But he is being stymied by NATO Admiral Piquet (Joaquim de Almedia), who is concerned that a U.S. incursion into Bosnia at this critical time could cause a peace accord to disintegrate. For Reigart, that isn't good enough when one of his men is down. The film develops parallel storylines. The first involves Burnett's danger-laden trip to the town of Hac, where he is supposed to be lifted to safety. Along the way, he must avoid the well-armed troops of the local Serbian military leader, Lokar (Olek Krupa), and an assassin (Vladimir Maskov) whom Lokar has assigned to kill him.
Meanwhile, on the ship, Reigart risks his career by trying to find a way to get Burnett out of harm's way without directly disobeying an order. Piquet becomes a villain of sorts simply because he comes across as a bureaucrat standing in the way of a righteous mission, but his form of villainy pales in comparison to that of the ruthless butchers seeking to eliminate Burnett. Behind Enemy Lines is the product of first-time filmmaker John Moore, who was brought to this project after producer John Davis was impressed by a SEGA video game spot directed by Moore. The freshman director, in conjunction with cinematographer Brendan Galvin, creates a busy and restless video canvas, employing steadycams shots, hand-held camera shots, filters, jump cuts, and freeze frames. As has become the norm for this sort of film, huge chunks of the film are assembled in the editing room as we are subjected to an almost dizzying number of cuts. Although the obvious intent is to replicate a sense of the in-your-face chaos and disorientation of battle, there are times when Moore's video chicanery seems more like showing off (shades of Oliver Stone). Owen Wilson is a shrewd choice to play the film's protagonist. Like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, Wilson brings an everyman quality to the role. We can easily identify with Burnett - he's not an Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, or Jean-Claude Van Damme. Gene Hackman, the consummate veteran, lends a hard-nosed dignity to the part of Admiral Reigart. Meanwhile, Olek Krupa and Vladimir Maskov provide suitably nasty villains. Unlike Joaquim de Almedia's Piquet, who comes across as merely misguided, Krupa and Maskov play individuals who are evil to the bone. Even though this is only his debut, Moore has a clear sense of what works in this sort of motion picture. The premise is familiar and the storyline formulaic, yet the execution is effective enough that it keeps us involved for the running leng
th. Behind Enemy Lines is a crowd-pleaser, and Moore rarely gives us enough down time to reflect on its weaknesses. In addition, the movie doesn't wear out its welcome. At just under 105 minutes, it's the right length. With some of the same plot elements in place (senior officer puts his career on the line to save a junior officer in danger), Behind Enemy Lines would make a solid double-feature with Spy Game. There's more action in this movie, but, in terms of overall entertainment value, the films are at about the same level.
Smart casting and sensible plotting make Behind Enemy Lines an above-average military thriller. Perfectly timed to bolster US patriotism, the film is partly set (during a hypothetical "day after tomorrow") on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, which was on alert status in the Persian Gulf when this film was released theatrically in the States. Proving his versatility as an unconventional movie star, Owen Wilson plays a navy navigator who is shot down over Bosnia during a reconnaissance mission. Pursued by rebel Serbian forces, Wilson must fight for survival while his commanding officer (Gene Hackman) plots a daredevil rescue. After a successful career in TV commercials, Irish director John Moore makes a promising feature debut on Slovakian locations, borrowing a few techniques from Saving Private Ryan while adding impressive flourishes of his own. The gung-ho ending's a foregone conclusion, but it works like a charm after the movie's exciting game of cat and mouse.--Jeff Shannon