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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.06%
Worth A Look25%
Average: 10.29%
Pretty Bad: 21.32%
Total Crap: 21.32%

9 reviews, 82 user ratings

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Behind Enemy Lines
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Wacoshade

"May actually be too stupid to even be pretentious."
1 stars

This past weekend, I watched one of the most obnoxiously pretentious action movies I have seen since watching Steven Seagal in The Patriot. Movies like this do nothing for the intellectual reputation of Hollywood suits. But, I guess thatís not saying much since you actually have to have an intellect in the first place to have any such reputation. For the first half of the movie, I wasnít sure if this movie was meant to be an action flick or comedy. Turns out it was neither. It was a massively expensive celluloid turd.

Behind Enemy Lines is the most idiotic movie I have gone to see in quite some time, and keep in mind that I actually saw Texas Rangers this year, too. Owen Wilson is a navigator for a two man F-18 crew that gets shot down by some evil ambiguously-Yugoslavian types and runs for his life to be rescued. Yea, this movie is so pathetic, they couldnít even have Wilson be the actual fighter pilot; heís the guy in the backseat. Sure, they are important in real life, but in the movies? Hey, remember how Goose got his neck cracked in Top Gun? Thatís what these guys are in movie land, fodder for emotional development of the hero. Here, the pilot is not emotional fodder, heís just fodder for the woodchipper of poor plot development when their plane crashes.

I like Owen Wilson as an actor, and as a comedic actor, he is hilarious. I think that he may even have a shot at some serious roles in his future, but he should be a little more choosier in his scripts. And as an action hero, nuh-uh. Hell, normally his manic nervous prattle makes his roles funny and interjects some enjoyable cynicism or dry wit into many parts, but in Behind Enemy Lines, he gets to make a few obnoxious speeches using his same mannerism, and it comes off as just plain lazy and completely out of place.

I guess there was an attempt to philosophize about who the bad guys really were in Yugoslavia and why the U.S. was even involved and with whom, but instead of having any real social relevance, it is merely a pathetic attempt at character development. The war in Yugoslavia was one of the most significant tragedies to occur in Europe in the past few decades. The conflict is messy, confusing, bitter, and arisen from hundreds of years of ethnic hatred. Hell, it was a chance to explore the issue from an American sensibility Ė why should American troops be involved if itís not really a war, should America try to police the rest of the world, who should America be siding with in this conflict, etc. Ė but the producers mucked this up tremendously. Instead of a profound examination about human conflict or involvement in ethnic hatred, it ends up as simply a sloppily-edited shoot em up where the revelation occurs when Wilson realizes he was shot down by bad guys. Whoa! But is it the fact that they were covering up some evil deeds (which you would know about if you ever paid attention to current events a few years ago) or the fact that they are chasing him what makes these guys bad guys. Guess. There is hardly any discussion at all about the horrid crime some of these people committed thus no emotional impact at all, so I hardly see much point in it, except as a half-ass plot point, written to have a reason for shooting the plane down in the first place.

I suppose that the producers wanted a gung-ho military flick set in a modern circumstance, and since Three Kings was so well done, the producers felt the only other modern armed conflict that hadnít been seen too much by American audiences was in Yugoslavia. Well, the producers are just plain stupid. Three Kings is intelligent and interesting, captivating and amusing, exciting and lightly touching. That movie is a sort of caper flick, but one with a redeeming social conscience. Behind Enemy Lines is nothing close to that. There is not one redeeming quality to this movie.

The dialogue? Lame. The direction? Boring and unoriginal. Seems like every new war movie is filled with washed out, grainy filtered, shaky-cam shots... Thanks Steven! Hey, Saving Private Ryan may be one of the best war movies ever, but does that mean that every war movie since has to copy that styleand atmosphere? I guess so. The acting? Completely out of place, and Wilson is really miscast. Half the plot is stolen from other movies.

Well, I take that back. I did find the jet/guided missile scenes to be pretty well done. I thought the editing and style of the jet when being tracked by the surface to air missile was done very well. Wow. Thatís it, but it's not enough to keep this movie above water.

Oh, and did you realize that Gene Hackman was in this movie? I did, but barely. Can you even say he phoned this in? Hell, no. He probably didnít even have to read the idiotic script. The inane and predictable chatter probably came to him when he was on the toilet.

I remember a movie of a similar vein made about 13-14 years ago, with Gene Hackman in it, where he is the fallen aviator, trying to cross enemy lines. Ever see Bat 21? Excellent film, where Hackman is the survivor of a downed radar plane who must cross dangerous Vietnamese terrain to be saved. That movie was intelligent and thought-provoking. Was Hackman thinking Behind Enemy Lines would be anything like that? If so, he was sadly mistaken.

I will never cease to wonder in amazement at how Hackman and Wilson could condescend to this piece of composting refuse and then turn around and star in the wonderfully intelligent and original Royal Tannenbaums is beyond me. Sometimes good actors just have to pay the bills I guess.

Avoid this smelly pile of dung. Donít see it in the theater, donít rent it, donít buy it on pay per view; hell, change the channel when a commercial for it comes on! Heed my words 'cause you'll never get those couple of hours back.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 01/16/02 08:31:53
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User Comments

12/20/18 morris campbell not bad popcorn movie IMHO 4 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell action packed popcorn flick 4 stars
7/21/12 Sean Harrison Who could have imagined Owen Wilson as an action star? 3 stars
5/23/11 Braddock very entertaining movie 4 stars
7/11/09 then came bronson This review has me so pumped I am gonna watch the movie now. lol 2 stars
5/07/09 DK Good film, entertaining, well paced and with enough substance to skate by. 4 stars
8/27/08 Shaun Wallner This movie was Awesome!! Loved It. 5 stars
11/10/07 Alex KŲhler Soooo idiotic and unrealistic, even for Hollywood. I served in Bosnia- S.F.O.R. and ... 1 stars
5/01/07 Aaron Johnson i thought it was a really cool movie, one of hackman's best performances since CRIMSON TIDE 5 stars
3/25/07 action movie fan exciting suspensful action movie-one of the best of 2001 4 stars
12/28/06 William Goss A marginally entertaining action flick, perfectly worthy of an afternoon on cable. 4 stars
12/18/06 EAG owen wilson is so hott and this movie rocks! 5 stars
8/30/06 Jarkko Peršlš Jingoistic crap 1 stars
7/24/06 BuB It was a tense thriller wicth i enjoyed 5 stars
8/23/05 ES Better when it was called 'BAT 21' 3 stars
7/30/05 bOB THE HOb AFTER reading the movie reviews i realized once again how clueless many people are. It is 4 stars
6/13/05 Sam Its brill and owen is fit 5 stars
6/08/05 JD This movie stinks, it's totally unrealistic, the characters suck, very painful movie. 1 stars
11/17/04 puchacz pilot i like it god damnit!!! 5 stars
8/18/04 T.S. Kendall Great entertainment. Stays focused on storyline. Owen's best showing. 4 stars
5/31/04 Nobody somewhat cliche, but entertaining 3 stars
12/20/03 aren'tweallannonymous the movie was good, but mocks matrix in slo-mo(kinda gay) 4 stars
11/06/03 Debbie The action scenes were great, if a little unrealistic... hey, it is a movie, folks! Owen Wi 4 stars
9/16/03 Mike Pruzie I liked the technical realism. The characters seemd genuine. 4 stars
4/27/03 RP Excellent: I served and knew the facts; these were the facts! 5 stars
4/17/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik (sarcastically) Go America! 1 stars
1/19/03 charlie Hardly believable 2 stars
1/03/03 Annonoymous you all suck at rating movies 5 stars
12/02/02 Jim Wilson & Hackman are entertaining; worth seeing for the final helicopters vs. Serbs battle. 4 stars
8/19/02 Vikram Munikoti Awesome...edge-of-your-seat thriller 5 stars
7/13/02 Jim Bedford The Magnificant Seven Return yet again 5 stars
7/05/02 ! G000000D 4 stars
5/12/02 Matt This movie gives cliches a bad name 1 stars
4/29/02 burt this movie was one of the best i've ever seen in theaters, FUCKING AWESOME 5 stars
4/27/02 Kelly Murphy Good war movie! I love Owen Wilson movies! 5 stars
4/25/02 Ashley Broussard This movie was great..i loved definitely buying it&no one's borrowing it 5 stars
4/04/02 lauren mccreight the ending is so bad thougth i was gonna cry.... 2 stars
2/26/02 ownerofdajoint goodtimerockandrollerkindaflick 4 stars
2/21/02 Jon Fuckin Awesome Movie and awesome soundtrack, owen wilson rulz, i also like the bosnian jay 5 stars
2/21/02 adsfadf asdfadf 5 stars
2/18/02 Carla not bad... just kinda unrealistic at times... good suspense 3 stars
2/15/02 Tim Excellent 5 stars
2/11/02 Vic Only watch of you like war action movies. Very realystic setting. I have been in Bosnia! 4 stars
2/10/02 Owen Wilson My film rocks. Best film this year! 5 stars
2/07/02 Jimbo Ending is very suss but overall a good flick 4 stars
2/05/02 Jerk-OFF-reviewer I love this movie its great. Sorry the other guys have soem problem and cant enjoy it. 5 stars
1/23/02 mikkogwapo the entertaaaaaaaaaaaining...thats the bottom line..isn't it?..... 5 stars
1/16/02 Andrew Carden Quite Good...Hackman's Performance Was Excellent. 4 stars
1/15/02 en f~##ing all right 5 stars
1/10/02 malcolm cool shit, Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman? good enough for me 4 stars
1/08/02 Splard good damn movie, what the fuck is wrong with you sell out movie review bitches 5 stars
1/03/02 Mercury, because it's cool Sorta exagerated, especially at the end, Otherwise, there's a lot of action and suspense. 4 stars
1/02/02 Kelly Young This movie rocked my world 5 stars
12/27/01 Gene Hackman is a fucking hottie. My name is Bill Dawson. I teach Chemistry at Midview High School. If there are any hot guys out there. 458-5327 is my # 1 stars
12/20/01 David Snow I can't believe crap like this still gets made. 1 stars
12/17/01 Mills Not that Bad, I've seen better 4 stars
12/16/01 spaceworm Gene Hackman was in it, so it can't suck complete ass. 2 stars
12/14/01 Private Pyle Could have used more action 3 stars
12/13/01 G-Man Best action movie since........COPLAND!! 1 stars
12/11/01 Jason This was one of the worst movies I have ever seen... 1 stars
12/11/01 Xalt Flaming propaganda delivered by greedy suits. 1 stars
12/11/01 several commas good stuff 5 stars
12/10/01 Trunks You guy's suck I love this movie go suck on a loy pop with mommy 5 stars
12/10/01 Renee Blandford this was an awesome movie, no matter what the critics say. 5 stars
12/10/01 Nastaran FUCKING AWESOME....what more can you say? 5 stars
12/09/01 Marcus Where's my AK47? I'd get the fucker! lol What crap 1 stars
12/09/01 derek deems this film was absolutly terrible. it tries to be the stupidest film ever made. 1 stars
12/08/01 Jim Crap. Crap. Crap. Iron Eagle meets Missing in Action 1 stars
12/08/01 rutt13 entertaining, if a little melodramatic 4 stars
12/07/01 leon russom great action flick 5 stars
12/06/01 Dr. Zachary Smith on numerous close-ups of mr. wilson, plaque was clearly visible on his 2 front teeth. 2 stars
12/04/01 Obi Wan What happened?Movie starts very good, but I expected Marines in end & got HollyWood! 3 stars
12/02/01 marayqw sanhao 5 stars
12/02/01 ajay Owen can only be *one* character which is lame. The ending is so hollywood, it's laughable 3 stars
12/02/01 Superdave Ending sucks, but the first 3/4 are really good 4 stars
12/02/01 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Anything with Owen Wilson is bound to be bad! 1 stars
12/01/01 Mr Math Oh man, this is cheese whiz. 1 stars
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  30-Nov-2001 (PG-13)



Directed by
  John Moore

Written by
  Zak Penn

  Gene Hackman
  Owen Wilson
  David Keith
  Gabriel Macht
  Shane Johnson
  Vladimir Mashkov

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