Behind Enemy Lines (2001)

Director: John Moore
Owen Wilson - LT Burnett
Gene Hackman - Admiral Reigart

IMDB entry:
Mr Cranky Review:

Yup, another high rated box office movie. Not really deserving it you may say, after hearing other reviews of it. Yes, Owen Wilson needs his nose fixed, and yes, Gene Hackman really really needs to un-brand himself (well, depends on your point of view I guess). This movie however, I went into with pretty slim expectations. I hadn't heard that much about it, but I did see a few interesting looking trailers. It looked like a standard war type movie. And you know what? It was.

It's a pretty simple plot. Some Dude (Owen Wilson) is a navy navigator for a recon jet that is part of the NATO forces for the Bosnian war. Dude gets sent to take pictures. Dude gets shot down. Dude must get out alive. Old man (Gene Hackman fights against red tape to get him out. It's actually got the same plot of pretty much every other war movie out there.

First of all, if you're an aircraft buff of any type, or a flight sim buff, you are going to absolutely love the flying sequences. I have no frame of reference for how "accurate" it is, but it seemed more "real" than other movies. The sequence where the F/A-18 Hornet is shot down was absolutely amazing, worth the $9.50 CND admission in itself (IMHO). Just awsome. The rest of the film goes pretty much as expected, with a few twists and turns here and there, and lots of great action sequences. I won't spoil the plot by going into any detail. Lets just say it looked good, felt good, and the aircraft and aircraft carrier scenes were very well done and immersive.

The only thing that I found really annoying about the movie was some of the action sequences were filmed in ShakeyVision(tm), first perfected in the 2000 movie Gladiator (directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe). Sometimes they'd go into that weird half-the-frames-and-dull-colors-jarring mode that we first saw in the first battle in Gladiator. Other times the director (John Moore) does this artistic stop action thing. I suppose it depends on if you like that sort of thing. It wasn't over-used or overly annoying, but I thought it was worth mentioning. As far as the script goes, don't expect Shakespeare here (or even his younger brother), no, not by any means. It's adequate and the people involved play pretty much their expected parts. The young buck, the old man, the evil foreigner, the more evil hunters, and the most evil stalker. My rating, 4.5/5, but then again, I'm a big plane buff, so YMMV :)