Behind Enemy Lines


Patriotic, yes. Interesting? Not By a Long Shot

Main Cast: Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman
Director: John Moore

Plot Summary: A Navy jet is shot down over Bosnia and the surviving navigator must evade capture across rugged terrain.

Pretty much all “rah rah” and flying the American colors proudly, Behind Enemy Lines never lets in a whiff of thought as events crash and bang against each other to build…well, a clich├ęd film full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

We meet the principles: Lt. Chris Burnett (Wilson), called a “pilot” by many but, unless he’s been transferred recently from another plane, he is a navigator…a back-seater. The pilot is nicknamed Stackhouse (Macht). Admiral Reigart (Hackman) thinks that Burnett is a good Navy man but is wasting his talent.

Burnett and Stackhouse are sent out on a holiday mission and apparently get lost…bad maps? They fly over a lake and notice some suspicious activity. Two missiles shot up at them confirm that they saw something they should not have. The missile chase is energetic, with the jet flying, wheeling, and doing loops through the air. I don’t know how accurate this is, but I suspect the director took some liberties to make things more exciting. I can go along with this. The plane is shot down, and Stackhouse is captured.

Thus begins Burnett’s flight. This I cannot accept so easily. A wildly implausible tale is quickly taken into the realms of the absurd. I feel kind of sorry for the Serbian bad guy tracker, as Burnett is definitely watched over by the Fates. I suppose I should state that the chase is energetic, with much running, hiding, guns going off, troops moving, and that sort of thing. And during all this, the good Admiral fights against the bad Admiral back on the ship, trying to rescue his man.

Whether or not he is rescued I leave for you to discover. Or…perhaps not. There are much better action films than Behind Enemy Lines out there. Yes, this is very patriotic, but there are other ways to celebrate our country. Please find one.

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