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Behind Enemy Lines

Starring: Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman, Joaquim de Almeida , Gabriel Macht and David Keith
Directed by:John Moore
Rated: R


We meet the US Navy boyz sitting on a war carrier watching of the Serbian Bosnian war zone. The crew is bored with the lack of action they're seeing.

One fighter plane navigator in particular, Mr. All-American Dairy Land Man Lt. Chris Burnett (Owen "Hawk" Wilson), wants to go to war and get the bad guys real bad, that or fly rock stars for a living. He's decided the Navy isn't for him, with all its calmness, and wants out. He has submitted his letter of intent to leave when this tour is up to the salty- as- a -pretzel -double dipped- in- kosher salt, Admiral Reigart (Gene "Fisticuffs" Hackman).

As a spiteful little power trip/lesson to Burnett, Reigart sends him and his pilot Lt. Stackhouse (Gabriel —kind of cute gals—Macht) on holiday flight duty.

They are to run through the air and keep the multi-million dollar craft up to par should any need for its use become necessary. A simple routine reconnaissance mission...

While out and whining, the two see a movement of ground units where there should be nothing but pristine Bosnian forest. They stray off the flight path and discover a horrible secret. They quickly snap incriminating photos and race away...

But, what ever they've just seen gets them engaged in warfare, shot down and placed directly behind enemy lines - hence the title.

Burnett is left alone (it's in all the previews-- so I'm not giving anything away) and must reach the safe area by foot. Of course thanks to their little photo shoot an entire battalion of mean generic badly clothed militants are hunting his every step and there's even a hitman-esque type villian who tracks him as well-- always about five minutes behind the undestructable soldier.

Burnett is trained well (by a studio team of union stunt workers it seems) and has the necessary equipment (even a swiss army knife) to make it to his rendezvous point...if he's not captured and executed by the 501 enemies following him, that is.

There's lots of political going ons, and war scenes to keep the genre lovers happy through to the end. But Behind Enemy Lines has too much dramatic editing and hard to fathom scenarios to make it a four star film. You will like it if you're into war films- there's plenty of shooting and tanks for all! But, it lacks a soul. Towards the end it finds a bit and you may even get teary eyed as a red-white-and-blue blooded American. More because of the state of affairs at hand than because of the actual film.

Owen Wilson should stick to comedy. It's his gig man. He's also a talented screenwriter and has a cozy friendship with hysterical Ben Stiller. I like the guy....not in this....but in general.

Bottom line, on Enemy Line? If you just must see war films, this one's not bad. Gene Hackman is his usual stealth self. The action is great, the editing, with the slow mo so popular gets grating, the story is good, the acting fine. For those who think Hogan's Heroes is a traumatic wartime experience- skip it.

Snack Recommendation: Water only, even if your hungry, to feel as Burnett feels...




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