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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Behind Enemy Lines (2001)



Reviews and Comments

Though set during the United States' involvement in the conflict in Bosnia, this is not a war movie but an action movie. Once heat-seeking missiles are fired at an aircraft on a reconnaissance mission (the movie's best and most suspenseful scene), the film skips from action set piece to action set piece, interrupted only by Gene Hackman looking grim, as Owen Wilson tries to get out of enemy territory on his own.

I'm ok with the film's story arc as a whole, but I question the logic of numerous individual scenes. I'm not sure why a whole street is rigged with trip wires that, intentionally or not, set each other off. I'm not sure why Wilson is so eager to shed a successful disguise, and nor am I sure why he thinks the safest place to be is out in the open. I don't know why, after hearing that Wilson is located at an agreed-upon rendezvous point, Hackman needs his men to triangulate his position.

Nonetheless, Behind Enemy Lines pretty much works as a dumb rush of adrenaline, at least until the final scene when an entire army of soldiers with machine guns all miss an open target. I credit the charisma of the cast. Wilson and especially Hackman could be watchable in pretty much anything. In this movie, they kept me involved enough to temporarily overlook its gross flaws. And I did enjoy a few of the action scenes, particularly the aforementioned missile scene. As a whole, however, Behind Enemy Lines simply can't make the grade.