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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.41%
Worth A Look: 11.54%
Just Average: 1.28%
Pretty Crappy: 26.92%

4 reviews, 54 user ratings

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by Erik Childress

"Like Watching Porn In a Bumper Car Without the Payoff"
1 stars

Once you’ve seen the ads for Basic, what’s left of the mystery? You’ve got every quote whore from here to Amsterdam telling you about a twist ending that you won’t believe. There’s the line “we’re here, but we’re not here.” And there are three shots from the film’s final five minutes within the commercials. How are we not supposed to guess? Better yet, who the hell cares? Because guess or no guess, the outcome doesn’t make sense and why leave the house when you can get jerked off at home?

Reportedly John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson have been waiting for a script to come along to work together again. You have to wonder if they actually read the script since the film causes them to have zero scenes together. Unless you’ve got the thinking cap theater ushers will try to pry away from you when entering the theater. As Travolta says in the movie, “am I scratching YOUR surface?

Travolta plays Tom Hardy, a DEA agent hired to investigate a military operation gone wrong under the Snake Eyes Principle. And if you understand the reference, you’re already way ahead of this movie. Seems like hard-ass Army Ranger Drill Sgt. Nathan West (Jackson) may be one of several dead on an impromptu exercise into the jungles of Panama. In the middle of a hurricane, no less. One survivor (Giovanni Ribisi) is laid up in the hospital and the other (Brian Van Holt) is waiting to play a game of Rashomon with Hardy and co-interrogator, Lt. Julia Osborne (Connie Nielsen, joining a list of actresses who should never try to act tough.)

A story is told. And then another and then another. Tales of hatred for the Sergeant turns into yarns about drug dealing and multiple identities until everything comes full circle like the infinity symbol that’s used as a big unsubtle clue. Who looks at that symbol and doesn’t immediately see a figure-eight? And are we so stupid that we needed the magic eight ball balloon at the end? That’s what screenwriter James Vanderbilt is counting on – that you are stupid enough not to notice that while you are being misdirected with lies that will never tie together in any universe. Yes, The Usual Suspects was dependent on a big, fat lie as well, but that lie shows you how it was constructed and adds up in conjunction to all the character’s actions outside of the web of lies.

A top ten list of audience questions of Basic would look something like this: (Spoilers Abound!)

10. How does Connie Nielsen not know the name of the suspect she’s interrogating? (And don’t say dogtags.) Wouldn’t Tim Daly know? (Ok, that’s two questions but every question to be asked of Basic has a subset of infinite questions.)

9. If the so-called elite “Section 8” are maverick ghosts, what are they doing hanging around an Army base?

8. Is Travolta’s behavior during the investigation there for nothing but the sake of winning $10 and exposing Nielsen’s boyfriend so that he can go out with her?

7. Can you really hit someone with a jacket and knock them through a double door on the other end of a hallway?

6. Was the whole deception just an elaborate attempt to offer someone a job?

5. How far has John McTiernan, the once great director of Die Hard & The Hunt for Red October, fallen? (Between this and Rollerball, he’s liable to be passing Gandalf and the Balrog soon.)

4. Is this really the first of at least three movies I may see this year where a character pukes up a gallon of blood? (The other two I’ve seen and will be released later this year. I leave it to you to discover which.)

3. Did we really need to see Travolta’s “butt abs”?

2. With all the bait-and-switches going on, why doesn’t Harry Connick Jr. start singing “It Had To Be You”?

1. Did we just see how the A-Team was formed?

If you are able to answer any of those questions then the filmmaker’s have succeeded in getting you to fool yourself. Butt abs notwithstanding, the questions CAN’T be answered within the confines of this screenplay. Any audience can be fooled with lies. A great, twisty mystery takes the awakening of alternate paths like Dead Again or Wild Things that make you go “of course, how did I miss that path” and not telling us about a path that never existed. Surely there are easier ways to expose a drug ring then constructing a story that “needs to be told right.” Basic is NOT that story. It's more like watching porn in a bumper car without the payoff.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7382&reviewer=198
originally posted: 03/30/03 16:42:25
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User Comments

2/23/18 Joe Smaltz Poorly lit jungle shots with about 62 cuts per minute. Is that supposed to be exciting? 2 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell full of twists that dont make much sense 2 stars
12/21/10 Sean M Preposterous to the nth, but more energy than most and a vintage unhinged Travolta perf. 3 stars
11/28/10 mr.mike Dreadful. Why was Ribisi trying to channel Nick Cage? 2 stars
9/25/08 Shaun Wallner Great Action!! 5 stars
8/03/08 HateMuch? Pretty Good Movie. What's with the Reviewer's gay-fantasy for Travolta? 4 stars
8/16/06 Eric Rountree Good acting and a believable story 4 stars
5/16/06 chris f basic shite 1 stars
4/01/06 Dillon Underrated military mystery. Fun times 4 stars
3/11/06 Dillon Underrated mystery thriller. Fast paced and unpredictable 4 stars
8/19/05 Sherman A bag of...cliches- Like aformation running by every 3 mins! 1 stars
8/16/05 ES didn't I see this when it was called the General's Daughter? 1 stars
8/11/05 R.W. Welch Seriously overplotted and entirely unconvincing. 2 stars
6/21/05 Steve Newman I go against all the critics on Bitchslap - I loved it 5 stars
1/01/05 Doremimi The entire thing was hard to watch, but the worst was Nielsen's pathetic "southern" accent. 1 stars
9/22/04 Bill Good Show Reckon most that didnt like it are the sort that always see the twist coming but 4 stars
9/13/04 Sully simply retarded - ending was ludicrious - sucked monkey balls 1 stars
9/01/04 Nut lots of twists, hard to follow, ridiculous ending that is so not believable 4 stars
5/13/04 Stuart ridiculous ending - would rather watch paint dry 2 stars
5/05/04 J.Peckerfoot great film with story retold by different people to throw us off.crackin! 4 stars
5/05/04 Bobby Fisher who would not understand the twists... only a yogurt!! 5 stars
3/31/04 Tito Refer to the title. 1 stars
3/04/04 Joe Came here to try to figure out the plot. Still no comprehension. Not gonna watch it again. 2 stars
2/08/04 Whatevr Like "Rashomon," only it sucks ass! 1 stars
12/06/03 john pointlessly complicated - has about ten flashbacks that as it turns out never happened 1 stars
11/23/03 adrian GREAT movie!! i guess if it was full of explosions and death you guys would love it huh?? 5 stars
11/01/03 Jenna Furr RIGHT Sylvie! Made me miss Ashley J. too. There, I said it. Gotta go change my panties now. 1 stars
9/16/03 Sylvie Alice Borden So many twist endings you forget what it was about. Where's Ashley Judd when we need her? 1 stars
9/09/03 Alisha OMG! What a load of crap someone dumped in a toilet and decided to make it into a movie! 1 stars
8/27/03 Chris Too many stupid turns which make no sense 1 stars
7/14/03 Shawn A movie that made you think to much, but I thought it was pretty good. 4 stars
6/27/03 Yappie Huh? 1 stars
6/26/03 Dr. Jake Jack WHAT THE FUCK!? 1 stars
6/17/03 Jackie One of this year's worse 1 stars
6/13/03 Eschenennock Manville Worse than BATTLEFIELD EARTH? Not quite THAT bad, Jack Sommersby! 1 stars
6/12/03 Jerry OH, SWEET JESUS!!!!!!! 1 stars
6/11/03 Julia Cox OD-ing on twist endings! Is it the cinematic wave of the future (Groan, groan!)? 1 stars
6/11/03 Sylvie Alice Borden So many twist endings you for get what it was about. Where's Ashley Judd when we need her? 1 stars
6/11/03 Rocky No!! NOOOOOO!!!!!!!! 1 stars
6/09/03 Jodie Solomon Could not understand anything. what was the ending all about. What does section 8 do? 2 stars
6/08/03 Ronald The people who likes this can go to hell! 1 stars
5/27/03 aiken drum All the twists are shit and you come out of the theatre going that was Fucking stupid. 1 stars
5/21/03 Jake Im with you guys 1 stars
5/20/03 Christy Chandler You would get more pleasure from flushing $10 down the toilet. 1 stars
4/16/03 KingNeutron Too confusing, but my goodness - Connie Nielsen has great legs!! 2 stars
4/15/03 Obi Wan Shoul get about 4 Raspberries 1 stars
4/06/03 Territ I thought I was missing the logic. I wasn't. 2 stars
4/04/03 Rich Stabone Sucky movie 1 stars
4/03/03 poetchuck Its a movie, suspend disbelief and enjoy it 4 stars
4/02/03 Uncle Salty Hello, my name is Samuel Jackson. I play the same character in every movie. Enjoy. 1 stars
4/01/03 Vince I was drunk when i saw this, but i could still tell that it was a piece of shit. 1 stars
4/01/03 daphney whatever 5 stars
3/31/03 Dr. Bitterpants Do you know what they call a "loser" in Amsterdam? "Le Travolta with Cheese." 1 stars
3/31/03 Todd Travolta is to movies, what teeth is to penis. 1 stars
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  28-Mar-2003 (R)



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