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Overall Rating

Awesome: 22.06%
Worth A Look25%
Just Average: 10.29%
Pretty Crappy: 21.32%
Sucks: 21.32%

9 reviews, 82 user ratings

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Behind Enemy Lines
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by EricDSnider

"Less talking, more shooting, please."
4 stars

"Behind Enemy Lines" is typical of war movies in that its action scenes are fantastic, and its talking scenes are embarrassing.

It's almost sitcom-like, in fact, the way things get moving: Fun-loving fighter pilot Chris Burnett (Owen Wilson), bored with drills and maneuvers on an aircraft carrier, yearns for some real action. Two seconds later, he and his partner Stackhouse (Gabriel Macht) are shot down while doing reconnaissance over Bosnia. Now he's fighting for his life behind enemy lines. Be careful what you wish for, Burnett!

Back on the ship, Admiral Reigart (Gene Hackman) is dealing with bureaucracy, insofar as some Marines don't want Reigart to expend much energy getting Burnett back, since he was breaking the rules when he got shot down anyway. (Sharp-eyed readers will recognize all plot points so far as being identical to those in "Spy Game" -- a coincidence, surely, since both films were shot at around the same time and released within two weeks of each other.)

There is a lot of overwrought, super-intense dialogue, helped a little by Wilson and Hackman. Their acting styles are very different but they have a common thread: honesty. You always believe these guys, no matter how ridiculous they are. Wilson's better at comedy, but he makes a decent, if not spectacular, action hero.

As a war movie, "Behind Enemy Lines" works very well. The sequence in which Burnett and Stackhouse are shot down is thrilling, and there is palpable, eerie tension in a later scene of a bombed-out town full of trip wires.

First-time director John Moore and first-time cinematographer Brendan Galvin have obviously seen "Saving Private Ryan" a time or two (which is just doing your homework if you're shooting a war picture). Some scenes are visceral, powerful and scary, aided by effectively choppy editing and quick cuts. (The editor is Paul Martin Smith, who also edited "The Phantom Menace," where he didn't get to have nearly as much fun.)

There is an attempt to make the whole thing meaningful, with an "oh-the-humanity!" lesson on the horrors of war and genocide and what-not, but that part rings most hollow of all. "Behind Enemy Lines" is a war movie, and a solid one at that. It does best when it sticks to its guns.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5640&reviewer=247
originally posted: 12/01/01 20:59:47
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User Comments

12/19/18 morris campbell not bad popcorn movie IMHO 4 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell action packed popcorn flick 4 stars
7/20/12 Sean Harrison Who could have imagined Owen Wilson as an action star? 3 stars
5/22/11 Braddock very entertaining movie 4 stars
7/11/09 then came bronson This review has me so pumped I am gonna watch the movie now. lol 2 stars
5/06/09 DK Good film, entertaining, well paced and with enough substance to skate by. 4 stars
8/26/08 Shaun Wallner This movie was Awesome!! Loved It. 5 stars
11/09/07 Alex Köhler Soooo idiotic and unrealistic, even for Hollywood. I served in Bosnia- S.F.O.R. and ... 1 stars
5/01/07 Aaron Johnson i thought it was a really cool movie, one of hackman's best performances since CRIMSON TIDE 5 stars
3/24/07 action movie fan exciting suspensful action movie-one of the best of 2001 4 stars
12/28/06 William Goss A marginally entertaining action flick, perfectly worthy of an afternoon on cable. 4 stars
12/17/06 EAG owen wilson is so hott and this movie rocks! 5 stars
8/30/06 Jarkko Perälä Jingoistic crap 1 stars
7/24/06 BuB It was a tense thriller wicth i enjoyed 5 stars
8/22/05 ES Better when it was called 'BAT 21' 3 stars
7/29/05 bOB THE HOb AFTER reading the movie reviews i realized once again how clueless many people are. It is 4 stars
6/13/05 Sam Its brill and owen is fit 5 stars
6/07/05 JD This movie stinks, it's totally unrealistic, the characters suck, very painful movie. 1 stars
11/16/04 puchacz pilot i like it god damnit!!! 5 stars
8/17/04 T.S. Kendall Great entertainment. Stays focused on storyline. Owen's best showing. 4 stars
5/31/04 Nobody somewhat cliche, but entertaining 3 stars
12/19/03 aren'tweallannonymous the movie was good, but mocks matrix in slo-mo(kinda gay) 4 stars
11/06/03 Debbie The action scenes were great, if a little unrealistic... hey, it is a movie, folks! Owen Wi 4 stars
9/15/03 Mike Pruzie I liked the technical realism. The characters seemd genuine. 4 stars
4/26/03 RP Excellent: I served and knew the facts; these were the facts! 5 stars
4/16/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik (sarcastically) Go America! 1 stars
1/19/03 charlie Hardly believable 2 stars
1/02/03 Annonoymous you all suck at rating movies 5 stars
12/01/02 Jim Wilson & Hackman are entertaining; worth seeing for the final helicopters vs. Serbs battle. 4 stars
8/19/02 Vikram Munikoti Awesome...edge-of-your-seat thriller 5 stars
7/13/02 Jim Bedford The Magnificant Seven Return yet again 5 stars
7/04/02 ! G000000D 4 stars
5/12/02 Matt This movie gives cliches a bad name 1 stars
4/28/02 burt this movie was one of the best i've ever seen in theaters, FUCKING AWESOME 5 stars
4/26/02 Kelly Murphy Good war movie! I love Owen Wilson movies! 5 stars
4/24/02 Ashley Broussard This movie rulz...it was great..i loved it..im definitely buying it&no one's borrowing it 5 stars
4/03/02 lauren mccreight the ending is so bad thougth i was gonna cry.... 2 stars
2/25/02 ownerofdajoint goodtimerockandrollerkindaflick 4 stars
2/21/02 Jon Fuckin Awesome Movie and awesome soundtrack, owen wilson rulz, i also like the bosnian jay 5 stars
2/20/02 adsfadf asdfadf 5 stars
2/17/02 Carla not bad... just kinda unrealistic at times... good suspense 3 stars
2/14/02 Tim Excellent 5 stars
2/11/02 Vic Only watch of you like war action movies. Very realystic setting. I have been in Bosnia! 4 stars
2/10/02 Owen Wilson My film rocks. Best film this year! 5 stars
2/06/02 Jimbo Ending is very suss but overall a good flick 4 stars
2/04/02 Jerk-OFF-reviewer I love this movie its great. Sorry the other guys have soem problem and cant enjoy it. 5 stars
1/22/02 mikkogwapo the movie....is entertaaaaaaaaaaaining...thats the bottom line..isn't it?..... 5 stars
1/15/02 Andrew Carden Quite Good...Hackman's Performance Was Excellent. 4 stars
1/15/02 en f~##ing all right 5 stars
1/09/02 malcolm cool shit, Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman? good enough for me 4 stars
1/07/02 Splard good damn movie, what the fuck is wrong with you sell out movie review bitches 5 stars
1/02/02 Mercury, because it's cool Sorta exagerated, especially at the end, Otherwise, there's a lot of action and suspense. 4 stars
1/01/02 Kelly Young This movie rocked my world 5 stars
12/26/01 Gene Hackman is a fucking hottie. My name is Bill Dawson. I teach Chemistry at Midview High School. If there are any hot guys out there. 458-5327 is my # 1 stars
12/20/01 David Snow I can't believe crap like this still gets made. 1 stars
12/16/01 Mills Not that Bad, I've seen better 4 stars
12/16/01 spaceworm Gene Hackman was in it, so it can't suck complete ass. 2 stars
12/14/01 Private Pyle Could have used more action 3 stars
12/12/01 G-Man Best action movie since........COPLAND!! 1 stars
12/10/01 Jason This was one of the worst movies I have ever seen... 1 stars
12/10/01 Xalt Flaming propaganda delivered by greedy suits. 1 stars
12/10/01 several commas good stuff 5 stars
12/09/01 Trunks You guy's suck I love this movie go suck on a loy pop with mommy 5 stars
12/09/01 Renee Blandford this was an awesome movie, no matter what the critics say. 5 stars
12/09/01 Nastaran FUCKING AWESOME....what more can you say? 5 stars
12/08/01 Marcus Where's my AK47? I'd get the fucker! lol What crap 1 stars
12/08/01 derek deems this film was absolutly terrible. it tries to be the stupidest film ever made. 1 stars
12/08/01 Jim Crap. Crap. Crap. Iron Eagle meets Missing in Action 1 stars
12/07/01 rutt13 entertaining, if a little melodramatic 4 stars
12/06/01 leon russom great action flick 5 stars
12/05/01 Dr. Zachary Smith on numerous close-ups of mr. wilson, plaque was clearly visible on his 2 front teeth. 2 stars
12/03/01 Obi Wan What happened?Movie starts very good, but I expected Marines in end & got HollyWood! 3 stars
12/02/01 marayqw sanhao 5 stars
12/02/01 ajay Owen can only be *one* character which is lame. The ending is so hollywood, it's laughable 3 stars
12/02/01 Superdave Ending sucks, but the first 3/4 are really good 4 stars
12/01/01 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Anything with Owen Wilson is bound to be bad! 1 stars
12/01/01 Mr Math Oh man, this is cheese whiz. 1 stars
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  30-Nov-2001 (PG-13)



Directed by
  John Moore

Written by
  Zak Penn

  Gene Hackman
  Owen Wilson
  David Keith
  Gabriel Macht
  Shane Johnson
  Vladimir Mashkov

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