We swell the rolls here at Shared Darkness as time and inclination permits. Ergo, this review of Behind Enemy Lines, originally published upon its theatrical release in November of 2001:
Behind Enemy Lines
sails along on the sheer surface thrill of its let’s-play-war hook, a
satisfying piece of giddy-up entertainment that raises a few passing questions
about the American “cowboy mentality” as applied internationally before
ultimately deciding it’s a lot more fun to simply eat your action movie cake
than try to have it too.
Behind Enemy Lines, which angles to be
the official Mountain Dew “X-Treme” entry, does pretty well. Even if the film’s editing and
handheld camerawork seem to often work against each other and jittery techno
music bumps jarringly up against a traditional score by Don Davis, the bullets
whiz around you in glorious Dolby surround sound and things get blowed up good,
with everything building to a satisfying if unrealistic climax.
Another feature debut of an acclaimed commercial director
(in this case John Moore), Behind Enemy
Lines manages to avoid many of the pitfalls of similar bows due mainly to a
well-executed if functional script from David Veloz and punch-up maestro Zak
Penn, who receive screenplay credit on James and John Thomas’ original story.
The narrative, goals and what hangs in the balance are all simple to grasp and
follow; it’s an entertaining case of get-out-of-the-way moviemaking. Of course,
having two pros like Hackman and Wilson certainly doesn’t hurt either. And if
it’s a hint of their chemistry in the upcoming The Royal Tenenbaums, that’s not a bad thing at all. (20th Century
Fox, R, 106 mins.)