Volume 95, Issue 52

Tuesday, December 4, 2001
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The Grand Miracle

Let's Go hits New PL

Mo knows phunny

Flag-waving stupidity

Flag-waving stupidity

Behind Enemy Lines
Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman
Directed By: John Moore
One star (out of five)

By Aaron St. John
Gazette Staff

Given the world's present situation, you might think the producers of Behind Enemy Lines would decide to hold off on the film's release.

After seeing the film, viewers will be left with the same feeling, but for different reasons. It's not that Behind Enemy Lines is too realistic or that its plot hits too close to home, but throughout the film, the American soldiers come off as poorly trained and incredibly stupid.

Lieutenant Chris Burnett (Owen Wilson) is a United States Navy pilot shot down during a Christmas Day reconnaissance mission over Serbia. He spends the film running from the Serbs long enough for his crewmates to rescue him.

Gene Hackman is Admiral Reigart, Burnett's commander, who desperately wants to save his pilot.

From the very beginning, Lines is dead in the water. Instead of attempting to present the audience with something new – every cliché in the book is trotted out.

Although first-time feature film director John Moore manipulates the film stock to produce some unorthodox shots, he clearly doesn't possess enough skill to pull off an entire film. Moore isn't able to stay focused for longer than 30 seconds, which makes tying together a 90-minute feature difficult.

Further proof of Moore's ineptitude is his inability to get solid performances out of two reliable actors. Though Wilson certainly made a few bad movies in the past, never before has he been this bad. He is unbelievable, coming off unconcerned when he should be scared and scared when he's supposed to be heroic.

Likewise, two-time Academy Award winner Gene Hackman's talent is wasted. Admiral Reigart is a stale cardboard cutout more than a character, but part of the blame falls on Zak Penn's screenplay.

Behind Enemy Lines is obviously intended to be a flag-waving, patriotic picture, but its sheer stupidity and lack of originality reduces it to something else entirely – a portrayal of the American military that isn't likely the kind of thing the U.S. government wants shown right now.

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