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With: Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman, Joaquim de Almeida, David Keith, Olek Krupa, Gabriel Macht, Vladimir Maskov
Written by: Zak Penn, David Veloz, based on a story by John Thomas, James Thomas
Directed by: John Moore
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for war violence and some language
Running Time: 106
Date: 11/17/2001

Behind Enemy Lines (2001)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Bore Games

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Based very loosely on a real-life event (so loosely that it's not even mentioned in the press materials), Owen Wilson plays a cocky Navy pilot who flies over Bosnia, finds some unauthorized military activity and photographs it. He's subsequently shot down and must survive several days in the woods, waiting for our boys to come pick him up. Gene Hackman plays the admiral with his hands tied because an evil NATO commander (Joaquim de Almeida) thinks it would be bad to send in a rescue mission. Meanwhile, a Serbian tracker trails Wilson and catches up to him a lot -- but fortunately he's a lousy shot and can't hit the broad side of a barn. Wilson does a fine job here, but he's an actor whose best asset is his line readings and he's miscast in a mostly silent part. Director John Moore's camera then swirls around Wilson's head dozens of times, clearly imitating the pyrotechnics of Saving Private Ryan and the ironic, America-influenced look at other countries lifted from Three Kings. Some of the exciting set pieces work extremely well, but the basic story here (the real thing notwithstanding) is just plain dumb.

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