Behind Enemy Lines: Jurgen Vollmer
Michael Sauter
April 23, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Behind Enemy Lines

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
105 minutes
Wide Release Date
11/30/01
performer
Gene Hackman, Owen Wilson, Joaquim de Almeida, David Keith, Olek Krupa
director
John Moore
distributor
20th Century Fox Film Corporation
author
Zak Penn, Jim Thomas, David Veloz
genre
ActionAdventure, War, Drama

We gave it a C-

”I didn’t want to be a cop in a neighborhood no one cares about,” complains peacekeeping Navy flyboy Chris Burnett (Owen Wilson) just before getting shot down over Bosnia in Behind Enemy Lines. Then the filmmakers show how little they care about their setting by reducing the war-ravaged Balkans to a conveniently violent backdrop for their escapist chase flick. ”Behind Enemy Lines” doesn’t want to make you think. It just wants to keep you pumped.

This, however, is overkill: fast, loud, visually chaotic, with enough obstacle-course escapes and CGI explosions to stoke a videogame. Left with little to do but run, Wilson improbably dodges bullets, tank shells, and land mines en route to a ludicrously over-the-top finale that pits the U.S. military against villainous Serbs. Not content merely to trivialize real events, the movie invents this climactic battle, presumably to give Wilson a chance to look like an action hero. Meanwhile, the people he blows away remain as anonymous as Apaches in a 1950s Western. Who are they? What are they fighting for? Why were we there? Why ask? In a mindless thrill ride like this, such questions couldn’t matter less.

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