Dalton Ross
July 11, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Basic

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
95 minutes
Wide Release Date
03/28/03
performer
Samuel L. Jackson, Connie Nielsen, John Travolta, Harry Connick Jr., Tim Daly, Cristian de la Fuente, Taye Diggs, Dash Mihok, Giovanni Ribisi, Roselyn Sanchez, Brian Van Holt
director
John McTiernan
distributor
Sony Pictures Entertainment
author
James Vanderbilt
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it a C-

DEA agent Travolta is investigating a military exercise (led by Jackson’s drill sergeant) gone horribly wrong, and he wants answers! But we have a few questions of our own, chiefly: Why rip off Rashomon with several different accounts of the same event if they all end up being not only bogus, but boring, too? Basic’s most basic flaw (yes, even more than Connie Nielsen’s laughable Southern accent) is its lame attempt to generate heat through a series of ”twists” that are as inane as they are implausible. These last-minute switcheroos are a cheap substitute for actual intrigue. EXTRAS Hey, who wants to hear writer James Vanderbilt read passages from his script? Whoa, not all at once now.

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