Behind Enemy Lines (SE)/ B-, A
Fox/2001/105/ANA 2.35

      After deciding to turn in his Navy commission, Lt. Chris Burnett gets stuck on a holiday mission over war shattered Bosnia. Navigator Burnett and pilot Stackhouse take off from the aircraft carrier on the routine mission, but Burnett's affinity for bending the book gets them into deep trouble.
    Burnett winds up in the middle of a forest crawling with hostiles. His commander has to get him home. The Bosnians want to eradicate him. What's a guy to do?  See Burnett run. Run, Burnett, run. That's a lot of the plot. Burnett has to run through a trip-wired minefield, he has to high foot it through multiple barrages of bullets, through open fields and between the trees. This is one running movie. The lone assassin is one cool trigger man, relentless in pursuit.

Run, Burnett, Run. ©Fox

    Owen Wilson is the fleet-footed Burnett. Think about the rapid rise of Owen Wilson in the film world: A couple of years a go he was co-star and co-author of a little Indie film Bottle Rocket and now he's running around playing soldier, avoiding rockets, in a major Hollywood action flick, not to mention an assortment of comic excursions from Meet the Parents to Zoolander. Wilson's flying high, but he has yet to prove he can deliver a serious performance. He's adequate as Burnett, but he's just a running man. At least he gets Gene Hackman for his commander. Hackman can be such a convincing actor. When Hackman's Admiral Leslie Reigart laces into  Burnett, you have no doubts about his conviction. He's not a static actor. You can read behind they eyes. He's a thinking actor.  But Behind Enemy Lines isn't much about acting or thinking. Hackman's Reigart never shows the same fire as that initial confrontation, and Wilson, charming as always, merely is on hand to exercise his running chops.
    Director John Moore is more than capable of delivering a variety of pyrotechnics with explosive effectiveness. The production elements are first rate.  Cinematography is excellent with some effective lighting choices. The blue lighting in the carrier control room sequences adds nice ambiance. The SAM attack is delivered with maximum excitement through fine editing. Man, dig those evasive maneuvers. The film fails short, however, by failing to maintain a heart-quickening pace. In fact, the flick's engine grinds to stop and go mode as it nears the end rather than letting it all hang out.
     Behind Enemy Lines
is often breathtaking in its visual beauty and thundering sound. The color is lush and accurate. The color space is well controlled with excellent color depth.  Check out the detail and color combination of the insignia that the pilot's wear for some reference viewing. Very nice range of flesh tones. Detail is consistently fully resolved. It's a very handsome transfer. Black levels and shadow detail are well handled. Very three-dimensional look. There's no hint of edginess despite the excellent sharpness. This is reference territory all right. DTS surround sound is very open. This is one aggressive encoding job. It effectively transforms the home theater into a battle zone. The side to side and front to rear pans during the SAM attack are terrific. There's some tight bass thwomping.
     Fox has packaged Behind Enemy Lines with special edition armor plating including two full-length commentaries, one with director John Moore and editor Martin Smith, and a second with producers John Davis and Wyck Godfrey. Also included are a behind the scenes documentary and deleted/extended scenes with or without commentary.


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