2003 · Columbia Pictures
Basic — Movie Review by Karthik
8 out of 10
Directing Credits
John McTiernan
Writing Credits
Written by James Vanderbilt
John Travolta, Connie Nielsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Daly, Giovanni Ribisi, Brian Van Holt

The Review

Six US Rangers, under the command of Sergeant West (Samuel L. Jackson) begin a training mission in the Panama jungles.  Seventeen hours later, the mission appears to have gone horribly wrong — West, who was pretty much universally hated by the Rangers, has been killed, and so have four of the Rangers themselves.  Dunbar (Brian Van Holt) and Kendall (Giovanni Ribisi) are the survivors, who are brought back to base.  Having suffered severe wounds, Kendall is hospitalised, and Dunbar is taken in for questioning at the base.

Dunbar is interrogated by Captain Julia Osborne (Connie Nielsen), but he refuses to divulge any information to her, instead indicating that he would talk only to a fellow Ranger.  Col. Styles (Tim Daly) therefore brings in seasoned ex-Ranger Tom Hardy (John Travolta).  Hardy is with the DEA but currently under suspicion of bribery.

Hardy and Osborne interrogate Dunbar and Kendall, and each time, get a different version of the events that happened.  It's up to them to unravel the different "degrees of truth" and get to the bottom of things.

This is an interesting military thriller that offers plenty of twists in the plot before its conclusion.  This makes the movie somewhat overly convoluted though, and the first time I watched it, I wasn't sure everything connected back well in retrospect!  However, on a second viewing, it's easier to take.  Anyway, the film is efficiently directed by John McTiernan (Die Hard, Predator), who keeps things moving at a quick pace, makes good use of the actors and characters, and utilises the "stormy weather" setting to add style to the film.  Travolta seems to be enjoying himself, and in the few scenes that he appears (mostly flashbacks), Samuel L. Jackson definitely makes an impression as the merciless Sergeant.  This is a well done movie, definitely worth a watch.

Other Notes

Travolta's character has a line in this film, "Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke" — which was also used in his 1996 film Broken Arrow.

More Details

Running Time: 98 minutes | Country: US | Genre: Mystery/Military/Thriller

Ratings Info

I rate all movies or game add-ons on a scale of 1 to 10 points.  1 is the lowest score, 6 is barely above average, 8 is good, and 10 is excellent (this score doesn't indicate something that is perfect in every way — it just means that I enjoyed it a lot).  You'll find that I tend to give ratings of 8 and above often (that's only because I enjoy whatever I'm reviewing!).  Reviews are updated as felt necessary.  Of course, everything said in these reviews is my humble opinion only.
Review Date 13 Sep 06
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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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