A movie starring names like John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson you think would deliver something more. I thought this would be a solid military thriller that would bring some decent action and story to the audience. While the film did have some action, a story, and varied characters, what was left was a contrived piece of film that didn’t reveal itself until the final few minutes of runtime in which I was relieved it was finally over. Deception prevails. Not just in the film’s storyline but for the audience as well.
I’m not sure what writer James Vanderbilt was trying to accomplish. I suppose it was an attempt to intrigue and entertain the audience, but this audience was not amused. It had a decent set up and got the story going into the second act but then slowly unraveled until the final, even more confusing (for lack of a better word), third act. The movie’s direction seemed instinctive, based on the material presented in the script, but director John McTiernan failed to give it any real life.
I don’t even want to attempt to give a synopsis or give away any plot, as I do not want to confuse myself or the reader. That is not to say I am easily confused, but as the story kept unfolding and revealed twist after twist, I became disengaged from the film. And then I found myself just waiting for the final act to complete so I could put away the madness. Maybe some people are entertained by that sort of thing. However, I like some plot twists and turns as much as the next eager movie-goer, but when it seems to go on and on as in this film, it just sort of takes me out. I mean it seemed like most of the second act had several surprising twists. And this went right on in through the third act.
The performances were nothing extraordinary, but catered to the needs of the film. Travolta played his character with energy and charisma as a DEA investigator. Jackson gave his usual commanding, foul-mouthed, performance as a military sergeant. Connie Nielsen, Tim Daly, Harry Connick, Jr., Giovanni Ribisi, Brian Van Holt, Taye Diggs, Dash Mihok, Cristian de la Fuente, and Roselyn Sanchez round out the main cast and played their respective roles well, but there just didn’t appear to be anything that made these characters really stand out and care for what happened to them.
I gave it my best. Basic was released in 2003. I first saw this film maybe a year or so after it was released. I recently came across it and thought I would give it another viewing. I remember it having some twists in it but not like this. If I were to view the film again and again, there might be some subtle hints to piece together the story and plot, but I don’t think I could sit through another take on it. Most likely if it didn’t really catch my interest to begin with, then it would be likely it wouldn’t catch my interest for a third or fourth time. Even with the charisma and energy from the actors, seemingly confident production team, and experienced director, the film fell into a huge mess of a storm like the hurricane depicted in the film.