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Review: Behind Enemy Lines

Now that Dubya’s in control, a post-9/11 Hollywood is raring to tickle the president’s cave fetish.

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Behind Enemy Lines
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Now that Dubya’s in control, a post-9/11 Hollywood is raring to tickle the president’s cave fetish. Behind Enemy Lines is timely propaganda for our wounded nation, a video game paean to America’s cave-smoking fly boys. Owen Wilson, wearing more foundation than Zoolander, plays an uppity officer uncomfortably situated somewhere between cocky and stoic. He’s an awkward comedian, a selfish recruit and a shameless victim to director John Moore’s egregiously tight framing. Gene Hackman’s Reigart gives Wilson’s Burnett the moral beat-down, set to screwy eye-lines and Don Davis’s self-important score. Once his jet is struck somewhere over Bosnia’s no-fly zone, Burnett is left to wait for “Big Mother” somewhere in the “Sweet Spot” while trying to dodge an Adidas-loving Serb who’s hot on his tracks. Once Reigart’s problem child turns into the son he never had, father dearest comes to blows with Joaquim De Almedia’s Piquet. Of the spraying-it-not-saying-it kind, Piquet opts for favorable NATO treaties rather than saving one of America’s good ol’ boys. Behind Enemy Line is a no-brainer when it comes to international politics. As if written by the commando-loving dudes who just bought Bosnia/Herzegovina for Dummies, the film is all about the moustache-twirling Serbs and the “yeah-right” video technology that America implements from their ready-to-spy satellites. As Burnett enters the various stages of Moore’s efficiently brain-numbing Playstation excursion, he must negotiate unexplained Bosnian girl laughter and tripwire explosives. After meeting up with a bunch of Coca-Cola drinking, hip-hop loving rebels (the East Coast/West Coast feuds hit close to home), Burnett shows off his MacGyver skills before a Guadalupe-style statue with scars on her face. Behind Enemy Lines is so effective as chest-beating nationalism you might forgive the filmmakers for offensively turning a Bosnian grave site into a whacky set piece. Far form reaching its expiration date, this brand of neo-propaganda phooey says all it has to say on the carcass of Burnett’s burning jet: Made in the USA.

Cast: Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman, Joaquim De Almeida, David Keith, Olek Krupa, Gabriel Macht, Charles Malik Whitfield, Vladimir Mashkov Director: John Moore Screenwriter: Zak Penn, David Veloz Distributor: 20th Century Fox Running Time: 105 min Rating: R Year: 2001 Buy: Video

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