Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman
| Directed By :
In Owen Wilson's last scene on screen, closure is granted
his story with a caption that reads "Chris Burnett stayed
in the Navy". This did little to enrich my overall feeling
for the movie, and I found myself saying "Oh yeah, he wanted
to quit." Behind Enemy Lines is a war movie focused
around one guy, but the problem here is that nobody really
cares about him.
Owen Wilson plays Chris Burnett, a Navy soldier whose personality
can best be described as, well, Owen Wilson. He kinda has
the same likable hesitance in his voice that Topher Grace
(Eric from That 70s Show) has. Problem is, that makes
him really hard to take seriously. Seeing as he's running
for his life most of the movie, that's something that really
needs to be done, especially since he's onscreen almost the
whole time. There are no subplots here. No underlying message
is given, and there's not even a moving score to tell you
when you should be feeling proud.
That was my main problem. Dramas that work for me are dramas
that stir my emotions. There's a neat little twist at the
end of the movie where Burnett basically gets left behind
in Bosnia. I liked that ending. I kept thinking of dramatic
ways they could kill him that would end the movie with a tear
in my eye. This is attributed to the fact that I really didn't
care what happened to him, and I wanted this movie to end
with a surprise, like the ending we didn't expect. It's the
same as when you hope the team in your sports movie will lose,
just to shock you. Well, it almost happened, but then it didn't.
While I was pleased to see America wax some Europeans, even
that scene was ruined (in my opinion) with the really crappy
music as the helicopters flew the heroine home.
There's more. Gene Hackman sits in the aircraft carrier waiting
to do something, but he's not even entertaining in his impatience.
The reasons for not doing anything just kind of resurface
whenever the audience forgets why nobody's getting Burnett
RIGHT NOW. Stackhouse, the first casualty, dies before
you even know his first name, or anything about him. To me,
the death just happened so Owen Wilson could run around by
himself like on the movie trailers. I guess it was to show
the Bosnian brutality, but if we don't care about the guy
they killed, it doesn't help much.
That's the problem with this movie. Everything is done with
no emotion. It's hard to take Owen Wilson seriously, and while
I was glad it wasn't a blockbuster dramatic actor in this
role (i.e. Hanks or Gibson), I would have liked someone who
could be pitied.
Then there's the music. It mixes from unnecessary rock songs
to techno to Hans Zimmer-like scores to some Bob Dylan-esque
songs, and none of them seem to fit. There are many scenes
with the computers that are cool, and the techno music gives
Owen Wilson's constant running (that's really all he does)
a funky vibe. But his situation isn't really meant to be cool
. . . and it doesn't work.
All in all, this is a mediocre movie that, in the right hands,
could have been really great. But it was so simple there was
nothing to feel and nobody to feel for. It just moved from
Point A to Point B - ironic since Owen Wilson actually goes
in a full circle, and that doesn't work for me. Big ups to
the potential, the thumbs down to the result.