WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A DEA officer (Travolta) teams up with an army investigating officer (Nielsen) to piece together what led to the disappearance of a U.S. Army drill instructor (Jackson) and some of his men on a routine mission. Many versions of what transpired on that fateful night are spit out over the next 99 minutes until the exciting conclusion at which point you will most likely just ask yourself why you didn't rent FACE/OFF instead!
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Once talented director John McTiernan (PREDATOR/DIE HARD) continues his streak of lousy movies (the abominable remakes of THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR and ROLLERBALL) with his latest generic offering: BASIC. I like a fun, intelligent twist more than the next guy (THE USUAL SUSPECTS, THE SIXTH SENSE), but this movie had so many false endings and improbable twists that it all turned into one big joke by the end with the viewer serving as the punch-line. It's one of those movies that will have you saying ďGimme a break!Ē back to your screen on more than one occasion. In fact, I ultimately began to expect every nail in this coffin to be phony and what began as a somewhat entertaining and involving whodunit turned into me wondering what kind of green the three stars were paid to overlook the embarrassingly forced turns the story took near the end of this awful script. Note to the screenwriter: It is not enough to just have a twist in your movie, make it a believable and intelligent one and if at all possible try to keep it to a minimum of 35...sheeeesh!!
Jackson and Travolta arenít saints. LUCKY NUMBERS, RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE and XXX are proof enough that these cats will sometimes do a movie regardless of how lame the script is. Iím a fan of both these badasses, but this shit I cannot forgive! Guilty as charged. The crime? Not caring about your die-hard fans and making a film beneath your talents and intelligence. Connie Nielsenís southern accent is also about as convincing as my best Connery impression and itís obvious this cutie is taking advantage of being on the ďit-listĒ but I guess I can't really blame her for signing on to do a movie with Shaft and Vincent Vega, although her stock will surely plummet if she keeps participating in junk like this. Same goes for Taye Diggs and Giovanni Ribisi. I give the movie minor points for having my favorite ex-Wings/Diner star Tim Daly go a few rounds, giving me an enjoyable last few minutes and for being 99 minutes short.
Director John McTiernan delivers one of the most boring and slowly paced commentaries Iíve ever been unlucky enough to listen to, but adds to the pain by allowing lots of dead time between his comments. Trust me...donít listen to his commentary...it will just annoy you! Next up, is a featurette called: Basic Ingredients: A Writerís Perspective. The screenwriter of this masterpiece, James Vanderbilt, shares with us his thoughts on the film and his ideas for the script in a seemingly endless 16 minutes. This cocky son of a bitch frustrated the hell out of me as he spoke about his script like it was CITIZEN KANE. The next featurette, Basic: A Directorís Design, made me sick to my stomach. Everybody (actors, producer, director, screenwriter, etc.) pipes in on their own impressions of this dud for a long 20 minutes. Youíve all seen this type of extra feature where the whole cast and crew fall all over themselves praising the movie. I didnít like the movie so understandably I felt their comments were phonier than my Friday night pick up lines. If you end up liking this mess, you might enjoy their enthusiasm for the finished product. Tack on some trailers and some filmographies and youíve got yourself a DVD.
What can I say that I haven't already? How about...the movie blows more than Richard Simmons in San Francisco? I had the pleasure of watching NARC right after seeing this rubbish and implore you to rent that instead; itís got more believability and integrity on its DVD cover alone than BASIC contains in its entirety. Forgive me if I sound pissed, Iím just sick and tired of being jerked around by movies with big stars, big budgets and even bigger plot holes and so should you. If I want a jerk, Iíll watch a movie with big tits, thank youÖ