The ad for Basic
quotes a reviewer (Earl Bittman, Wireless Magazine, Houston) as saying,
“Samuel L. Jackson turns in a phenomenally ruthless and devilishly
delightful performance.” When
you consider that Jackson has, at best, 15 lines in the entire movie, and
that’s the best thing a reviewer can say about the entire film, you should
get the idea. Jackson is in the opening sequence and he’s in the end with
a few scenes in the middle. He’s
forgettable, at best, and, to give Bittman credit, a forgettable performance
exceeds the quality of this movie.
apparently about a squad of trainees dropped into a jungle in the middle of
a hurricane. Bad things happen
and when they are picked up, several are dead, killed by their comrades.
John Travolta, a civilian, is called in to investigate.
The story is then told in a Rashomon-like fashion with two of the
survivors telling their story in flashback, both of which are predictably
inconsistent. The problem is
that the film doesn’t establish the identities of the characters before
the investigation begins so the audience has no idea who they’re talking
about when they refer to Styles or Dunbar or Pike or Kendall or Meuller.
As a result the telling of the story is total confusion.
I have little
doubt that if you make the misguided decision to go to this you will not
have any idea what’s going on because the script is so convoluted it’s
beyond comprehension. The
ending is the worst, non-sequitor ending of a movie since The Spanish
Prisoner. It renders what came
before nonsensical. You exit
the theater saying to yourself, “I sat through this for THAT?”
In fact, I’ll
end this review with another quote from the ad, this one from Mairianna
Bachynsky, ATV/CTV Entertainment, “… a twist you won’t believe.”
That’s for sure.
April 1, 2003