Reviewed by: Tim Emmerich
murder in the Bible
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Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Connie Nielsen, Harry Connick Jr., Taye Diggs | Directed by: John McTiernan | Produced by: Mike Medavoy, Lee Nelson, Dror Soref, Michael Tadross | Written by: James Vanderbilt, Cathy Rabin | Distributor: Columbia Tristar
Basic is a gritty murder mystery that attempts to combine action and mystery, but comes up short. As is typical for some war-type movies, there is harsh and foul language throughout—plus plenty of bullets and explosions.
In the jungles of Panama, a training mission for Army Rangers has gone awry. Five members of the team are missing. The two survivors are claiming they are dead, including Sergeant West (Samuel L. Jackson), their training officer. After Captain Julia Osborne’s (Connie Nielsen) investigation hits roadblocks, Tom Hardy (John Travolta) is called in. Hardy is a former Ranger who was trained by Sergeant West and later became an interrogator for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). He recently left law enforcement after allegations of corruption, specifically accused of taking a bribe. Osborne is not happy about having someone else mettle in her investigation, but is ordered to do so by her commanding officer. This adds to the film’s tension.
The visualization of the survivors’ recollections of the activities (providing several renditions of what people thought happened) was probably meant to add suspense, but mostly created confusion.
Offensive content—In addition to much offensive language, violence is heavy. People are shown dying in nasty ways. One of the survivors dies in a particularly ghastly manner. There is lots of blood in this and other scenes. A bare-breasted woman appears in a parade scene. Hardy adjusts his crotch as a way of intimating Osborne. There is lots of alcohol consumption and drugs are apparently involved in the mystery. It is implied that one member of the team is homosexual. Be prepared for lots of bad and disrespectful attitudes.
The only redeeming value of “Basic” is the ending, which leaves viewers rethinking the entire movie. However, from this reviewer’s perspective, Christians should avoid this film.
Violence: Heavy | Profanity: Extreme | Sex/Nudity: Mild