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Anything But Basic...
MovieAddict201616 July 2003
"Basic" takes a lot of plot twists through the steamy jungles of Panama. They are often impossible to follow. No, literally. Impossible. As in they literally do not piece together. You can try to analyze them, but when you do, you find out there is nothing really to be analyzed. But the film, by confusing and tricking the audience, makes it appear as if something is there, which is almost as good as if something really is there. Therefore, the movie, though frustratingly difficult to follow at times, is entertaining. Confused yet? Yeah, that's what the movie will make you feel like.

The film opens up in a rain-drenched Panama jungle at night on an Army training mission headed by Sergeant West (Samuel L. Jackson). Most of the film--ALL of the film, for that matter--takes place at night, during a rainy hurricane, and adds to the nonexistant plot. What is so intriguing is that the plot isn't really there, but the writer tries to manifest one, and we feel as if we are staring at some nonexistant, material wad of words and flashbacks and images thrown together in a blender, the writer hoping for it to come out smelling of roses. But I already went over that, didn't I?

Flash forward to the next day. An Army chopper picks up two men from the training mission, one injured and one very much alive. The injured man, Kendall (Giovanni Ribisi), is sent to a hospital, and the alive man, Dunbar (Brian Van Holt) is sent in for questioning by the very sexy and very Southern Osborne (Connie Nielsen). Dunbar refuses to speak to anyone except a Ranger. So in comes Ranger Tom Hardy (John Travolta) to piece together the events surrounding the death of Sgt. West and his team.

The writer of "Basic," James Vanderbilt, has so many twists and turns that the film is impossible to keep up with. I like movies like these, where you see different characters telling their version of one event, but the mistake Vanderbilt makes is that he overuses the plot flashbacks in the middle of other events. It becomes hard to seperate present from past and what's real from what's not. So many revelations happen that I feel like I'm in the middle of the writer's mind, as he comes up with new ideas and tries to squeeze them in time after time after time. There is a limit to how many times you can use "surprise" revelation endings. Vanderbilt uses three of four in a row, piled on top of each other, time after time after time. Just as we think the plot twists are done, and we start to smile because we think we might finally understand the basis of the plot, something else happens, and we zoom in suspensefully on John Travolta's face as he, along with the audience, realizes something. Which leads me to something else.

The end of the film leaves more open than concluded. So many plot holes are never ironed out. With the ending being the way it is, you can look back at certain events and think, "Why did that surprise (so-and-so)," and "Why did that event happen as it pays no relevancy to the plot?" The answer to all this? Simple: It's called audience manipulation, and James Vanderbilt uses it a lot. He throws the audience a bone to keep them happy, continues with something else, throws another bone, and when it's all done and over, we're choking on all these bones and he doesn't realize it. Interesting how he said he named his character Tom Hardy after the Hardy Boys. If I recall, the Hardy Boy novels, which I was an avid reader of at one time, usually revealed a lot at the end. "Basic" tries to, but does not.

The film has an excellent director at its helm, John McTiernan. A man who chooses his projects carefully and wisely and, unfortunately, sometimes horribly ("Rollerball" was exceptionally bad). But "Die Hard" and "Predator" are two of my all-time favorite action films, "Predator" being my all-time favorite "alien" movie. Who wants McTiernan to return to his roots and film a "Predator 3"? It would be good, but don't count on it. Like I said, he chooses wisely, and if I assume correctly, he's the kind of director who doesn't like to return to old projects.

"Basic" confused me, but after the film was over and my mind was in a knot trying to figure out all the different plot twists, I realized how much fun I had being duped by this film. I laughed to myself as I came to realize that this movie has a paper-thin plot, and the filmmakers all tricked us by taking so many twists and turns and throwing so many confusion bones at the audience and making us believe that the underlying plot of the film was something deep. I really enjoyed this movie, even if I still don't really understand it fully. Then again, I don't think you're really supposed to.

3.5/5 stars -
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Mixed feelings about a confusing premise...
Dr_Sagan29 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this movie back in 2004 and I liked it (or so I thought).

After a few years I had the opportunity to watch it again. The strange thing was, although I remembered how it ends, I couldn't find a logical path of what happens in the movie and what was true and what wasn't.

Today (June of 2016), after I watched Connie Nielsen in another movie, I remembered the existence of "Basic" (and how she looked good with her short blond hair and the uniform) and I sought it to watch it, but again, although I remembered the last couple of scenes and the resolution of the film, I still couldn't remembered how the plot evolves.

What I'm saying is that the movie is incoherent and the narrative is (purposely I guess, to give a sense of continuous twists) confusing. I also find it less satisfying in todays standards despite the obvious chemistry between John Travolta and Connie Nielsen.

To realize how confusing the plot is, take a look at the contents in Wikipedia. Usually in a movie, there is a "Plot" section with a summary or a more detailed description of the plot. Here you have ...subsections of the plot as follows:

1.1 Dunbar's story

1.2 Kendall's story

1.3 Dunbar's second story

1.4 Kendall's second story

1.5 Pike's final explanation

1.6 Final twist and explanation

I don't recall any other movie to have such a structure in its topic in Wikipedia!!

The thing is you are trying to follow what is happening (especially in the first viewing) and you even might have a suspicion about who the actual bad guy is, but the convulsive script combined with John McTiernan's erratic direction, have as a result a movie that is ultimately confusing.

If you see it superficially you will probably enjoy it. Travolta's character has an attitude of a "know-it-all" maverick investigator, Connie Nielsen looks really good, and the end is designed to think of it as rewarding and satisfying.

But if you look more closely and give it a second thought you will see clearly that this movie is more like a disappointment.

**P.S.: The atmosphere and the theme of the movie, plus the similar lead role of Travolta, but with Madeleine Stowe instead of Connie Nielsen, reminded me of The General's Daughter (1999). A better movie if you ask me.
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Fascinating mystery with fine performances!
yossarian10020 December 2003
Man, I can't believe I almost overlooked this because the major film critics panned it. Basic is seriously good and the kind of mystery/suspense story I don't see anywhere near enough of. I enjoyed every minute of this movie. I couldn't figure it out and was surprised at the end. For me, it doesn't get much better in the entertainment department than a movie like Basic. John Travolta does what John Travolta does best, playing a wise guy better than anyone, and Connie Nielsen delivers a great little performance and she's hot to boot. This movie has an amazing number of plot twists and the pacing is quick so try to keep up with it. I loved it!
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Strong, Original, Entertaining
ReelCheese2 September 2007
Tagged by many critics as overly predictable despite trying to be the complete opposite, BASIC is nevertheless a strong, original and entertaining film.

The cast, from big names John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson to lesser-knowns Connie Nielsen and Taye Diggs, ably unravels the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a reviled army sergeant during a hardcore training outing. The episode is recounted in as many ways by as many witnesses, an interesting method that has worked so well in other films such as COURAGE UNDER FIRE. It may all seem confusing at first, but gifted director John McTiernan gradually weaves everything together, though perhaps not as seamlessly as one would ideally prefer.

BASIC is not without its flaws, but they are not as glaring as one might think from professional reviews, or even many of the comments on this website. Its originality is welcome at a time when so many films follow the same cookie-cutter formula.
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it could have been real good but...
icemanrr20 May 2005
now a days, you see a movie and in the middle of it, you already know the ending, so it's really refreshing to see that 'basic' defies that! i was really having a blast, was loving it, and when the end came i was blown away, but for only one second, because then the brain kicked in, and realize that the plot was wrong, didn't made sense! there were so many twists (and i love that in a movie) that even the editors got confused, if that ending was meant to be, than there were things that happened earlier on, that don't make sense, that are just wrong.

despite all that i liked the movie, i enjoyed't when i was watching and even more when i came out of the theater room and debated with my friends, trying to make sense on why some scenes happened, i bought the DVD only to get to the sad conclusion that i was right and there's something wrong with the story. if only the story would have matched, it would be, one of my favorite action movies!
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Not a tight enough film to handle all the twists it wants to do
bob the moo15 February 2004
Infamously cruel Sergeant West takes his unit into the Panama jungle on a training exercise. Two days later two of his men return and report the rest dead. When the base investigator makes no process, the base commander calls in shamed DEA agent Hardy. The investigation continues well with both of the two men telling their stories, however Hardy finds that the stories contradict themselves and that the truth is much, much more complex than first appeared.

For the majority of this film everything goes the way you expect it to, but yet it all still works reasonably well. The plot twists in several ways as each contradiction brings out a bit more truth in the overall tale. It is filled with dramatic interrogation scenes which, although clichéd, do still serve to be reasonably gripping. However at some point, and I can't say exactly when it happens, the sheer volume of twists and the leaps we are expected to make simply become too much for the quality of the material and it more or less collapses in on itself.

It isn't that the twists are too much of a stretch, it's that they are too much of a stretch for this film. Usual Suspects has massive twists that bewilder and require big jumps, but that had the acting and script to back it up. Here the same isn't true, the script doesn't do a good enough job of gradually revealing a story to us just to twist it; instead it just seems to be constantly changing the foundations to the point that I felt I was on quick sand rather than a base where the walls kept moving (if you get my meaning). What I'm saying is that the story didn't set itself up well enough to provide killer twists, instead it was constantly pulling small then bigger twist after twist - to the point where I was expecting the next one before it arrived. Not to unfairly compare, but Usual Suspects gradually added layers rather than twists as it builds to a climax. Basic just keeps twisting but eventually gets to the point where it overstretches itself and the twists lose their impact.

The dramatic tone suffers for this reason and, after a good start it all too quickly loses it's impact. Travolta tries hard and for the most part he does OK, but his slick character loses it towards the end, and his final `winks' are not easy to understand. I got the feeling that he didn't understand his character anymore that I did. Jackson gives a better performance in flashback although his character is pretty much a basic sergeant-major cliché, until the ending goes and ruins a fair amount of what he had done up till that point. Nielsen is pretty good but gives a masculine performance in a masculine film. The support cast is actually pretty good although Ribisi damaged his reputation with me by doing some sort of weak effeminate spoof character. Diggs, Holt, Daly and Sanchez all do pretty well and their solid flashback sequences help the interrogation to be more dramatic.

Overall this film is too twisty and some of them really demand jumps that are just not made possible by a script that doesn't do enough to help the audience out. It still manages to be pretty dramatic and enjoyable for at least the first half, but the final third demands too much and twists too much for the material to cope with. Not as awful as other reviews lead me to expect but it collapses alarmingly fast towards the end.
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Full of Twists - And yes they work pretty well too!
mjw230523 December 2006
Basic engages your attention pretty early on and keeps you guessing throughout with the twists and turns in the storyline and its refreshingly unexpected ending.

As you would expect Travolta and Jackson are both superb, as is Connie Neilson. The characters build well, the writing is very solid, and the story is quite original.

All in all 'Basic' is a good thriller that is a little complex and confusing for the casual movie fan.

Definitely worth watching, but not a classic

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I liked it...
x111b382522 February 2004
There's a whole lot of deep analysis going on here, but in the end, since so many others have analyzed this to death, I would recommend just watching it with an open mind and seeing if you find it entertaining.

I thought it original to a point, well acted out, and while predictable on a couple points, for the most part, leaving me wondering when we would find out the absolute truth of what the heck was going on...

Maybe later I will put something more in depth here, but for now, beware of the critics and their "plot holes," because in the end, aside from a couple very small glitches, this was pretty well done.
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Interesting and exciting film with good interpretation by John Travolta
ma-cortes28 October 2004
The movie deals upon a commando of brave soldiers . During the training , the sergeant (Samuel L. Jackson) is killed . A previously soldier and now DEA agent (John Travolta) has to solve who is the killer . He investigates the disappearance of a legendary Army ranger drill sergeant and several of his cadets during a training exercise gone severely awry . He's helped by an officer (Connie Nielsen) . They will have to face off difficult enigmas until to find out the truth .

The picture blends action , suspense , whodunit , thriller , emotions and is pretty entertaining . The flick is tense and mysterious from the beginning till ending and is neither boring , nor dull but entertaining . The screenplay of the film has a twisted plot and the final gets an extraordinary surprise . Runtime film is overlong but is fast-moving and for that reason is amusing . The movie is similar to classic ¨Rashomon¨ (by Akira Kurosawa) and ¨The Outrage¨ (by Martin Ritt) , regarding deeds since various points of sight as people explain them . Every time the story of the bunker is retold , each person has a different partner . Interpretation by John Travolta is top-notch likeness to Connie Nielsen . Samuel L. Jackson's acting is limited , he has a secondary but excellent role . Direction by John McTiernan is outstanding and stunning . The picture will appeal to mystery enthusiasts and suspense lovers . Rating : 7/10 above average. Well worth watching.
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Runaway Third Act
danfeit2 September 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Despite all the horrible reviews written of "Basic," I decided to give it a chance as a rental because director John McTiernan has made several of my favorite movies. Admittedly, I haven't seen a good one of his since "Thomas Crown Affair" (a remake), but I hoped "Basic" would work on some enjoyable level.

It starts off quite well. John Travolta and Connie Nielsen are investigating a murderous incident at an Army base, and both of their witnesses are untrustworthy. Their stories go back and forth, eventually painting a picture of what "really" happened. It's all been done before, I suppose, but it's fun to watch.

Unfortunately, the movie derails late in the picture. After what seems like a perfectly good ending (I won't elaborate, but you'll see), the movie just keeps going. All of a sudden what "really" happened was fake, here's what "really" happened, or did it? The conclusion of the film is an absurd reversal of (nearly) every premise of the film. I half expected one of the characters to reveal themselves to be an alien or a vampire or some other Tales From the Crypt/Twilight Zone nonsense ending.

Much like "The Recruit," the script doesn't know when to quit with all the reversing. Thanks to the masterpiece film, "The Usual Suspects," now every dopey mystery has to have "the big surprise." And you can do that once, maybe twice in a story. But you can't press that "reset button" five or six times! If I spend 90 minutes watching a film, I've got to know that at least part of that story "really happened." You can't wash it all away with "that guy was lying." No wonder Entertainment Weekly titled their review "Trashomon."

P.S. If you watch the film on DVD, there is a really funny extra segment with the screenwriter. Besides reading his own writing on camera, he explains with incredible arrogance how original his story and characters were. So pompous it's hilarious!
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Twist -- and twist again -- and yet again
FussyFan120 July 2003
This film really had me going. Intriguing mystery, a hybrid of Courage Under Fire and General's Daughter -- but that was okay. The film was working and that's what counts. Unfortunately, the plot line took two turns that dropped my satisfaction by three rating points. The second to last twist was telegraphed, trite, and so weakly justified that it didn't work. The final twist left me speachless with unanswered questions. Too bad the writer and director didn't spend more time on wrap up explanation and less time unraveling the multiple views of truth.
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Scrambled Mess!
red443 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
*Spoilers Herein...

Well, all I can say is that the studio had a barefaced cheek to release this rancid monstrosity of film-making on a paying public. The ridiculous number of plot twist scenarios became tiresome very quickly and I got to the stage where I thought I must have been having a bad dream because there is no way I could actually be sitting in a cinema watching this convoluted dogs dinner of a movie. James Vanderbilt, the screenwriter, must have bamboozled himself dizzy writing this guff. And don't think the rest of you are getting off that lightly either - I'm pointing my finger at everyone involved here - McTiernan, Travolta, Jackson et al. Experienced filmmakers all cocking up big style, and it's all up there on the big silver screen for you to see, if, like me, you're foolish enough to pay to see it. Oh, and let us not forget the smug ending - we're so clever - no, you're not! Maybe my brain was scrambled (with rage) by that point but I believe the ending even hinted at some potential action adventure sequel based around the antics of the elite 'section 8' team. Now, if the filmmakers really did have a sequel in mind then maybe they should all be sectioned themselves because they must be mad! Scrambled brain anyone?
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Still shaking my head...
chet1928 July 2003
I'm still shaking my heads hours after seeing this lousy movie. First of all, the acting was great. End of compliments. It's one of those movies where something mysterious happens. By way of flashback, we see one soldier's version of the story, and then another soldier's. But then Soldier #1 changes his story to defend himself against what #2 had said. The writer/director at this point hope to get you to go, "Hmmmm, now THIS is getting interesting. I wonder what REALLY happened out there?" At this point, you really do wonder. But then both soldiers change their stories, they implicate a doctor who tells (then changes) HIS story. They implicate a colonel who tells(then changes) his story. Then both soldiers, for the 42nd time, change their stories. By this point, you'll be like "Who the hell cares what happens." You'll no longer just won't care. It's a good thing that you don't care what happens, because the ending makes no sense whatsoever.
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Basic Brilliance
buzznzipp199521 October 2009
From the start, there is a strange and combing feeling of the story unfolding. The military, a hard core training tool for those about to go to war or even make it in peace-time. It is hard, it is cold, it is calculated, of course. If it weren't we would have been over taken by some foreign government long ago. Not to say that, that isn't what is slowly happening now...don't get me started. I watched in slow amazement as Samuel's character took flight after the interview with the young soldier, started. John reminds me a little of his role in The General's Daughter, but then it clears a sort of different pathway. I enjoyed watching the elements of the story take place and then seemingly change direction, to a certain extent. Definitely a good paced action and thought provoking military story that leads you and keeps you from any stretch of 'Boredom'.

This was one of those "I watched it but I could enjoy it again." Type features where, just once is not all. You can learn something new if your mind is in a 'discovery' mode.

Some films... once you know what has happened, people tend to think "I've already seen it." But yet, there are stories like this that just take you by surprise.

And for me that is what it is all about. Good actors of course can do, but it is all involved with the writing and direction and I love this director's brain. I met Samuel L Jackson in L.A. gassing up his Lincoln Navigator, he was dressed in black leather attire very impressive man. I enjoyed that.

Another great John McTeirnan directed piece, that has brilliant performances and a smart script.

Recommended (****) Highly.
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Not the best movie in the genre, but it could have been a lot worse
philip_vanderveken19 July 2005
Even though I had some doubts about this movie before watching it, I definitely wanted to give it a try. There were several reasons for that. One of those reasons is because Samuel L. Jackson plays an important role in it. That man on his own is already reason enough to watch a movie, but I also knew that it was directed by John McTiernan, who also made "The Hunt for Red October", "The 13th Warrior" and "Die Hard: With a Vengeance". Three movies that I've seen and liked very much. The only one that didn't really do it for me was "The Thomas Crown Affair", but with an average of three out of four, I could only hope for the best with this movie.

"Basic" starts with showing us how army sergeant West takes six of his special troops on a training mission into the Colombian rain forest, from which only two return alive. When the rescue mission arrives, they see one soldier killing another and carrying a wounded comrade. As soon as they are back on the base, the interrogation of Dunbar - one of the two survivors - starts. But he refuses to talk to anyone else than another Ranger who he doesn't know yet. That's where former Ranger and current DEA agent Hardy comes in. He is able to get a confession out of Dunbar, but as he digs deeper, he only finds more and more prove of contradictions and illegal practices...

This is one of those movies that you have to watch when you can keep your mind to it from the beginning until the end. If you think that you'll need to take a break in between, you better don't even start watching it because the entire story is so confusing and so many plot twists make it almost impossible to watch it, unless you can keep focused. But don't think that this means that this movie isn't any good. It's especially thanks to the many twists that I kept watching, because the interrogation scenes and the 'action scenes' on the base didn't always do it for me. What I also liked about this movie was Samuel L. Jackson's performance. He was really nice as the tough sergeant West. You could see that the man enjoyed playing this role. John Travolta wasn't bad either, but I've already seen him play better roles.

Overall this isn't a bad movie. Thanks to the mysterious story and the many twists it is hard to keep track, but when you are able to do so, you'll have fun watching it. Still, not everything about this movie was that strong and that's why I give this movie a 6.5/10. It isn't the best movie in the genre, but could have been a lot worse than this.
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Why the hell is this called basic?
moilligxela29 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
**spoilers** There is nothing basic about this movie. For a movie to be Basic doesn't it basically have to have a plot??? I have never seen a movie with so many pointless plot twists. This is just a huge amount of plot twists that boil down to absolutely nothing in the end. The entire movie is a huge waste. John travolta interrogates several people for no reason because in the end it turns out they're all in it together anyway so you've just wasted 90 minutes. If a movie is going to have that many plot twists it better actually have a conclusion.
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Telling the Story Right
taxrice30 April 2004
It has the names . . . and they work like a charm. John McTiernan is at his best in this action mystery tale. The twists begin with victims in vinegar and intensify from there.

The question is who done it. The issue is why. The story follows a pattern not unlike the classic "Rashômon" (1950) and its American remake "The Outrage" (1964). Each time the tale is told it comes out different. When is it going to be told right?

The cast includes a very hot teaming of Connie Nielsen & John Travolta with all electricity and no vulgarity. Samuel L. Jackson brings his solid energy to the latest bad a** drill instructor. McTiernan refers this casting back to the excellence of Louis Gossett Jr. in "An Officer and a Gentleman" (1982). I would go back even further to Jack Web in "The DI" (1957). Jackson brings his booming voice to the intensity of the earlier castings to create a new icon character.

I, for one, would like to see these characters come back in another film. The 98 minutes was full and solid . . . and too little time with such talent.

I rank this at the top of the solid list of McTiernan suspense hits that include "Die Hard: With a Vengeance" (1995), "The Hunt for Red October" (1990), "Die Hard" (1988), and "Predator" (1987).

I give this movie a ten for story, suspense and acting. For this one, an all star cast and director paid off . . . with a vengeance. - Michael
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Entagled and gripping
scottshak_11127 September 2010
From the trailer it was hard to make out how intricate the movie actually was. I had earlier taken it to be an army movie that was sure to showcase some war-like situations. However I was proved wrong when I actually found the movie to be a sort of a thriller. The story retains a training program which turns out to be chaotic when all those rangers who had stepped down to train in the formidable forest area end up shooting each other except for two fellow rangers. The mystery was slowly revealed by two fellow Rangers as to what really happened in the woods while training, both leading the story to a different direction. They both were trying to complicate things by telling their part of the story which although seemed true but in fact wasn't. John Travolta was called on to interrogate the two rangers who had survived from a training facility region(which turned out to be a battleground as there were those who shared a grudge for Samuel Jackson while those who considered it inhumane to kill him) and ended up killing the rest in an accident as the story of those survived rangers suggested. Connie Nielsen however had the habit of snooping around and so figures out the rest of the mystery eventually which was an eye-opener. Find out for yourself what the actual mystery was as I was really surprised to find out the consequences eventually myself and would recommend everyone to watch the movie. I'd rate the movie 7 for the suspense as I kind of like watching movies that has something thrilling to offer.
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Basic is a Thrilling and Interesting Movie
skydiveroffreefalls30 June 2010
Army Ranger Dunbar (Brian Van Holt) is being interrogated by Captain Julia Osborne (Connie Nielsen). The situation is very serious: Dunbar's team mates from Special Forces trainees and their sergeant Nathan West (Samuel L. Jackson) are all missing, presumed dead. The only other survivor aside from Dunbar is Kendall (Giovanni Ribisi), and he is lying in a hospital bed, in critical condition. There is a big chance Dunbar is guilty but when he says he will only talk to another ranger like him, Osborne's supervisor Styles (Tim Daly) decides to call in a favor from his old friend/ex-Ranger Tom Hardy (John Travolta)- despite her objections.

Osborne and Hardy don't at first get along that well. After all Hardy has left the army, is now a DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agent. It doesn't help build her trust that there have been some bribery charges against him and he is sort of suspended.

But when Hardy proves himself as great an interrogator as Styles said he was, Osborne decides to follow his lead. After all, he has gotten both Kendall and Dunbar to talk. The problem is, their stories are contradicting. And even more confusing is the fact that Kendall seems to be showing Dunbar in a guilty light despite the fact that he saved Kendall's life.

So what is the real story? Did one of the soldiers finally lose it because of how horribly West treated them? Or is it a whole lot more complicated than that?

I loved this movie. In fact, I adored it. I do have a weakness for John Travolta movies- especially thrillers: Do Face Off, Broken Arrow, Swordfish, Mad City ring a bell? Yes, there are more but these are my favorites and Basic joined them right away. The difference of Basic, though is that the action doesn't exactly involve Travolta. We get flashbacks to the awful stormy location where the soldiers were supposed to complete their training. There is great suspense and as many great twists as in a John Grisham novel. I loved how the story surprises and entertains and impresses you at all times. The movie, in my opinion is horribly underrated at 6.3 on IMDb. I think it is a solid 8 but I rated a 9 for the entertainment level and frankly to get the movie closer to the rating it deserves.

A very strong drama/thriller with a great cast. Now, that's my kind of movie.

Movie Reviews:
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Military action thriller with a storyline to follow, and great on screen performances
jmflath15 June 2010
In a world that where movies with a storyline are sparse, here is one that is both engaging and fun. John Travolta seemed to have put on more muscle for this film than for any other he has done. I thought this was one of Travolta's best performances, and all of the other actors were strong as well; especially Connie Nielsen who showed great charisma with the other strong male characters.

Pros: 1. Outside of that bad sci fi film, has Travolta ever been in a

bad movies.

2. Action, plot, great acting, beautiful and well done


3. This is a movie for those who are open to government

conspiracy (who I like to call the realists), who want to

think while they watch, and who want to see something original.

4. I think its worthy to note that this movie has great

cinematography and sound effects, so viewing this on a bog

screen TV with surround sound is a must.

Cons: 1. There are twists and turns, so you will get lost if you are

not into a "thinker." The twists and turns do make sense if

you pay attention though.

2. If you aren't into conspiracy theory movies you may not like

this one.

3. Yes Samuel L does yell a lot in this one, but isn't a special

forces drill instructor supposed to? Still, those who take

offense to type-casted actors may be turned off by Jackson in

this one; I thought he was perfect for the part and did great

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Leaving all jokes aside,
sonicjk18 November 2007
Yes, I know there are all kinds of jokes about John and Sam. Talk all you want about how Travolta has never shown any acting good enough to parallel what he did in Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction. Join the millions who mocked Dave Chappelle's jokes about how Jackson talks. (Hey, don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of Dave.) The fact is that Basic does quench the thirst for twists. Ever since the brilliant Usual Suspects, moviegoers have been yearning for a decent twister. Many have come, few have succeeded. While the evolution of twisters has made it so that people consider fewer twists with stronger individual impacts as 'better', Basic shows a different way, NOT an inferior way, of twisting a movie: continuous twists that make you say "ok. so that's what happened." one minute and then "whoa, no it's not" the next. It's kinda like encountering a new up-and-coming boxer who's excellent at showering endless jabs in a competition where everybody focuses on throwing strong blows.

From mundane mistakes such as West's rank and Osbourne's jacket to considerable ones such as the uniforms, I admit that there were many mistakes or contradictions in the movie. However, I believe those who devalue the movie as a whole due to such contradictions are trying way too hard on being a 'critic'. "There are no women in the Ranger unit in reality". Hey, man, that's why it's a MOVIE, not a documentary.

In a nutshell, if you really, really try hard and push it, you can argue that the movie has a lot of unnecessary details. However, all in all, the movie serves as a good dose of twisting. Like another reviewer said, Travolta does an excellent job, as always, in being a smarty-pants guy with a slightly arrogant gesture. Sammy, as always, does a great job, albeit quite cliché, in being the bastard outranker with that sinister smile. The movie repetitively keeps you thinking that everything is clear and over at one point and then wipes your catharsis away at the next moment.

How often do you meet such a movie?
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Awesome plot.. left me with a headache of wonder
Jaws_224 July 2005
First.. not sure about the rules 'cause this is my first time writing a comment, but I must say that "Einar-Geronimo from Norway"s comment was the furthest from the truth and hope that no one who reads it heeds it. This guy must be retarded to conclude that such an interesting and mind-bending movie was nothing to be taken by.

On that note, I'd like to say that Basic was an excellent movie and it DID leave me with a headache due to the extremely intricate plotting! Or maybe it was the cigs or because it's nearly 4a.m.... Alls I know is that the movie was great and because of it I registered here to deliver the message not to listen to IL' Einar because his comments were small-minded and valueless. I'd like to find some site in which the plot is actually explained clearly because some friends and I have been batting ideas around between us for nearly two hours.

The movie has twists in it that keep on twisting and just when you think you've figured it all out.. it twists some more! Now when you (the reader) watch this movie.. pay very close attention to EVERYTHING! It's probably best to watch it with a lot of people.. and then TALK about it afterward and see what kind of mess you find yourself in. [; Everything is and, in a way, isn't explained in the movie.. watch and think hard.
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What the doctor ordered.
SILENCEikillyou30 July 2003
For a long time I've seen comment after comment over wanting a movie that isn't so mainstream and superficial. This is it (not that, that would stop the complaining... OH no!). Basic is the type of movie many people have been whining for - as i read other comments on other movies. But to my dismay, I see that some of the SAME people (you know who you are) didn't like this movie because they say it was "too complicated", or "too many plot twists". I just think that some egos were bruised when this movie took them by surprise in the end (me included). And THAT was what made this movie great (in my opinion). You gotta love a movie that takes you on an entertaining free ride - plot twists and turns galore - then only to fool you in the end. Or maybe not... but it fooled me and all the viewers I was with.

This was a very good film on many levels. The plot was there, if you have the patience to work through it and I for one am glad that I was FINALLY fooled in a movie (that's right, I can admit it). The acting was superb if slightly underplayed so as not to showboat on any one talent. The devious direction was very diabolical, indeed. I have to say, I feel like I've been had for misdirection; but that in itself is a good tool and my hat's off to the director. The music was right on, as well as the "stormy elements" depicting the microcosm versus macrocosm relationship. Very Shakespearian. In order to mention any one talent in this film, I'd have to mention them all. So... they ALL did great to make me entertained unexpectedly on an otherwise boring evening, and I for one appreciate the hell out of it.

8 out of 10 thank you
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sulari23 July 2003
What? So the female interrogator was being duped right? And that's because.....she.....why exactly? Ok so....who was.....I can't get it! Oh I was not supposed to get it!!!!! Oh I see! Was well done tough, I mean,action wise, suspense, but it means nothing. Oh! right! That's what films are made for today. To mean nothing! Take a hike!
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Too many twists and turns to even be logical
fab4-18 April 2003
This movie had so many plot twists that it was totally illogical. There is no way, except in the mind of the writer, that mere mortals could concoct such schemes. The storm noise gave me a headache, it was so loud the dialog could barely be heard. This is the most disappointing John Travolta movie since Face Off.
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