Basic review, Basic DVD review

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Buy your copy from Amazon.com Basic (2003) Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Connie Nielsen, Timothy Daly 
Director: John McTiernan
Rating: R
Category: Drama/Thriller

John Travolta plays Tom Hardy, a DEA agent investigating the disappearance of an Army ranger drill sergeant (Samuel L. Jackson. Hardy was once a ranger who served with and hated the sergeant. The Chief Warrant Officer (Timothy Daly) brings in Hardy because of his excellent interrogation skills, which naturally upsets Lt. Julia Osborne (Connie Nielsen), who is responsible for the investigation. The interaction between Hardy and Osborne is predictable but the chemistry between Travolta and Nielson works well.

Much of the story is told through flashbacks, as different witnesses give conflicting accounts of what happened. There are a number of twists through the first half of "Basic" that keep the audience's attention, but as the movie progresses there are so many twists that your head starts spinning. Many great films have surprise endings, but the effect of the surprise is lost if the audience can't make any sense of it.

Director John McTiernan has made some great action films like "Die Hard" and "The Hunt for Red October." In "Basic" he gets good performances from his excellent cast, but this one doesn't live up to those standards. He could have used a better script. 

~Gerardo Orlando

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