Behind Enemy Lines
Navy Lt. Chris Burnett (Owen Wilson) chafes for a real combat mission, which is prevented by the international political climate in Bosnia. Admiral Reigart (Gene Hackman), a hard-nosed, by-the-book commander, thinks Burnett hasn’t learned what it means to be a soldier under authority. Flying a routine reconnaissance mission, Burnett photographs a Serbian action not meant to be seen, which gets him shot down behind enemy lines. NATO authorities veto a rescue because it might disrupt a fragile political peace. To save his downed officer, Reigert must bend the rules, disobey his superiors and risk his career. As Burnett dodges relentless pursuit by ruthless Serbs, Reigart launches an unauthorized rescue mission. Audiences will cheer the heroic spirit of the U.S. military represented in this film.
Graphic violence includes execution of Burnett’s co-pilot and many civilians. Scenes of rotting corpses in a mass burial are also gruesome. An angel’s statue seems to imply guardian-type protection, but obscenities and strong profanity make the dialogue far from angelic. That said, the gung-ho, can-do attitude of the rescue team members, who volunteer to risk their lives to save one man, is inspiring. Even though the foul language, violence, and gore occur in a military context, they dampen the acceptability of this action-packed combat thriller. The strong profanity is particularly offensive.