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3.8 out of 5 stars71
3.8 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 24 August 2012
A US Army base in Panama is the setting for Basic. As a a training mission for recruits who want to be US Rangers goes awry, with the death of some of them, including the feared & hated Sgt. West (Jackson). The surviving few who are interrogated by Capt. Osbourne (Nielson) wont talk, so the base commander Col. Styles (Daly) decides to turn to his old buddy, Hardy (Travolta), an ex-Ranger & now DEA agent who specializes in interrogation. Can he get to the bottom of the situation & unravel the mystery ?

Overall this is a decent attempt from Die Hard director John McTiennan, it has plenty of twists to the story, although getting there though the constant CSI-esque flash backs as to each solider's version of events can be a bit confusing to keep track of, and requires you pay close attention throughout. John Travolta (Face/Off) was great as Hardy, presenting one of his more cocky persona's, combined with the professionalism of a military man & plenty of tricks up his sleeve to get to the bottom of things. Connie Nielson (Boss) was good as the base interrogator, in over her head, having a good rapport with Travolta, along with some sexual tension while playing second fiddle to his character Hardy, but she has enough nous about her to challenge or question his methods. Samuel L. Jackson (The Negotiator) gave a solid performance as the sinister, wide eyed drill sargent. The rest of the support cast were decent, with Tim Daly (Private Practice), Giovanni Ribisi (Boiler Room), Roselyn Sanchez (Rush Hour 2) & Brian Van Holt (Cougar Town).

In conclusion, Basic is an interesting military mystery thriller, strong, convincing performances by the leads helps sell it, combined with a twisting story. That arguably is a little bit confusing at times, while your interpretation of the film come the finale, will hinge on the ending itself. Recommended.
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on 24 October 2015
Such an underrated movie !

John Travolta plays legendary Agent Hardy, a rogue DEA cop that is an expert at getting inside people's heads and extracting information, who is currently taking a sabbatical due to accusations of bribery. We later find this is just a roost to cover up the Section 8 team he has assembled. I initially suspected Tom Hardy to be the bad guy (the opening scene is in him taking a shower in a messy carefree manner with Thai women about asking him if he wants "services") and that was the twist (seen too many movies), and they teased this possibility, but in the end I'm glad they didn't do the cliched ending. Tom Hardy is in infact the good guy and the army/government are the bad ones.

It isn't too long either so it doesn't drag. There is many comedy moments such as Tom Hardy and Osborne's conversation at the beginning with Tom Hardy asking if she has interrogated the prisoner yet, to which Hardy asks "have you tried poking him with a stick" and Osborne said "No sorry say I haven't learned sophisticated techniques like that" LOL I'd recommend this for anyone, and it has the beautiful Roselyn Sanchez ! what more could you want for a night in!?
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John Travolta as a top military interrogator may seem an unlikely role; and this film does nothing to dispel that view. However, the story of six Rangers in the Darien Perninsula led by a psycho NCO is sufficiently twisty to appeal to the Usual Suspects fan. The interrogations seemed to be forgotten as everyone suddenly coughed the clues (in one case literally) in the best Hercule Poirot fashion. You are unlikely to watch it twice.
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VINE VOICEon 16 December 2004
Yep this is one of those movies that anyone could have done it after you figure out what was done. Actually John Travolta did a pretty convincing job.

During a training mission in Panama, Sgt. West (Samuel Jackson), an unloved leader type, is killed along with some collateral damage. Tom Hardy (John Travolta), the renegade type, is called in to investigate. He is teamed up with rookie investigator Osborne (Connie Nielson), no chance at chemistry type. We get led around by our nose as information mysteriously appears during the several conflicting stories (several conflicting flashbacks). There are a few good shoot-em-up scenes. You have seen this before and you know the drill (maybe). Naturally last minute clues that were too dangerous to tell you sooner appear near the end of the movie.

If you enjoy this type of movie I suggest you watch "Courage Under Fire" (1996)
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on 31 August 2015
I knew nothing about the film when I downloaded it. I was thrilled to find it intriguing, full of action yet with a very plausible story line with a twist. The actors played their parts well.
Recommended viewing.
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on 1 September 2015
A story of twists and turns with an excellent twist in the tail, in my opinion well written and well acted. Extremely enjoyable viewing.
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on 17 December 2014
fantastic dvd and so glad i found it at this price well worth a watch if you haven't seen it. you wont be disapointed
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There is nothing basic about Basic. I thought this movie was superb; maybe I'm easier to please than a lot of the people who criticize the script because I found this to be one of the most intelligent, mesmerizing, blow-your-mind movies I've ever seen. It's a rare treat to find a movie that is not completely predictable these days, and Basic takes unpredictability and surprise to unheard of levels. There was one small aspect of the saga I successfully predicted early on, but the rest of the twists and turns this movie takes had me doing mental gymnastics. Every time you start to think you've seen at least a shadow of the light, this movie rips the rug back out from under you and plunges you into even darker depths of confusion and doubt. Best of all, this elaborate plot actually holds together, which is really just amazing. Basic is a movie that makes you think, and I have no problem admitting that I was often at a loss as to what was really going on; Basic did not insult my intelligence in any way shape or form; it challenged it constantly and delightfully humbled me in the process.
At the center of the story is a Special Forces training mission that goes horribly awry. Only two of six soldiers make it out of the Panamanian jungle, one of whom is injured and the other of whom isn't talking. The base commander Styles (Timothy Daly) calls in his old buddy Hardy (John Travolta) to interrogate the witness because he feels the job is over the head of Army investigator Osborne (Connie Nielsen). Before the feds get involved, Styles wants to know why the unit leader Sgt. West (Samuel L. Jackson) and four soldiers are lying dead somewhere out in the jungle. Hardy is a former Ranger who served under and hated West, but he is now an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency. Hardy gets the one soldier to tell his version of events, only to hear a much different story from the injured soldier when he wakes up in the hospital. So begins a quest for the truth that has Hardy and Osborne running back and forth between witnesses, discovering unexpected aspects of the case such as the existence of drug-smuggling operations being carried out inside the base and hospital, and discovering that the big fish they are striving so hard to reel in is one big whopper indeed.
Do things become confusing? That's affirmative, but I see this in a positive light. This movie makes you stop and think, turning over what you have heard in your own mind not so much to predict the future as to merely stay caught up with the twists and turns you have just seen revealed before your very eyes. In the final analysis, one or two little aspects of the presentation, which occur largely in the form of dream-like flashbacks, may have a weak leg to stand on but never come close to collapsing or falling over. Some will probably be tempted to just throw their hands up in the air and give up trying to understand everything, but those who love a challenge, especially one presented in such a theatrical and awe-inspiring way, will find themselves energized and inspired to a degree few movies can hope to duplicate. For my money, Basic is one of the most intelligent, suspenseful thrillers I've seen in a long time.
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on 25 May 2004
Basic tells the story of a drugs scam in the U.S Army. However high ranking officers have their suspicions, and the team who are though of running it are sent of a training mission in which most of the team die, bar 2. The 2 return to be questioned on who caused the deaths, and who was behind the drugs. Great story line twists follow with an great ending, I don't know why everyone in slating it, it a great, must see film
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VINE VOICEon 28 February 2005
Twist-wise this is a heckuvagreat movie. It's a steaming, down and dirty whodunnit-to-who under the guise of an army training exercise gone wrong. A Special Force team goes into the jungles of Panama, under the supervision of Samuel L. Jackson (West,) but they don't all come out. The onus of finding out what happened falls on Connie Nielsen (Osborne), but then Tim Daly (Styles) brings in John Travolta (Hardy) to take over the investigation.
It's not Travolta's best role, but he does a passable Hardy, the great inquisitor. Connie Nielsen steals most of the movie, even though her accent grates on the nerves sometimes, but otherwise she's got what it takes. Timothy Daly is good for most of the movie (until the end), and there just isn't enough Samuel L. Jackson to go around.
Poor Giovanni Ribisi - he must be really tired of being type-cast by now. He plays the same role, once again, for the umpteenth time.
My problem with the movie is that a lot of the scenes are shot out of focus and in the dark - so it's hard to figure out who's doing what to whom most of the time. (My copy didn't have sub-titles, and the close-captioning was pathetic, so that didn't help much)
Any attempt to summarize the plot would contain spoilers, so I won't. Spending a few hours on this 3.5 star movie, wouldn't be time wasted.
Amanda Richards
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