MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:35 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Connie Nielsen, Giovanni Ribisi, Brian Van Holt
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Columbia Pictures
Kiddie Movie: Leave them, and yourself, at home.
Date Movie: Leave them, and yourself, at home.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: There is a lot of shooting and people getting beat up.
Action: Some people chase each other.
Laughs: Most of the movie.
Memorable Scene: None.
Memorable Quote: None.
Directed By: John McTiernan


I begin this review simply by saying if you don’t want to know any of the plot twists, turns, and regurgitations in “Basic,” quit reading know and come back after you have seen the movie to see if you agree or disagree. Otherwise, I’m going to give a lot of the movie away simply for that fact that in doing so you won’t have to waste your money a second or third time to try to go back in the movie to see if anything makes sense in the end. So here we go…

“Basic” is one of those movies that proves sometimes you can have too many plot twists, especially when the final twist ruins what would have been a decent ending to the movie. See if you can follow along, because I’m not really sure I was able to.

John Travolta is Tom Hardy, a DEA agent under investigation for possibly taking bribes. He gets a phone call one evening from an army base commander, Bill Styles (Tim Daly), because something went horribly wrong on a training mission and the interrogator he has doesn’t seem to be cutting it (she’s Lt. Osborne played by Connie Nielsen). It seems Sgt. West (Samuel L. Jackson) and his trainees had a little problem on a training mission. All that are left is Dunbar (Brian Van Holt) and Kendall (Giovanni Ribisi), and Kendall ain’t talkin’ because he’s in the hospital and Dunbar ain’t talkin’ because he wants to see an Army Ranger. Enter Hardy, an ex-Ranger and according to Styles, one hell of an interrogator. So, yea, Osborne doesn’t like Hardy, Hardy gets Dunbar to talk a little, and now that Kendall is awake from surgery, well they get one account of the story, of course implicating Dunbar. So it’s back to Dunbar, who now that his ass is on the line tells a different story of drugs and Kendall, and now it’s back to the hospital and eventually the head doc (Harry Connick Jr.) is involved in some drug trafficking using the army soldiers. Then it’s back to Dunbar, oh wait, maybe it’s back to Kendall, but we know someone is lying and then Kendall’s ears and nose bleed and he proceeds to vomit blood signifying he’s soon dead. Alright, now it’s back to the good doctor who mentions that Dunbar should be black, but our Dunbar is white, so now it’s time for Hardy to get Dunbar to talk by threatening to push him into a spinning propeller. Alright, finally the real story comes out of Dunbar, who is now Pike, or so it would seem, and then Hardy figures it out that Styles is really the lead bad dude, and Styles goes ahead and blows his cover telling Hardy that Kendall was poisoned before it came out that he was poisoned, then trying to bribe Hardy into his drug ring. Hardy says he’ll think about it, Styles pulls a gun, Osborne who is eavesdropping shoots Styles, and you think the movie is pretty much over, especially after Hardy gives Osborne his phone number hoping she’ll call him for some sex. But no, the movie’s not over yet. Nope. Driving away Osborne realizes that Hardy says an overused phrase, then tails him only to find Dunbar, I mean Pike, coming out of the bushes and into Hardy’s car. So rather than call for back-up, she of course follows only to end up in a basement where everyone who was supposed to be dead at the training exercise is magically alive, including the good Sgt. West. And as you try to follow the cryptic explanations from these people as to what they do, what really would have helped would be a real flashback that would have explained the entire more.

So, there you have it, in the end West and Hardy are buddies and not dead, neither are Dunbar and Pike, and somehow this all ties together to get the drug ring stopped. Feel free to use any or all of this spoiler to try to follow along and put it all together as you watch the movie because all I know is that when the credits started to roll I was left with the feeling of “What kind of crap was that?”

Plot twists are great when done properly, and done properly means that you are shocked but yet instantly everything makes sense. “Basic” was full of twists, but after the conclusion twist you sit there too tired of twists to even want to try to piece everything together, you’re just glad to go home.

My recommendation for this movie is wait for its run on cable. There you can watch it again and again if you want without wasting your money on a DVD, or God forbid a second viewing. By trying to be so shocking, “Basic” just leaves you tired. 1 star out of 5.

That’s it for this review! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!