Behind Enemy Lines

Director John Moore Starring Owen Wilson, Gene Hackman, Joaquim de Almeida, David Keith, Olek Krupa, Gabriel Macht

I have a few rules that I like to live by. One of those states that just because you can doesn’t mean you should. This rule applies when it comes to Behind Enemy Lines, the story of Owen Wilson of all people surviving overwhelming odds against an incompetent foreign enemy while he puts himself in as much danger as possible just so we have something to watch.

It’s got a couple of brief, half-decent action sequences and a good showing by Gene Hackman but otherwise it’s just another run-of-the-mill modern war film with no substance whatsoever. It’s most amazing accomplishments are the money it generated and three sequels that were made. On top of that all of them somehow managed to be worse than the original.

Watching it some fourteen years after it’s initial release it’s no surprise that it comes across as incredibly dated, but by the overall look and feel of it I wouldn’t be surprised if it were considered dated back in 2001.

MRD 3 of 10

The Other Guys

Director Adam McKay Starring Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson

In Hollywood there’s a fine line between classic and forgettable. On that line lives The Other Guys. It’s main protagonists, two NYPD desk jockeys in Allen Gamble (Ferrell) and Terry Hoitz (Wahlberg), also reside in this zone of neither good nor bad as they work to stop a Ponzi scheme following the deaths of the NYPD’s two ‘stars’, Chris Danson (Johnson) and P.K Highsmith (Jackson).

Like I said, it’s no stand-out feature that’ll make waves or even be acknowledged by any awards ceremony anywhere but it’s a damn solid film with a well-written script (which walked a fine line of its own by using a relatively complex Ponzi scheme in the plot) and two leads who have great chemistry together. Wahlberg really should get over the dramatic roles because he works best when he’s the straight man bouncing off the comedian, and The Other Guys is a prime example.

MRD 6 of 10

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Director Tomas Alfredson Starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Ciaran Hinds, Benedict Cumberpatch, John Hurt

Based on the 1974 novel by John le Carre, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a well-woven tale of espionage during the Cold War that may not be action-packed but definitely keeps you interested. At its core the plot isn’t complicated but its execution sure is. There are several layers that keep you guessing until the very end, all of which centres around George Smiley / Beggarman (Oldman) as he hunts for a rat in the ranks, one of the suspects being himself.

Oldman’s reserved vigour and intensity drive this film forward, and though it’s pacing suffers some dialogue-heavy scenes it’s necessary to keep the story coherent; a sacrifice to keep the audience from losing interest. Otherwise there’s nothing about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy that really stands out, but every piece of the puzzle fits perfectly and the picture it reveals is definitely one worth viewing.

MRD 7 of 10

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