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"BASIC"
(2003) (John Travolta, Connie Nielsen) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Extreme Extreme Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Heavy None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Moderate None Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Two military investigators must sort through differing eyewitness accounts to figure out what happened to a drill sergeant and members of his team who are missing and presumably dead.
PLOT:
It's the Panama Canal Zone and U.S Army Sergeant West (SAMUEL L. JACKSON) and some of his team - including Pike (TAYE DIGGS), Mueller (DASH MIHOK), Castro (CRISTIAN DE LA FUENTE) and Nunez (ROSELYN SANCHEZ), have not returned from a training mission. Although their bodies have not been found, two surviving members of the mission -- Ray Dunbar (BRIAN VAN HOLT) and Levi Kendall (GIOVANNI RIBISI) - state that they're dead but won't give up any more details.

Accordingly, Colonel Bill Styles (TIM DALY) calls in DEA Agent and former Ranger interrogator Tom Hardy (JOHN TRAVOLTA) to see what he can dig up. This doesn't sit well with current investigator Julia Osborne (CONNIE NIELSEN) since Hardy isn't in the Army anymore and is currently under investigation for accepting bribes.

Nevertheless, the two begin working together with Hardy obviously experienced at getting such witnesses to talk. As the two hear wildly varying stories from the witnesses about what happened and how they may or may not have a connection to a local doctor, Vilmer (HARRY CONNICK, JR.), the two investigators try to sort through the clues, accounts and apparent lies to get to the bottom of the matter.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast or military-based thrillers, they just might, but this one otherwise seems attractive to older teen males at best.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
To avoid giving away the surprise ending, only the initial and non-revelatory characteristics are noted here.
  • JOHN TRAVOLTA plays a former ranger and current DEA agent under suspicion of accepting bribes who's brought in to get to the bottom of the case. He uses strong profanity, drinks and smokes.
  • CONNIE NIELSEN plays the provost marshal who's not happy that Hardy has been brought in but continues on her quest to solve the case. She uses strong profanity.
  • SAMUEL L. JACKSON plays a hard-nosed training sergeant with the Rangers who puts his trainees through hell and particularly picks on Pike. He also uses strong profanity.
  • TIM DALY plays the Colonel who calls in Hardy for his help and expertise. He uses strong profanity.
  • GIOVANNI RIBISI plays a gay Ranger who was wounded in the incident and appears to toy with Hardy and Osborne regarding the truth. He uses strong profanity.
  • BRIAN VAN HOLT plays the other soldier who survived the incident but refuses to say exactly what happened. He smokes and briefly attacks Hardy.
  • TAYE DIGGS, DASH MIHOK, CRISTIAN DE LA FUENTE and ROSELYN SANCHEZ play other trainees who may or may not have been involved in the murder of a superior and/or a covert drug operation.
  • HARRY CONNICK, JR. plays a doctor who turns out to be involved in a drug ring. He uses strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R rated drama where readers should note that not everything is at it initially seems due to differing versions of the same story being told by different witnesses as well as a surprise ending that negates much of what's been presented.

    Profanity consists of at least 55 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Some brief, sexually explicit dialogue is also present. Violence consists of various people shooting, stabbing or otherwise killing others, with some bloody results. Other fighting is also present and there's one scene that involves projectile vomiting of a great deal of blood.

    Some of those moments and other scenes might be suspenseful or unsettling for some viewers, and various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes. Various characters smoke and/or drink (with one commenting on being drunk), while some drug references are made (regarding some people who allegedly are involved in dealing drugs).

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with repetitive bright flashes of light on the screen, that occurs in many scenes throughout the film during thunderstorms.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Hardy drinks liquor straight from the bottle while showering and later states that he's still drunk.
  • A comment is made about "cocaine central" and we hear that Hardy works for the DEA.
  • Hardy tells Osborne they should go and have some beer and she says she doesn't drink.
  • We hear about a drug business that some of the military people were involved in, and there are several references to that.
  • We see a flashback of Vilmer drinking beer.
  • There's a comment about dealing cocaine.
  • Styles pours some liquor and Hardy drinks some.
  • Osborne says she's going to get drunk to try to forget this mess.
  • Hardy has a drink.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see some blood (on surgical gloves as well as a brief shot of an unspecified wound) during surgery.
  • We see blood on a man's face.
  • A soldier shoots another in the head and kills him (with brief, bloody results, and we see resultant blood splatter on another person's face).
  • A man's nose is bloody after being hit.
  • We see blood running from a patient's ear and nose, and he then suddenly projectile vomits a large amount of blood. We then see a great deal of blood on his face as well as doctors and nurses' hands. We also see blood running down off his hand.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Readers should note that not everything is at it initially seems due to differing versions of the same story being told by different witnesses as well as a surprise ending that negates much of what's been presented.
  • West seems to have it out for Pike during various training sessions and goes out of his way to make such training difficult for him.
  • In another version of the story, West seems to have out it for Kendall and even makes a gun shooting gesture aimed at him.
  • Various characters conspire against others in another version of what occurred and some murders take place.
  • A white man uses the term "nigger" in referring to a black man.
  • We learn that several other people (including a doctor and military officer) were involved in a drug ring, and one tries to bribe Hardy.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" might also be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Various rangers grow distrustful of each other and one pulls his weapon and slowly approaches another. That man grabs the first, causing his gun to fire and strike another person. A person is kicked and another opens fire with his machine gun, hitting others. This happens again in different variations in different scenes.
  • We see blood running from a patient's ear and nose, and he then suddenly projectile vomits a large amount of blood. We then see a great deal of blood on his face as well as doctors and nurses' hands. We also see blood running down off his hand.
  • Hardy holds a soldier up in front a large and spinning airplane propeller blade to make him talk.
  • Osborne slowly makes her way through a place at night with her gun drawn and then aims it at some people she believes are bad.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Machine guns/Knives/Phosphor grenades: Used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck you," "Pretty much f*cked," "F*ck 'em if they can't take a joke," "I don't give a rat's f*ck," "What the f*ck /are you doing/are you talking about?" "Have you lost your f*cking mind?" "Who the f*ck told you to speak?" "F*cking ridiculous," "Shut the f*ck up," "F*cking do something," "F*ck off," "You f*cking coward," "F*ck you," "Butt-f*cked" (nonsexual), "Sh*tload," "Give a sh*t," "Get your sh*t together," "Bullsh*t," "Don't give me sh*t," "Don't have to say sh*t," "You're full of sh*t," "Don't think you're not on my sh*t list too," "Sh*tty," "Cut you a new asshole," "Balls" (testicles), "Freaky," "Scumbag," "Nuts" (crazy), "Piss ant," "What the hell /are you doing?" "Shut up," "Nigger" (said by a white man toward a black man), "Piss," "You bitch," "Loser" and "Jerk."
  • Hardy purposefully adjusts his clothed crotch.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 55 "f" words (2 used with "mother," 1 used sexually), 26 "s" words, 4 slang terms using male genitals ("d*ck"), 12 hells, 11 asses (3 used with "hole"), 5 damns, 4 S.O.B.s, 9 uses of "G-damn," 3 each of "Jesus Christ" and "Swear to God," 2 each of "Christ," "Jesus" and "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "For Christ's sakes" and "Oh God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We see Hardy in just a towel.
  • A woman on the street shows cleavage from a distance.
  • Hardy purposefully adjusts his clothed crotch.
  • While harassing his trainees, West sarcastically tells one that he doesn't care which general's "d*ck you sucked" to have the privilege of standing with him.
  • Osborne asks Vilmer if he was involved in a drug ring when they were an item and he interjects, "When we were f*cking?"
  • Hardy jokes that he thought he could come by Osborne's place later and "we'd do the old..." and then makes a noise to symbolize sex (although the sound is not sexual in nature).
  • We see a woman in a street party who appears to have just paint or something similar covering what appear to be her otherwise bare breasts.
  • SMOKING
  • Hardy smokes around 5 times, while Durbar does so several times and Osborne smokes once (but coughs and says she hasn't done so since school).
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Military investigations.
  • How different witnesses can have different views of the same incident.
  • We hear that one of the rangers is gay and hear that he was treated differently because of that.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Readers should note that not everything is at it initially seems due to differing versions of the same story being told by different witnesses as well as a surprise ending that negates much of what's been presented.
  • From an aerial view, we see one ranger carrying another wounded one and firing back at a third ranger who fired at them.
  • West grabs Pike by the throat during training.
  • Various rangers shoot at and riddle targets in the jungle during an exercise. Then there's a grenade explosion in the jungle and we see one man who's down and apparently dead from that.
  • Nunez pushes another ranger backwards.
  • Various rangers grow distrustful of each other and one pulls his weapon and slowly approaches another. That man grabs the first, causing his gun to fire and strike another person. A person is kicked and another opens fire with his machine gun, hitting others.
  • Dunbar suddenly attacks Hardy and knocks him to the floor. Osborne then races up and hits Dunbar on the head with something, knocking him off Hardy.
  • We see soldiers shooting another man in the back.
  • A soldier shoots another in the head and kills him (with brief, bloody results). Others hold guns on another soldier. Gunfire erupts and several people are hit and wounded or killed. Dunbar then carries out a wounded man and shoots back at another soldier who shot at him.
  • Osborne pulls out what looks like a phone book (or similarly heavy publication) and hits a man on the face with it, knocking him to the floor and bloodying his nose.
  • Tired of the runaround he's receiving from him, Hardy grabs Kendall by the face.
  • We see blood running from a patient's ear and nose, and he then suddenly projectile vomits a large amount of blood. We later hear that he was poisoned.
  • Osborne knocks Hardy to the floor and tries to step down onto him, but he throws her to the floor. She tries to kick him, but he grabs her by the throat.
  • Hardy fires some shots into the air to stop a soldier from leaving. He then grabs that soldier and yanks him off a portable airport stairwell. He then holds him up in front a large and spinning airplane propeller blade to make him talk.
  • In a flashback, a person hits another on the back and others hold guns on that first person as he holds a knife on another person (after stabbing yet another).
  • A man shoots another soldier and others then open fire through a roof at him.
  • A man shoots and injures a person. Another person shoots that first person and a fourth person shoots that person.
  • Osborne repeatedly shoots and kills a man who was about to shoot Hardy.
  • We see a flashback of a man killing another man with a knife.



  • Reviewed March 20, 2003 / Posted March 28, 2003

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