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Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia

Movie title: Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia (2009) ***
Grade: D- (1 star)
Rated: R
Summation: Navy Seals mount an attack on Colombian Special Forces to clear their names and rescue a hostage.
Spoilers ahead: No

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In Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia, an insurgent group known as FARC finds an excuse to blacklist the United States when an intel operation on the part of five Navy Seals goes awry. And if perfectly suspense-less, B-movie-level action flicks float your boat, then this might. I say “might” because a weak-as-soup script isn't the only major setback in the development. It's little wonder it went from production straight to DVD.

The “tough guy” feel with dialogue that could only be appreciated by young audiences will get to you eventually, if not at first. Facial close-ups in moments of shock make for a cheesy viewing experience. It is an unabashed action movie with a purposely flimsy plot and all the emphasis on the action, and it does two things well; one, it moves on rather quickly, so that just when you think you are going to get bored out of your mind, it scoots along and changes the scenery to more pointlessness; two, it showcases the use of a few fancy and high-tech military devices.

Everything else is pathetic, like when TVs are cut on to display the brooding governmental state of crisis between the U.S. and Columbia, and the TVs start off at exactly the relevant spot that the audience needs to hear. This happens not once, not twice, but three times. Would you expect more?

What I don't understand is why well-trained Navy Seals don't understand what an untrained, lard-butt bum like myself does—that using bodies as shields in a shootout is a useless defense against bullets from automatic weapons, unless the person being used as a shield happens to have on a bulletproof vest. But that only hashes out the problem of how the person being used as a shield was wounded or killed by a bullet in the first place to enable his limp body to be manipulated as a shield against weapon fire. Oh, the humanity!

Military men being able to kick down metal prison bar doors is one problem. Being shot and captured and getting no medical treatment whatsoever, and then miraculously being able to fight for the last half of the movie is yet another. The acting was the worst – terrible – not one redeeming performance in the whole bit. It was like nearly every scene was a first shot take, the director saying, “That's good enough” after the filming of each segment.

To say that I've seen better action movies should be unnecessary, but I've seen worse. If you like a movie where the good guys are just hands-down better than the bad guys, this may do it for you. They manage to hit their targets – most of them moving targets – nearly 100% of the time. The bad guys miss 90% of the time, which tends to amaze crusty skeptics like myself.

What we have here is a semi-realistic action movie where buff, good-looking guys with IQs probably a little higher than houseplants and with the maturity level of a locker room full of seventh-grade football players show their enemies what's up. It's a ludicrous tough guy movie. What more can I say?

(JH)

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Director: Tim Matheson
Starring: Joe Manganiello “LT. Sean Macklin,” Ken Anderson “Chief Carter Holt,” Channon Roe “Petty Officer 2nd Class Kevin Derricks,” Yancey Arias “Alvaro Cardona,” Chris J. Johnson “Petty Officer 3rd Class Steve Gaines,” Antony Matos “Petty Officer 2nd Class Greg Armstrong,” Keith David “Commander Scott Boytano,” Jennice Fuentes “Nicole Jenkins,” Steven Bauer “General Manuel Valez”
Genre: Action/War

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