I love a good murder mystery and this movie certainly seems
to fit the bill to a tee. A drill sergeant has been killed on what would
have seemed to be a straight forward training session in the jungle. Every one
who went on the trip had a reason to hate the sadistic man or want him dead.
There are almost no survivors and the two who are able to talk are lying and
under suspicion of having killed their team.
It's confusing yet intriguing, but
overall Basic would definitely get the thumbs up from my good self.
Captain Osborne played by Connie Nielsen is the Marshall in
charge of finding out exactly what went wrong. When the men refuse to speak to
her and request one of their own, a Ranger, the base commander turns to an old
friend that he knows, an ex ranger, now DEA agent in disgrace by the name of
Tom Hardy (John Travolta). Together the two of them must work through the lies
and deceit and get to the bottom of the story before the prisoners are
transferred out of the base and their secrets taken with them.
Whilst some won't appreciate how many
twists there are in this tale, I was impressed. Every time that I thought I
had a handle on the story, I was thrown for another loop. You can be the
decider on whether the final twist broke the camel's back, but it certainly
worked for me.
As far as being a good looking and sounding
disc, Basic took the cake in terms of technical excellence with at only one
time the audio being slightly off for the shortest of periods and unless you
are anal about that sort of thing like I am, you won't even notice it. All the
rest of the audio is crystal clear with all channels getting a great working
out including the subwoofer accentuating the multitude of the explosions,
gunshots and the persistent thunderstorm that is prevalent for almost the
The picture is another example of what
DVD's look like when they are done properly with everything crystal clarity,
no low level sounds or artefacts that I could make out despite the fact that
much of the movie does take part in darkened areas. All shadows are crisp and
clear with blacks looking great throughout and no other colours creeping into
the mix when they are visible.
It's an odd one but I didn't get a great
deal out of the audio commentary which was by Director John McTiernan. The
only problem is that you will almost find that when it's only the director or
actor by themselves doing the commentary, there are huge lulls in the process
and quite frankly he is dull to the point of turning the commentary off. It
would have been better featuring an actors commentary where the stars just
naturally play off each other. I know it's harping on but he doesn't change
tone, doesn't seem to care too much about the film, lighting or effects and in
essence I was just watching the film twice over. As an example after a period
of about five minutes with absolutely nothing, McTiernan blurts out how John
Travolta has grown into a good looking 45 year old man, such a strong face!
Snore! Or he'll seem to head off in an very interesting direction and then not
elaborate on anything he has hinted at. Boring!
The director's design featurette is far
more enlightening as is the writers perspective, give the commentary a miss
and go straight for both of these. Finally capping these off is your stock
standard trailer that doesn't add a great deal to the overall experience