It’s Movie Time: Basic

As always, Spoiler Alert.

Talk about being the victim of one’s own cleverness.

Basic is one of Ron’s movies in the collection, although he had no memory of ever watching it. I, meanwhile, had studiously avoided it for years. Why? Because it’s a military flick, and I rarely enjoy military flicks, especially those of the extra-gritty variety. And judging by the trailer, that’s what Basic appeared to be.

Turned out it was nothing of the sort.

Not that that helped.

In the film, DEA agent Hardy (John Travolta) and Captain Osborne (Connie Nielsen) are investigating the disappearance of Drill Sergeant West (Samuel L. Motherfucking Jackson) and several recruits. The more questions they ask, the more convoluted the stories of the two remaining recruits become, until it’s impossible to tell what the fuck is going on.

Basic tries very hard to be one of those movies that builds up layers of deceptions and plot twists, so that the audience gasps at the big reveal at the end, when the carefully placed hints that have been dropped throughout the film are tied together. The problem is, there’s nothing careful about the movie’s structure, so the eventual reveal is less “Wow!” and more “Huh?”

The movie didn’t do well, which isn’t surprising. The question whether that’s because the marketing was totally misleading, selling the movie as something it wasn’t, or because the detective story it actually was was absolutely baffling, is a tough one, but …

Yeah, I’m gonna have to go with both on that one.

To see other posts in my venture to watch my movie collection in alphabetical(ish) order, click here.

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