A covert counter-terrorist unit called Black Cell led by Gabriel Shear wants the money to help finance their war against international terrorism, but it's all locked away. Gabriel brings in convicted hacker Stanley Jobson to help him.
Tom Hardy, an ex-Army Ranger turned DEA agent, is drawn into an ever-widening mystery surrounding the disappearance of the feared and often hated Sgt. Nathan West, as well as several of his elite Special Forces trainees on what appears, at first, to have been a routine training exercise during a hurricane in the jungles of Panama. Only two survivors are found, Dunbar, and a badly wounded Kendall, the son of a high-profile Joint Chiefs of Staff official. Neither is willing to cooperate with Capt. Julia Osborne's investigation. So base commander Col. Bill Styles calls in ex-Ranger Hardy, an old friend and a persuasive interrogator. Osborne disapproves of Hardy who is on leave from the D.E.A. after having come under suspicion of accepting bribes from local drug traffickers. She is also uneasy when she learns that Hardy once trained under West and hates him almost as passionately as his current recruits. With time running out, Hardy and Osborne call a temporary, if uneasy, truce. Hardy ...Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Method actor Giovanni Ribisi didn't take a bath for a week, to get into his role as Second Lieutenant Levi Kendall. This act was noted by various other cast and crew on the set. See more »
Osborne opens Dunbar's note to read it, and then misreads "somebody" as "someone" and "anybody" as "anyone". See more »
The French tried to build a canal here before the Americans. At the height of their effort, 500 workers were dyin' a week from malaria and yellow fever. They couldn't come up with cemetary space fast enough. Not to mention the morale problem all those crosses would have made. So they bought shiploads of vinegar in Cuba, and in each barrel, they sealed one corpse, and then they sold them as medical cadavers all over Europe. And for a while, that was their principal source...
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Tagged by many critics as overly predictable despite trying to be the complete opposite, BASIC is nevertheless a strong, original and entertaining film.
The cast, from big names John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson to lesser-knowns Connie Nielsen and Taye Diggs, ably unravels the mystery surrounding the disappearance of a reviled army sergeant during a hardcore training outing. The episode is recounted in as many ways by as many witnesses, an interesting method that has worked so well in other films such as COURAGE UNDER FIRE. It may all seem confusing at first, but gifted director John McTiernan gradually weaves everything together, though perhaps not as seamlessly as one would ideally prefer.
BASIC is not without its flaws, but they are not as glaring as one might think from professional reviews, or even many of the comments on this website. Its originality is welcome at a time when so many films follow the same cookie-cutter formula.
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