Behind Enemy Lines
Released in 2001, Behind Enemy Lines is based on the experiences of Air Force Captain Scott O' Grady. It centers on the Bosnian war and an aircraft carrier during it's final stages of NATO deployment. During a routine surveillence flight, Navigator Chris Burnett, (Owen Wilson) and pilot Jeremy Stackhouse, (Gabriel Macht) unwisely enter a no-fly zone to investigate radar activity. What they discover and photograph is a group of active Serbian forces. But after they buzz the group and photograph the activity, their F/A-18F Super Hornet is brought down with a couple of SAMs. Because the Serbs are engaged in both a peace process and secret ethnic cleansing, (polite phrase for murder), they really do not want the Americans to ecsape. It would expose their violent misdeeds. And thus the adventure unfolds.
This is a tight adventure drama, that sheds light on a conflict many of us know little about. Owen treats the Burnett character with determination and humor in just the right doses, keeping the story and action moving forward. Workhorse Gene Hackman, so often cast as the stubborn outcast determined to do right, plays the frustrated American Aircraft Admiral Leslie Reigart. The tension increases as Reigart is repeatedly rebuffed by UN officials, preventing a US military-sponsored rescue of the hunted American navigator. It is also the Hackman character that keeps Burnett from giving up on his quest for freedom, as he stays just out of reach of the pursuing Serbs. (They communicate via two-way radio frequency.)
I commend this film for it's action and ability to express the horror of ethnic cleansing without explicit graphic imagery. Solid rental for anyone hungry for action adventure.