Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia tries to take from the somewhat successful formula of Behind Enemy Lines and continue the same type of action thriller style and premise but continues to fall flat.
Film making 10/25
Bonus Features 18/25
There are in my humble opinion two or maybe three reasons a movie will go straight to DVD instead of trying its luck at the theatres. One is the obvious and straight forward the audience for this movie is not large enough to warrant a try like Hannah Montana or other smaller budget films, series or animated features.
Disney has been notorious in releasing takeoffs from their hit animated films direct to DVD but for a film that has a regular budget this usually means not enough audience would even be interested in the film in the first place. I would think that having the first sequel to Behind Enemy Lines going direct to DVD would have been a hint that the premise is a bit tired and does not appeal to a large enough audience.
The sequel Behind Enemy Lines: Axis of Evil only had a few critic reviews and many viewer reviews rated it somewhere south of average and I cannot see how adding a story of drug manufacturers getting into trouble with a US Navy Seals team being much different. The story is here but Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia needed to have a real military advisor to help them with plausibility and just plain common sense.
Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia uses the old story of drug manufacturers and the influx of drugs into our country as the backdrop of how we are going to stop this for good or at least try. A US Navy SEALS Team is sent into Columbia to observe a meeting between Columbian Army officials and a drug faction but is ambushed.
The meeting is an ambush and the SEALS are blamed for the murders of troops from Columbia as well as the faction leaders so we have our SEALS not only behind enemy lines but being blamed for murder. The real culprits behind the attack are a renegade group of regular Columbian soldiers who are blaming their countries problems on the drug factions and how the regular Columbian Army has been infiltrated by the factions.
The splinter group that attacked the meeting is now out to blame the US and their SEALS team so they get to hit more of the drug factions as well as their own regular Army. The Navy SEALS team races to find out what is going on as well as vindicate themselves using their unique training.
Having been in the military I have a unique and not so unusual idea of what military training and general tactics are but most know at least something about the military in general. Anyone can watch this movie and tell a daylight sneak into a compound not using all sorts of high tech gadgets but actually trying to sneak several people inside to spy on a meeting would be risky and foolish.
Add to this the fact that the wide open compound has several guards who conveniently only hang around one side of the compound and you have a general guard free area for our top notch SEALS to infiltrate. Just when they get all the goods on the meeting our rebel faction inside the Columbian Army sneaks in behind the SEALS and captures or kills them.
Aside from the fact that we could have seen this all coming and using all the high tech gadgets the SEALS have at their disposal the story is just not plausible to send several men into a compound when one would have sufficed. Why send any in at all, go in the night before, plant a bug and listen from the security of home base or just a few hundred yards out.
Instead we need men to get captured so the high tech gadgets like the cameras they do use to check for sensors around the base and the high voltage fencing around the compound are only used for that. Not a high tech listening device in the bunch but hey, anything’s possible, they also ignore the fact that dozens of troops sneak right into the area without any of these high tech gadgets detecting them as well.
I really don’t like poking holes into stories of films, but when that is more entertaining than the film itself I do get some fun out of watching these somewhat low budgets films. The film has enough of a budget that they have some pretty good but standard effects, lots of props that look good and plenty of locations to choose from.
It’s just they had no one with common sense on set or writing the story to help them out with a plausible way for the SEALS to get captured in the first place. Of course one of the men are captured and two that got away follow him to rescue him from the bad guys as well as being fall guys for the whole plot against the faction and Army meeting.
The story was here but some decent subplots and many of the actual directing and production is just not done with common sense or plausible direction. Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia comes off as a very scripted and cheesy rescue film where the captured and hunted rescue themselves with all their great training.
With a little more thought and careful consideration the story could have been much better and made to be not more believable but more convincing as well as realistic. I have made my point and now onto the extras that are pretty decent and very much in contrast to the film.
There are two commentary tracks for the film as well as a series of additional content such as how they made the film, some gag reel stuff, the gadgets of the film and even, gasp, help from a real Marine drill instructor as advisor to the film. While I have a general respect for Marines as well as any military person who has served in our countries forces this guy did not help enough on the film.
The movie does contain a lot of interesting gadgets and scenes but the entire idea of their capture is the point I am trying to make and how the film shows its lack of direction. The SEALS team is supposed to recon or spy on the meeting yet they bring a huge rifle used to shoot vehicles and light armor, the 50 caliber sniper rifle called the Barret.
If this is a recon you would think they would bring a smaller, more silent version of a sniper rifle instead of a rifle with a half inch bullet that can cut a man in half. Instead they have this huge rifle that makes plenty of noise while firing and the bad guys sneaking around easily find the guy shooting that huge rifle and take him out.
I am just using this as an example of how they did things in the story that just do not make sense and how they could have done things a little different to entertain as well as make a plausible story. Other features of the additional content are pretty good and give a good feel for the how they made the film and filming locations.
Overall I was kind of disappointed with the film but pretty impressed with the bonus features, Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia is an above average film but that’s it. With a direct to DVD film you get about what you would expect from a film not deemed worthwhile for the theatres.