Bullet Points: Behind Enemy Lines (1997)
In this installment of Bullet Points I’ll be reviewing the 1997 movie, Behind Enemy Lines starring Thomas Ian Griffith.
If you were expecting that this was a review of the Owen Wilson/Gene Hackman Behind Enemy Lines that came out in 2001, I apologize for the confusion. And to clear up any other possible confusion, this is also not a review of the 1986 version of Behind Enemy Lines that starred David Carradine, Mako and Steve James. This is also not a review of Behind Enemy Lines (1987) that starred Robert Patrick. And this is most certainly not a review of the 1985 TV Movie, Behind Enemy Lines starring Hal Holbrook.
- Prologue: Weston and Jones, a pair of former marines running ops for the CIA, are on a mission to obtain nuclear triggers that became available on the black market after the Cold War ended. They get intel on when and where the exchange is going to be made with plans of crashing the party. But things don’t go as planned for anyone involved. General Nguy, the Vietnamese General looking to buy the triggers for nefarious purposes, ends up with a bullet in his leg instead free of charge. Jones is presumed dead after he sacrifices himself so Weston can get away with the triggers, but in an ironic twist Weston drops the attache case with the triggers in the river as he is making his way to da choppa, so mission not accomplished and he lost his friend!
- One Year Later: Mike Weston (Thomas Ian Griffith) gave up the mercenary life, bought a boat and is now living in Tahiti, just like he and his buddy Jones always dreamed about. Weston’s boat has a crew, three Marine wash outs Donny, Luther (who I instantly recognized from his first film Lean on Me) and Church. Church is played by Courtney Gains and I honestly think I could be mistaken for a former Marine long before anyone would think a beanpole like Gains could have ever been a Marine. But I digress… Weston is paid a visit by Col. Wolfe, his commanding officer during the infamous trigger mission from a year ago. He wants Mike to go back to Vietnam for a second chance to recover the nuclear triggers and the hook… Jones is still alive! That means Mike Weston is going BEHIND ENEMY LINES! (DING!)
- Reunited: Weston and his friend Jones are reunited shortly after Weston arrives in Vietnam, but not under the conditions that Weston was hoping for. After he arrives in Nam and catches up with an old contact there named Phred, Weston goes to his motel where he is soon harassed by the local authorities and then taken to jail after they “find” some drugs in his room. When his case comes to trial, guess who the judge is?!? None other than a now limping and cane using, General Nguy. Nguy still wants those triggers and he has no intentions of letting Weston go until he gets them, so he locks up Weston along with his old buddy Jones until he can get Weston to tell him where the triggers are.
- Meanwhile Back in Tahiti: Donny, Luther and Church are paid an unexpected visit by a young lady looking for Mike Weston, we find out that this young lady is Mike’s younger sister, Kat. She is concerned for Mike, since she had not heard from him, then when she finds out where he went off to, she decides she’s going to go find him and Donny, Luther and Church are going too. Do you know what that means? That means they are now going BEHIND ENEMY LINES! (DING!)
Behind Enemy Lines (1997) is a solid action movie from top to bottom. There were no dull spots and the action and the story flow and it naturally builds up to the final showdown between Weston and his crew and Nguy and his army. It was fun to see Griffith in a military role after having seen him in the maverick cop role a few times in movies like Excessive Force and Crackerjack. The entire cast, even Courtney Gains, added value to the movie and had that all important chemistry that made you believe these were a group of people who cared about one another and you wanted to see them all get out alive… even Courtney Gains.
While I can’t recommend the other four versions of Behind Enemy Lines, since I have never seen them. I would recommend the Thomas Ian Griffith version. I’d also recommend you check out these bonus Behind Enemy Lines Bullet Points…
- Best Exchange: “I’m gonna rip your f***’n heart out!” – Weston “I have no heart!” – Nguy
- If You Ever: …wanted to see a guy get pissed on while he’s hiding in the jungle, then this is the movie for you.
- Familiar Faces: Adam Gifford, the guy who plays Blakely, Col. Wolfe’s right hand man, has appeared in a number of action films including Street Knight with Jeff Speakman and Crash Dive with Michael Dudikoff. Blakely ended up being one of my favorite characters in this movie… You may also recognize veteran actor, James Karen, who I will always associate with the Arnold classic, Hercules in New York.
- Nice Name: Spanky Manikan, who plays General Nguy in Behind Enemy Lines (1997) also had a role in Behind Enemy Lines (1986).