Basic (2003) - Action, Crime, Drama

Hohum Score



A D.E.A. Agent investigates the disappearance of a legendary Army Ranger Drill Sergeant and several of his cadets during a training exercise gone severely awry.

IMDB: 6.5
Director: John McTiernan
Stars: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson
Length: 98 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 63 out of 306 found boring (20.58%)

One-line Reviews (227)

Generally I find films that do this somewhat annoying, often because tricking the audience becomes an end in itself; THE USUAL SUSPECTS, for all its craft, seemed pretty empty to me, say, beyond the ha-ha-fooled-you punchline at the end; it wasn't ABOUT anything, other than fooling the audience, demonstrating how gullible we are.

Confusing does not equal clever .

Admittedly, I haven't seen a good one of his since "Thomas Crown Affair" (a remake), but I hoped "Basic" would work on some enjoyable level.

His character was funny and exciting.

The story isn't so basic, which might be the film's understatement; it's confusing enough remembering who is who, but you'll just give up on it once you're done being pulled around like a yo-yo in its plot and then a pointless twist.

If you think that you'll need to take a break in between, you better don't even start watching it because the entire story is so confusing and so many plot twists make it almost impossible to watch it, unless you can keep focused.

hard to follow .

To realize how confusing the plot is, take a look at the contents in Wikipedia.

But the problem is that in trying to explore this curious dichotomy the movie becomes confusing and misleading and ultimately you just sit back and let it happen in front of you without feeling at all involved with the story.

Entagled and gripping .


I actually thought this was a fairly intriguing story that kept me into it.

I'd rate the movie 7 for the suspense as I kind of like watching movies that has something thrilling to offer.

), moody and atmospheric direction, and gripping flashbacks.

He was so intense as an instructor that I would hate to be one of his cadets.

This is an engaging, if frequently, baffling thriller.

`Basic' is a relatively entertaining mystery movie that delights in pulling the rug out from under its audience at regular intervals.

Utter waste of time.

I thought it original to a point, well acted out, and while predictable on a couple points, for the most part, leaving me wondering when we would find out the absolute truth of what the heck was going on...

Directed by John McTiernan and written by James Vanderbilt, this is a convoluted mess of twisty reveals and confusing flashbacks.

An Entertaining, Twisty Mystery Thriller With Some Cool Action .

I saw this movie with a bunch of guys from my floor and we all really enjoyed it.

The pieces of the puzzle do not fit together, and the movie is more confusing than anything.

Judging by the majority of what most people who watched this movie think, I figure I must be retarded or something, because I actually enjoyed it.

It's fast paced and a good ride with fun plot twists along the way.

But this movie had a great story line and some great twists and very entertaining and suspenseful.

I viewed it a second time and was bored again after 10 minutes.

All in all it was lackluster, pedestrian and very unnecessarily violent film with some gripping thrills.

Boring Stuff .

Neilson's wonderfully semi-innocent naive sincerity as she goes about straight-forwardly doing her job of investigation, as she slowly learns to question what she is seeing and Travolta's confident forceful swagger, work together very well in this energetic, compelling and unpredictable well-done thriller.

indeed for about an hour or so, this is an unusually absorbing film; you feel like you're "in" the action, not just watching it.

Don't waste your time with this.

they ALL did great to make me entertained unexpectedly on an otherwise boring evening, and I for one appreciate the hell out of it.

Beyond all of this, the premise has all the makings for a really intriguing movie.

A more enjoyable experience after a second viewing.

The characters and the visuals are dampened by the confusion of the intrigue.

Interesting and exciting film with good interpretation by John Travolta .

Even though the film boasts plenty of twists and turns the way it is filmed is pretty basic and there's lots of talking resulting in at times quite a boring movie.

They spend so much time bickering that it's boringly clear they'll be an "item" eventually.

This movie is sort of "A Few Good Men", "Courage Under Fire" and "Broken Arrow" blended together in an unpredictable and entertaining way.

It is incredibly entertaining.

Directed by John McTiernan, Basic is mind boggling movie that captivates the viewers to an extent.

basically a waste of time .

Pointless cast decision.

One thing you'll notice is that when you read reviews of Basic, the reviewers seem to have a tendency to write a lot of filler (kind of like what I'm doing now), because the structure of this movie is so confusing and complex that it's so hard to follow what's happening.

I for one am tired of watching all those supposedly suspenseful movies that use purely artificial tricks such as "It was all a dream.

Silly confusing movie .

Luckily, the fair acting, intriguing plot and entertaining action outweighs the confusion, 7.5/10.

There are at least four scenes that seem important but are either meaningless or just confusing.

Even if it is confusing and a little hard to follow, it's a good premise, and it is an entertaining mystery.

If you can figure out the ending, "more power to ya" Basic Training movies are usually boring and very predictable, not so with this one.

Sammy, as always, does a great job, albeit quite cliché, in being the bastard outranker with that sinister smile.

Stunning visuals in this case would distract the audience from the main body of the film.

Fascinating mystery with fine performances.

The twists and turns of the screenplay dont have the same effect when covered with attrocious acting, bad camerawork and disjointed editing.

The plot started off really well, and had me on the edge of my seat in a lot of scenes.

Otherwise though, it is nowhere near engaging as any of his previous films with the obvious exception of the mess that was Rollerball.

You gotta love a movie that takes you on an entertaining free ride - plot twists and turns galore - then only to fool you in the end.

In addition, films like this rely on how snappy the dialog is.

The boredom that is!

Spoiler alert Ok to start off there was no way Roselyn Sanchez with her beatiful body and face have joined the army, second of all we dont read the script and we are not in derecting the movie therefore we have no way to know what the charectors names are without getting depth added to their stories and there was none there was no foreshadowing just a whole bunch of bull for like most of the movie and the last 10 was just to tell us that weve been duped sooooooooooooooo stupid, mortal combat letme relax this movie had me up and listening and into the movie like i was travolta's actor him being the ranger that became a DEA agent let me tell you something boys and girls that doesnt happen and then to throw another brick in the blander he makes soooooooooo many plot twists that he actually makes me want to know what the movie was about otherwise if it wAsnt so confusing i wouldnt have given it another thought!

I saw the DVD version, but if I'd seen it in a theatre, I'd have walked out shaking my head and chuckling at the end.

mostly unwatchable .

If you like movies that are condescending and pointless, then this movie should be BASIC for you.

Runtime film is overlong but is fast-moving and for that reason is amusing .

John Travolta, as usual, is fascinating to watch and the story keep your interest throughout.

The dialogue was well done but the pacing was too slow.

I read a review in my local paper saying that this film was boring.

It's indeed a good thriller which is quite intriguing to watch in terms of visuals (it seems to be dank, dark, and raining pretty much all of the time which makes the visual aspect different than most films, and surely must have been a pain for the cast and crew during shooting!

The whole movie keeps you on the edge of your seat and was just a great movie.

For the most part of the movie I was thinking about rating it with an eight but towards the end it got way too confusing that I had to change my ratings.

A cheap shock instead of logical and stunning conclusion.

All in all 'Basic' is a good thriller that is a little complex and confusing for the casual movie fan.

A Story so confusing I'm still figuring it out.

Basic starts out as a fun and engaging popcorn flick.

The ridiculous number of plot twist scenarios became tiresome very quickly and I got to the stage where I thought I must have been having a bad dream because there is no way I could actually be sitting in a cinema watching this convoluted dogs dinner of a movie.

Throw in Giovanni Ribisi as the homosexual, shot-full-of-holes, sole-surviving member of Sam's troop, and it looks like we should have some entertaining acting, at least.

Basic has been panned by critics but in several ways is quite underrated and overall intriguing and an entertaining drama thriller.

The number of people in the training mission and trying to put names with them, also the flashbacks makes it confusing.

Like I said, It was entertaining for most of the couple of hours I spent watching it.

It's one of those movies with plenty of action, but not the kind of easy entertainment, you really have to focus all the time as there are so many twists and turns it just becomes difficult to follow.

The whole film feels disjointed and badly directed, while not a complete disaster like director John McTiernan's last film, "Rollerball," this one comes pretty close.

This is technically the worst movie I have seen.

At times you get the feeling that the movie wanted to be an action film, and that it is itself as bored by the talky parts as the audience is.

Awful, tedious, implausible and simply not entertaining.

Yes, it WAS confusing .

" All the actors gave great performances and I liked all the unexpected twists this movie unraveled.

The attempt at a `Roshomon'-like flashback structure - in which the same event is viewed through the conflicting testimonies of multiple eyewitnesses - often leads to more confusion than clarity, resulting in the audience scratching its head wondering just what is actually going on here.

pretty entertaining .

Another reason was because of John Travolta's downward slope since the absolutley unbearable "Battlefield Earth".

Another flaw was the visuals but usually stunning visuals are made for a different type of film.

Along the way, we are treated to a lot of shouting, and typical subplots about a non accepted gay character, a black recruit who is picked upon and a drug running operation involving a local doctor played admirably by Harry Connick Jr. Ho-Hum.

It was entertaining; however, all the different accounts of what happened in the jungle made it very confusing at the end, when we learn the twist.

I laughed to myself as I came to realize that this movie has a paper-thin plot, and the filmmakers all tricked us by taking so many twists and turns and throwing so many confusion bones at the audience and making us believe that the underlying plot of the film was something deep.

'Die Hard with a Vengeance' is very enjoyable.

It is filled with dramatic interrogation scenes which, although clichéd, do still serve to be reasonably gripping.

Basic is full of dreary speeches and only piecemeal action scenes.

Excellent acting and a good pace make this film well worth watching.

Is this plot confusing?

Equally bad though more laughably entertaining is Giovanni Ribisi who must give the worst performance ever of a gay person.

I don't know the lead actress's work, so I don't know if it's her or the directing, but the line delivery, flirtation, anger, was bland.

It could've have been an enjoyable mystery but instead is a pointless exercise in the 'bait and switch' tactics film-makers now enjoy writing with their sixth sense.

Throw in a bunch of dark scenes, rain, noise, indistinguishable characters, constantly changing plot, a few snappy lines and you basically have a mess.

If you enjoy thinking about films -- if you understood what I just said about DIE HARD, f'rinstance -- then you'll probably find BASIC a passably entertaining piece of cinema; if nothing else, it reveals that the world is almost ready for women to have careers (still a troubled area in most Hollywood fare).

The movie was gripping until the end when the plot twisted four times in 20 minutes.

The visual style of the movie gives the impression of constantly being on the edge of action.

The worst movie of the year.

The final act in particular almost single-handedly wrecks the film, it tries to take on far too many twists and pretty much every single one of them attempted is confusing and ridiculous and then it ends on such an incomplete-feeling note.

But the film, by confusing and tricking the audience, makes it appear as if something is there, which is almost as good as if something really is there.

The trailers for "Basic" look exciting, it has a dream cast (I could listen to Samuel Jackson swearing all day long),....

They're trying to prevent their movie is predictable, so they add so many twists to the plot that it really becomes illogical.

It was boring and confusing.

This story of a rangers sergeant and some of his subordinates disappearance during an exercise in the middle of a heavy storm in the forest surrounding the Panama Canal which later turns itself also into a story of drug trafficking and corruption is told in a much confused and confusing way with each participant telling it to the inquirers a different way which is shown in repeated flashbacks, lacks imagination and makes it a rather weak plot.

Technically the worst movie I've ever seen .

It was entertaining from beginning to end.

Despite the negative aspects, this film is a lot better than I thought it would be, and was an entertaining 2 hours or so.

It is definitely worth watching once, at least to see if you can keep up with the story.

And so even though it's an okay movie, it's still a waste of time.

save your money.

That must be simple enough to follow and guaranteed no plot twists there.

Now by the time you are done watching this movie, chock-full of "twists," the arm is disjointed, maybe even broken, because for every twist, and then the figuring out which one is right, you find that it is impossible to comprehend this film.

It was a gigantic waste of my time.

But each of these movies were suspenseful in real time.

I watched in slow amazement as Samuel's character took flight after the interview with the young soldier, started.

That being said, it's an intriguing thriller with great acting, great direction, and of course is action-packed so it won't get boring.

However, the trick turnabout ending goes a long way towards clearing things up – or making them even more confusing, depending on how you look at it.

That crazy repetition of one twist after another drained the intended impact, and made the movie absolute dull!

This movie had a lot of hype about it- but basically I think it was the marketing dept just trying to get the studio to break even on this waste of time.

What I'm saying is that the movie is incoherent and the narrative is (purposely I guess, to give a sense of continuous twists) confusing.

but it can only do that so many times before the viewer becomes outright bored and confused.

Utterly unwatchable flick about a lot of rain and a "secret society" of military morons called Section 8 that the viewer never gets to know and could care less about.

The female lead is worth watching, and we can only hope to see her more often in better movies.

All in all it is a pleaser for Travolta fans and defiantly worth a rental on a dull Wedensday afternoon.

Definitely a good paced action and thought provoking military story that leads you and keeps you from any stretch of 'Boredom'.

Here he does his "thing" with ease as a true professional would and it ends up being entertaining.

He should have been the perfect person to direct considering the genre, but clearly bit off far more than he could actually chew, he struggles to make the film compelling and loses control.

In fairness, however it did maintain most of my interest throughout as I was concerned with the mystery of it all, but the plot became a little too big for itself in the end and was left both with a feeling of confusion about certain points and with a feeling of disappointment at what seemed quite a contrived ending.

Like the first time I saw it, it remains a highly enjoyable diversion, though the film's ultimate intent was still to jerk the audience around with as many plot twists as possible.

its very entertaining, although a little stupid.

Mixed feelings about a confusing premise...

Basic actually is a good thriller ,It captures the viewer's attention slowly and gradually ,That is helped by specific use elements both technically and plotting ,The pouring rain during the movie events helped to raise the attention level by casting a dark atmosphere ,There is also some plot devices thrown here and there to help the forming of the movie's conclusion ,Some or many viewers complained about some thing strange which is the movie was full of twists ,In close inspection for this complaint you can't help but admire the script written by James Vinderbilt ,It may seems a little bit complicated and hard to follow when the two survivors begin to tell what's happened out there in the jungle with every one of them telling completely different story ,But this is not the vital element here and soon many other truths are revealed which leads us to the conclusion which I can't see anything wrong with ,It's just seems unpredictable at all and this may bothers some people .

Travolta is average, Jackson is stereotypical and it got dull!

The second to last twist was telegraphed, trite, and so weakly justified that it didn't work.

The script sets up an immediate and pointless clash with the chief legal officer, played by Connie Nielsen whom I just saw in "The Hunted" in a similar role; I guess she's Hollywood's "cojones chick" for now.

This movie is worth watching with friends and then worth a debate about the level of coherence of its scenario.

QUESTION : Why make a film unwatchable?

Your "Basic" good Entertaining Detective/Thriller Drama .

Very Confusing .

But the teaming of Jackson and Travolta always is worth watching

Too much confusion .

The plot is boring.

Basic tries to up the ante with the plot twists (over and over and over and over again) but after about the 10th twist in the plot, it gets very tiresome.

Tagged by many critics as overly predictable despite trying to be the complete opposite, BASIC is nevertheless a strong, original and entertaining film.

This film was very entertaining.

dumb movie good actors no plot too many twists i give it a 4/10

With all the flashback storytelling it gets confusing.

unexpected, the whole time.

Must be entertaining!

Now this is a movie that is made with an intelligent idea, made to be twisty, but instead of something like a suspenseful thriller that ends with a slam-bang intelligent twist, this movie trades in any suspense in favor of twists--and wastes a cast to die for.

I saw it for what it was, an entertaining, well paced and well acted movie.

And I would say that they really kept things engaging and entertaining through out the whole movie, and if there was anyone who could say that they knew the ending even after half the movie without actually evaluating what they have already seen, I don't believe you.

Basic is underrated but if you want something intense and want to be on the edge of your seat you should see it.

Unfortunately, by nothing happening at all, the ending completely negates everything we had seen up to that point, leaving the audience with the worst feeling that a movie can give, the feeling that you just wasted 95 minutes.

While on a training a storm hits the unexpected and thus they are forced to land in middle of the jungle.

Sadly, "Basic" is another example of a potentially good movie ruined by bad screen writing or rather, pretentious screen writing.

Me, personally, I found it entertaining enough to not mind being taken for a long long walk around the proverbial tree.

i recommend this movie if you are in the mood for a good suspenseful mystery.

Compared to many dumbed-down predictable movies being made these days, Basic is a refreshing change.

One downside is the names gotta pretty confusing especially they are referring them sometimes by the first name and sometimes by the last.

Strong, Original, Entertaining .

Entertaining B-movie that does that make sense at all .

The plot is very simple, but also rather dull.

Basic engages your attention pretty early on and keeps you guessing throughout with the twists and turns in the storyline and its refreshingly unexpected ending.

There are a few cracks in the story and it is a little unbelievable in stages, but as an overall reflection I would say this was a very entertaining, clever film and worth a watch.

And even more confusing is the fact that Kendall seems to be showing Dunbar in a guilty light despite the fact that he saved Kendall's life.

McTiernan has definitively lost his gift for action: everything is noisy and confusing.

This movie is quite confusing, but it's entertaining to try to find out what really is the truth.

There was one scene in the last half-hour that I felt was rather predictable, or should I say…basic.

A Wee Bit Slow .

The thing is you are trying to follow what is happening (especially in the first viewing) and you even might have a suspicion about who the actual bad guy is, but the convulsive script combined with John McTiernan's erratic direction, have as a result a movie that is ultimately confusing.

basic, boring, bland .

There are movies that make you think, there are movies that are thought provoking, and then there are movies that are so pointless that they aren't even worth wasting a bit of brain power on.

Therefore, the movie, though frustratingly difficult to follow at times, is entertaining.

I'd not heard of this movie before Malaysia Airlines served it up on a recent evening flight to Kuala Lumpur, and as a way to while away 100 otherwise dull minutes, it was perfectly acceptable.

I don't want to give away the ending, but it was crazy confusing.

It is not a great classic, but it is a solid action, detective, and suspenseful movie that is rare these days, and can hold it's own proudly with other such wanna-be's that are to be missed...

Nope, more twists, these are kinda of dull and blah.

Overall, this film was a well thought out, entertaining film even after it had ended.

Contrived .

This is a very good and thrilling film.

Well worth watching.

In terms of style the movie is definitely dark and confusing with too many unreal flash blacks trying to help us understand.

They've been used to death, they're cliché, they're just lame cop-outs that show that you cannot write a good story.

Great mystery thriller with a lot of unexpected surprises and nail biting performances that keep you interested till the epilogue!

I thought this movie was extremely entertaining.

John McTierman directs this sometime confusing, but intriguing military drama.

For this kind is well thought out but has small glitches with the sudden twists of the situation but also an exciting moment when we find true soldier Dunbar race.

Direction by John McTiernan is outstanding and stunning .

The action scenes were fun to look at even through all the confusion of the plot.

In a world that where movies with a storyline are sparse, here is one that is both engaging and fun.

Very engrossing film, I was on the edge of my seat for the whole movie, wondering exactly what happened to Seargent West.

the hated taskmaster gets "fragged" and now they all have to figure out what to do next, that could've made for a pretty compelling flick along the lines of "Attack" with Jack Palance, Lee Marvin and Eddie Albert in an amazing pre-"Green Acres" performance.

It is entertaining, which in the end, is the objective.

Confusing .

There's a whole lot of deep analysis going on here, but in the end, since so many others have analyzed this to death, I would recommend just watching it with an open mind and seeing if you find it entertaining.

And he is a exciting as white bread.

All the action consists of battle scenes that take place in flashbacks, but they're violent, visceral, and entertaining.

I have a feeling that Basic is going to be remembered more for it's confusing screenplay than anything else.

An intense thriller.

Unwatchable for anybody with military knowledge .

Jackson is a suspenseful thriller that will hold your attention to the very end.

The screenwriter (maybe the director took some "artistic license") was sloppy and that's the reason for my poor rating, aside from the lack of story tightness.

Half of the reviews here state that Basic is too confusing and hard to understand while the other half is so proud to say they managed to understand the movie.

Basic is a Thrilling and Interesting Movie .

However, the last half hour was so utterly outlandish and confusing that my enjoyment in what felt to be a clever film just plummeted.

Travolta is doing a good job actually, but he is not the protagonist and I had a hard time relating to him, also because of the confusing plot.

So many twist and confusing plot.

I did have a good nap in the middle of the show, however, so all was not wasted, and what I did watch (and could see) was entertaining, to a degree.

Despite starting off well, 'Basic' derails quickly and gets increasingly tedious and convoluted to the point of incoherence.

It was a very fast paced and engaging movie, and it had its "OH!

A good watch if you want to understand a movie and if it is worth watching twice.

From mundane mistakes such as West's rank and Osbourne's jacket to considerable ones such as the uniforms, I admit that there were many mistakes or contradictions in the movie.

This film is contrived and convoluted and goes so far over the top that I thought maybe one of the characters was just having a weird dream and we were watching it.

I would not recommend this as something worth seeing, unless you savour endless monologues and cheap, often boring action scenes.

The picture blends action , suspense , whodunit , thriller , emotions and is pretty entertaining .

Basic Boredom .

It was way too confusing.