Behind Enemy Lines (Rental) (2001)

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Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Trailer-Bandits; Shallow Hal; Ice Age; Joe Somebody; Black Knight
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 101:27
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By John Moore

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Owen Wilson
Gene Hackman
Joaquim De Almeida
David Keith
Olek Krupa
Case ?
RPI Rental Music Don Davis

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Chris Burnett (Owen Wilson), aerial navigator for the US Navy, is bored with his lack of activity. Stuck aboard an aircraft carrier, he is persuaded by Commander Leslie Reigart (Gene Hackman) to fly just one last mission before packing his bags and leaving. Whilst on a routine reconnaissance mission over Bosnia, the aircraft is attacked and pursued by heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles, which, in an awesome sequence, eventually strike, forcing the pilots to eject. Once on the ground, a tense game of cat-and-mouse begins between the two stranded Americans and their enemy.

    Back on the carrier, Commander Reigart does all he can to locate his men in a bid to rescue them. What follows is some incredible action sequences mixed with contemporary camera techniques and editing. Going more for the action approach to war (a la Black Hawk Down) as opposed to the dramatic and emotional side (a la Platoon), newcomer John Moore’s Behind Enemy Lines was a pleasant surprise. The fact that comedic great Owen Wilson stars in the lead role as a war hero didn’t really attract my attention during the film’s fairly limited theatrical run. After giggling at Owen's funny face and voice for a while, I actually managed to take him seriously, and was surprised by his decent performance in the end. Adding to Wilson’s pretty boy looks, the clichéd title didn’t really do much either.

    There were only two reasons I wanted to review this title: the always excellent Gene Hackman, and awesome-looking action. Well, Gene was as solid as usual, albeit in a limited role, but it was the action that was the real winner here. One scene that must be mentioned was an obvious tip of the hat to Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Replacing the poison darts shooting out of the walls with trip wire equipped bombs, Owen Wilson’s character runs through, trying to jump the next trip wire, while at the same time dodging explosions either side of him. And the sound here is sensational.

    Shot stylistically for US$40 million, director Moore manages to add some eye candy to the awesome action set pieces. The camera is rarely fixed, and all sorts of post production techniques are implied, providing nothing really new, but nothing really unwanted. Behind Enemy Lines is essentially an action film, and should not be too deeply analysed or compared to other war classics such as Apocalypse Now, Platoon or Saving Private Ryan. I probably should be talking it down more than building it up, because if you go into it expecting a brilliant film, you will ultimately be let down. The reason I enjoyed it so much is because I expected a poor film. If you can put yourself into that frame of mind, you will be sure to come out smiling.

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Transfer Quality


     Being a recent film, Behind Enemy Lines looks great on DVD, and is of reference quality.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is incredibly sharp and clear, resulting in an almost 3D image at times. The amount of detail in the outdoor scenes is amazing. Everything is razor sharp and crystal clear for the entire running length of the film. Being a visually impressive film, a great video transfer is crucial, and that is what it gets.

    The film’s slightly muted colour scheme is represented perfectly, never bleeding or looking out of place. Flesh tones are dead on, and the contrast between blacks and whites never becomes distracting.

    There were no MPEG artefacts in this transfer at all. Some occasional grain that is barely worth mentioning was most noticeable at 87.22, lasting under 15 seconds. I noticed no aliasing, no edge enhancement and no film artefacts.

    This is a single sided single layered DVD 5, which means there is no layer change.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     This is a highly aggressive audio mix, and is of reference quality.

    There is only one audio track on this DVD, which is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Being a rental only release, one wonders if the sell-through version will include the dts track found on the Region 1 version.

    Dialogue remained clear throughout the entire feature. No hissing was evident, and all spoken words were always intelligible. Audio sync was always spot on, and never became a problem.

    The film’s musical score by Don Davis (The Matrix trilogy, Jurassic Park III) was enjoyable, adding to the tension throughout the feature. Perhaps not the most memorable score in recent times, but still fitting to the film.

    The surround channels were used very aggressively to support the action during most of the movie. Directionality was fantastic, following all sorts of ammunition and explosions surrounding the viewer.

    The subwoofer was also used to great effect, becoming thunderous at times. This is certainly demo material.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     Being a rental only release, there are no extra features.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 4 version of this DVD misses out on:

    At this stage, the Region 1 disc is a clear winner. I've read that the dts track is no real improvement over the already reference quality Dolby Digital track, but the extra features are sorely missed. Let's hope the sell-through version includes everything, including the dts track.


     Behind Enemy Lines came as a nice surprise, as I went into it expecting a generic action film. Proving to be more than just that, it added some great tension and some great eye candy. Not a brilliant film by any means, but certainly worth revisiting.

    The video transfer is of reference quality.

    The audio transfer is of reference quality.

    There are no extras on this rental-only release.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Pockett (If you're really bored, you can read my bio...)
Monday, June 24, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-525, using Component output
DisplayTeac 82cm 16x9. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
Speakers5 Sony speakers; Sherwood 12" 100w Powered Subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
Looks like no DTS yet again from Fox. [w/ Paragraphs] - Ben H (My biography. Go on have a read...)
Re: Looks like no DTS yet again from Fox - Roger (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
A response is in order me thinks... [w/ Paragraphs] - Ben H (My biography. Go on have a read...)
Re: A response is in order me thinks... - Roger (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
I woke up in the mood for a debate today, thanks for participating Roger! [w/ Paragraphs] - Ben H (My biography. Go on have a read...)
Re: I woke up in the mood for a debate today, thanks for participating Roger! - Roger (Some say he's afraid of the Dutch, and that he's stumped by clouds. All we know, this is his bio.)
A solution to DTS problem - Ray Jay Johnson
Maybe DTS? - Ben H (My biography. Go on have a read...)