Basic

I should start by saying: I am not a joiner. I have a visceral aversion to authority – particularly the kind of authority that comes with uniforms and guns and swagger. The Military is simply my worst nightmare of brainless machismo and I get unbearably frustrated watching movies that celebrate the mindless abuse of power. Basic has some elements that make me chuck stuff at the tv (Samuel L Jackson’s charismatic-sadistic-psychopathic Sergeant, for instance) but on the whole the movie is saved by being a thriller rather than a war movie.

We’ve seen Military Thrillers before. We’ve even seen them with John Travolta in before (remember the tragic General’s Daughter?) And this is one of the better ones. Suffice it to say that Travolta is excellent and the rest of the cast – Jackson, Ribisi, the gorgeous Connie Nielson, the gorgeous Tim Daly, et al – are a collective class act.

Please don’t ask me to recount the plot though; there are too many twists and changes of identity and nefarious goings-on to recount in one little blog. Fortunately Director John McTiernan (who after all, made the first Die Hard) keeps everything moving along so quickly that you don’t really care. By the end, you’re just along for the joyride.