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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 61:57)
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: DTS 5.1 Surround
    English, Hebrew, Czech, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Portuguese, Turkish, Icelandic, Croatian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  • 7 Deleted scenes
  • 2 Audio commentary
  • 2 Featurette

Behind Enemy Lines

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox . R4 . COLOR . 101 mins . MA15+ . PAL


The US Navy carrier USS Carl Vinson and its occupants are stationed in the Adriatic Sea during the civil conflict in Bosnia, working with the UN to maintain vigilance on proceedings. Their tour of duty is coming to an end and they are scheduled to return home within days. Chris Burnett (Owen Wilson) is tired of the navy life, tired of being inactive, and has given Admiral Reigart (Gene Hackman) his letter of resignation. Reigart informs Burnett that he must finish his remaining days of duty and then he will be free to go. Burnett and his pilot Stackhouse (Gabriel Macht) have been assigned the Christmas day reconnaissance mission, their job is to patrol over the safe zone and check there is nothing untoward going down.

While flying over the safe zone they notice activity nearby in an area where there should be none. They decide to check it out and engage their photographic equipment to record anything they may see. When they perform a flyover they discover mass graves being filled in by Serbian troops who are certainly not happy to see them. The commander of the Serbians orders that the plane be shot down to avoid anyone discovering what they are up to. The plane is grounded by heat seeking missiles and Burnett and Stackhouse eject in time, but land in hostile territory. Stackhouse is injured and is soon discovered by the Serbians. He is executed and the Serbians soon learn there is a second pilot and set about tracking him down to extinguish any witnesses. Fearing for his life, Burnett must avoid capture at all costs and make his way to a safe zone in order to be rescued by the US forces offshore.

Due to a mound of red tape, rescuing the grounded pilot isnít as easy as simply going in and getting him - the politics involved could cause a major incident. Admiral Reigart leads the push for a rescue attempt, but is forever banging his head against a wall. Meanwhile the game of cat and mouse between Burnett and Serbian killer Sasha (Vladimir Mashkov) is relentless through the mountains of Bosnia.

Behind Enemy Lines is really nothing more than a series of explosions interspersed with a very long chase, but it works terrifically. The film rolls along at a fast pace and keeps the viewer interested throughout. The action sequences are well done and the acting is as good as it needs to be. The whole thing is a little predictable, but who cares just as long as things blow up?

The producers have gone to great lengths to achieve military authenticity and this is evident for the most part. The most notable inaccuracy is the lack of saluting, something that would be the first thing taught in military school. Apart from a few minor indiscretions, the replication is accurate. Although based on actual events, one suspects due to military secrecy that the only actual event that really happened was the shooting down of a naval pilot during the Bosnian conflict and the rest has been Hollywoodised.

Being a combination of Top Gun, The Fugitive and any number of recently released war films, Behind Enemy Lines is enjoyable, as long as you can abide the nauseating US patriotism. The special effects are impressive, the pace of the film is admirable and the story, although predictable, is engaging. This is definitely worth a look for lovers of this genre.


Fox have done an exceptional job with this transfer. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced for those with wide screens. Picture is sharp and detail is outstanding. The only minor fault is the presence of some film artefacts in the form of black spots, but these are minor and hardly noticeable. Grain and aliasing are never a problem and the colour palette is accurate, with well saturated black levels. The layer change occurs at 61:57 during a scene change and is not intrusive. There is also a multitude of subtitles available and the English ones viewed are accurate. Overall this transfer is very close to reference quality.


A choice of Dolby Digital 5.1 or DTS 5.1 track are the minimal this film deserves and both deliver well. The DD 5.1 track is of fine quality and accompanies the excellent video transfer well, but the DTS track is naturally the track of choice for those with the capability. The DTS offers a much fuller sound and much more oomph than the 5.1. There really is nothing bad to say about this track, the separation is awesome, with missiles literally flying around the room. Dialogue is crystal clear throughout and the subwoofer gets a hammering. The track also handles quieter scenes with skill and delivers the music score of Don Davis well. There is never a problem with audio synch.


Some nice extras accompany this release that are informative and entertaining, although a noticeable absence is a theatrical trailer.

Behind the Scenes Featurette
With a brief running time of only 6:07 this is quite an informative featurette. It looks mostly at the aircraft carrier used for the film and also the joy ride of Owen Wilson in an actual navy plane, but it is too short.

Extended and Deleted Scenes
Containing seven scenes in total, this compilation includes alternate versions of the opening and closing credits along with some scenes that are entertaining. These scenes are available with audio commentary from director John Moore and editor Paul Martin Smith if required.

Pre-Vis Ejection Sequence
This feature is a computer generated storyboard looking at a crucial scene from the film. It is quite interesting and again available with commentary. It has a running time of 5:25 and is a nice addition.

Audio Commentaries
There is a choice of two audio commentary tracks available with this release. The first is with director John Moore and editor Paul Martin Smith. The two discuss many aspects of the film and provide some interesting facts. Both have head colds but still supply an engaging commentary. The second commentary is with producers John Davis and Wyck Godfrey. It's not as good a commentary as the first, but it's still quite interesting. They provide a lot of production information, but their delivery is a little dull. Both commentaries are a welcome addition and I donít want to sound ungrateful, but perhaps one with the cast would have been worthy here too?


Overall Behind Enemy Lines is a high quality action film that is well paced and entertaining. The video transfer is very good and the audio is of reference quality, throw in some decent extras and this is well worth adding to the collection if you enjoy quality action films. Just ignore the US patriotism and predictability and enjoy.

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      And I quote...
    "A quality action flick for those that love to see things being blown up!"
    - Adrian Turvey
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