Basic

User Score
4.3

Mixed or average reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 43
  2. Negative: 20 out of 43

Where To Watch

Stream On
Stream On
Stream On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling

User Reviews

  1. Aug 13, 2010
    5
    I am the kind of film viewer who has the knack of losing a plot. Very quickly. So when I came to the end of Basic for the first time, thoroughly confused and befuddled, I supposed it was just me and that I needed to get my brain in gear next time. But it wasn't just me and no amount of brain power seems to help sort fact from fiction in this foggy mystery. Travolta and Nielsen playI am the kind of film viewer who has the knack of losing a plot. Very quickly. So when I came to the end of Basic for the first time, thoroughly confused and befuddled, I supposed it was just me and that I needed to get my brain in gear next time. But it wasn't just me and no amount of brain power seems to help sort fact from fiction in this foggy mystery. Travolta and Nielsen play ex-ranger Tom Hardy and Captain Osbourne who are thrown together to investigate the disappearance of Sgt. West (Jackson) in a training exercise. Cue a baffling maze of twists and turns in which some of the key players are there and then not; some are killed off and then not; one turns out to be another...or not? And so on... but you do have to admire Osbourne for sticking it out and unravelling it all at the end. If it was me overseeing this mess, a bottle of wine and a darkened room would be where I was headed. I enjoyed the dark jungle action sequences, Jackson getting mad and the sort of chemistry Travolta and Nielsen had in their roles, but a lot of this was lost in the fog that shrouded much of this film. If like me, you are attracted by the Jackson / Travolta combo, you may be disappointed to find they share about five minutes on screen. Just don't expect to care much about either of their characters by the time it happens. Expand
  2. EmilyA.
    Jan 25, 2007
    8
    I really enjoyed this movie. John Travolta and Sam Jackson are two of my favorite actors. I thought the twist behind it was very creative. At the end I just had to laugh! All the way through the movie you think it is something very serious and then Boom!
  3. DonnieB.
    Jul 27, 2006
    9
    It is amazing to see how the world is full of sub-intelligent moviewatchers and critics, who find it hard or impossible to understand a more complicated plot then the one of "Lassie". Such people feel insulted by their own weak ability to comprehend anything more complicated than a wooden edge, so in frustration give a 0 for movies that make people think. What would you give for Revolver? It is amazing to see how the world is full of sub-intelligent moviewatchers and critics, who find it hard or impossible to understand a more complicated plot then the one of "Lassie". Such people feel insulted by their own weak ability to comprehend anything more complicated than a wooden edge, so in frustration give a 0 for movies that make people think. What would you give for Revolver? A minus 5?? It's a surprisingly good movie, with an excellent script - if you like to think besides chewing popcorn, watch it! Expand
  4. TimP.
    May 8, 2006
    10
    A clever thriller from start to finish - highly recommended for those who have a decent attention span. A nightmare for those who don't!
  5. MattS.
    Feb 23, 2005
    9
    The movie is a blast just from the title itself. Come on 'Basic' and it is a complete mind game. Someone complained about not really knowing what happens, well if you really watch it, you get a large portion of the movie from putting pieces together. I see it as you either love or hate this movie, no real in between. The turns and twists either lose your attention or keep you to The movie is a blast just from the title itself. Come on 'Basic' and it is a complete mind game. Someone complained about not really knowing what happens, well if you really watch it, you get a large portion of the movie from putting pieces together. I see it as you either love or hate this movie, no real in between. The turns and twists either lose your attention or keep you to your seat, and I'm one who enjoyed the ride. I did thing the turns were getting crazy, and had to pause the dvd to think about the connections, but i have rarely been so into a movie all the way through. The plot is more of based on different story-telling flashbacks rather than a complete story being put together like traditional movies where you have the start, the rise, and then the closing. A great piece of a complete mind game that you have to be willing to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Just my opinion, great to hear what others thought! Expand
  6. RobertB.
    Nov 24, 2004
    3
    I personally understand exactly what happened in this movie, and I'm still giving it a low score, Luke G. The good news about this movie is that it manages to hold your attention for the majority of it. However, the plot twists are completely absurd. Lines of the story begin, and are cut off as soon as they serve their purpose to the major plot of the movie. And the ending? I I personally understand exactly what happened in this movie, and I'm still giving it a low score, Luke G. The good news about this movie is that it manages to hold your attention for the majority of it. However, the plot twists are completely absurd. Lines of the story begin, and are cut off as soon as they serve their purpose to the major plot of the movie. And the ending? I expected it to be something shocking, but I instead found myself wondering, "Who cares?" Overall, I would say worth a watch, if you can watch it for free. Otherwise, don't waste your money. Expand
  7. LukeG.
    Nov 6, 2004
    9
    [***SPOILERS***] (only small ones) It riles me that so many idiots diss this movie with a 0. Basic is hard to understand, very unlikely to ever happen, but not total unplausable. People don't give Gladiator a 0 because it would never happen and isn't feasable (yeah as if some gladiator could ever kill the Roman Emperor) or automatically rate action movies 0 because every second [***SPOILERS***] (only small ones) It riles me that so many idiots diss this movie with a 0. Basic is hard to understand, very unlikely to ever happen, but not total unplausable. People don't give Gladiator a 0 because it would never happen and isn't feasable (yeah as if some gladiator could ever kill the Roman Emperor) or automatically rate action movies 0 because every second scene is some stupid action move that is physically impossible. So why is everyone so quick to lay into Basic when the plot is hard to understand (and it has *some* small holes, but no more than most other thriller movies). Jackson is great. Even though he's not in the movie a huge amount, his presence is built up amazingly. Travolta also plays a great role. I really enjoyed the flashbacks with conflicting stories, and all the twists and turns. I also loved the tense filled scenes in the bunker when they are trying to work out who shot who and who should be shot next. If people said the movie was a little unplauable at the end (a certain luckily timed shooting of a certain drug runner) I would say you have a point, but the drama and story-teller through the middle was awesome. Besides, any movie where Jackson stands in the rain with a cape then procedes to shoot and knife people deserves at least a 5. Not cause i'm some action junky but he's just such a good actor. Before people right shit like 'this should be called Basic Garbage' and think they are smart, maybe they should try to get past the fact that they only hate this movie cause they are too stupid to have figured out what actually happened. Even if you hate the plot and think it's stupid, you can't deny the great acting and great story-telling flashbacks. Expand
  8. MichaelM.
    Oct 23, 2004
    5
    Before I saw this movie I thought it was going to be terrible! Mostly because of John McTiernan's last film, Rollerball, which was probably one of the worst filmed and thought out movies made. Another reason was because of John Travolta's downward slope since the absolutley unbearable "Battlefield Earth". The only reason I went to see 'Basic' was because of Samuel L. Before I saw this movie I thought it was going to be terrible! Mostly because of John McTiernan's last film, Rollerball, which was probably one of the worst filmed and thought out movies made. Another reason was because of John Travolta's downward slope since the absolutley unbearable "Battlefield Earth". The only reason I went to see 'Basic' was because of Samuel L. Jackson is one of my favorite actors of all time. But, when those credits started to role at the end of feature, I thought to myself, "That wasn't that bad. Actually, it was kind of good." The film had very interesting plot twists. The plot twists never stopped though. Hell, it had more twists than a bag of pretzels. The story is about a army trained DEA Agent Tom Hardy (John Travolta) who with the help of Lt. Julia Osborne (Connie Nielsen) investigates the disappearance of a training Sgt. named West (Samuel L. Jackson) and his soldiers during a training mission in a rain forest. Only two of Sgt. West's soldiers are found Dunbar (Brian Van Holt) and a General's son Kendall (Giovanni Ribisi) and they are questioned by Tom and Lt. Osborne, and both survivors give different stories about what happened in that rain forest. But who are Tom and Lt. Osborne going to believe? The film also stars Timothy Daly, Taye Diggs, Roselyn Sanchez, Harry Connick, Jr., Dash Mihok and Cristian de la Fuente. The film is good, but isn't very good. I recommend you wait for DVD. (3/30/03) Expand
  9. Jeremy
    Oct 16, 2003
    4
    Yet another film that rips off Usual Suspects but fails to grasp the magic of that movie: Without a good story and interesting characters, we don't care about the twists and turns.
  10. Kyle
    Oct 10, 2003
    0
    [***SPOILERS***] How can a cast of such prominent actors agree to do the most idiotic screenplay since Battlefield Earth? 50% of the movie was wasted watching travolta interrigate a soldier when the truth of the matter was they are both completely making everything up. This may not have been so moronic except when you add the fact that they are both working together as undercover[***SPOILERS***] How can a cast of such prominent actors agree to do the most idiotic screenplay since Battlefield Earth? 50% of the movie was wasted watching travolta interrigate a soldier when the truth of the matter was they are both completely making everything up. This may not have been so moronic except when you add the fact that they are both working together as undercover narcotics agents. In the end it's not even clear who they are working for! If you took the first 8 minutes, then added the last 3 minutes, nothing would have been lost plotwise, seriously. I havent hated a movie this much since Congo. At least in battlefield Earth you could spot the flaws as the movie went along. In this sorry script you have to watch for 95 minutes so at the very end you can conclude that the whole movie was a farce that gave no clues whatsoever to what was really happening. What the hell was really happening anyway? Expand
  11. TheLegacyOfGilbertMulroneycakes
    Jul 12, 2003
    4
    Some films eventually disappear up their own arse, like a large percentage of the works of David Lynch, or Donnie Darko (but the latter only at the very last moment, and it was fun getting there). But then some films seem to live in their own arse, and end up spill out of their mouths and leaving a mess on the floor. This is one of them. It's unfortunate, because there's good Some films eventually disappear up their own arse, like a large percentage of the works of David Lynch, or Donnie Darko (but the latter only at the very last moment, and it was fun getting there). But then some films seem to live in their own arse, and end up spill out of their mouths and leaving a mess on the floor. This is one of them. It's unfortunate, because there's good stuff in here, but the plot twists around so many times that you get to a point where you don't know what's going on, and from there you decide that you don't care either. Travolta's made a good comeback; he wants to be careful he doesn't bugger it up again. Have to say, though, comparing this to Battlefield Earth is ridiculous - that film is the Alpha and the Omega of crap. This is just misguided. Expand
  12. Jack
    Jul 8, 2003
    8
    Silly nonsense, but the twists and turns are tons of fun if you play along and just enjoy the ride.
  13. S.B.
    Jul 8, 2003
    2
    This film started with some promise, but the story soon slipped down the muddy slope of improbability faster than an army ranger trying to scale some Panamanian hillside during a hurricane. The worst part is that on the dvd extras the screenwriter goes on at length about what a triumph his script is. Shame on him!
  14. DelvinD.
    Apr 24, 2003
    0
    Great cast that was absolutely wasted. This was awful!
  15. DavidK.
    Apr 11, 2003
    0
    The title should be Basic Garbage.
  16. Zeke
    Apr 9, 2003
    0
    Ouch! Was this really made?
  17. CinncinnC.
    Apr 8, 2003
    0
    This was one "wet' movie that should have been washed down the drain.
  18. SheldonR.
    Apr 6, 2003
    3
    Its stupid, I'm insulted that both Travolta and Jackson would appear in a movie this awful just because they both know that anything they appear in post Pulp Fiction will create a buzz. Shame on you.
  19. JanetS.
    Apr 5, 2003
    0
    Who dreams these terrible movies up? It is too bad to believe. By the time the truth is revealed, all of the characters are so unsympathetic that you truly just don't care. Just a waste of time.
  20. DavidT.
    Apr 4, 2003
    0
    Phat Man are you the same teenager who thought that The Pianist was not exciting? Obviously, you have no comprehension of what you are watching? Yet, this America and you are certainly entitled to your opinion. However, in mine, on an adult level, this movie was simply dreadful. I guess that for children, you might find the blood and gore exciting?
  21. PhatMan
    Apr 3, 2003
    9
    I thought it was good. It's got like 4 surprise endings. Some people dig it, some people don't, that's why there's 31 flavours.
  22. JaredH.
    Mar 30, 2003
    0
    I got duped into seeing this movie as I was told it was great? Obviously, this was an April fool's joke on me. The person who sent me couldn't stop laughing. Paybacks are a bitch. In any event, this movie is too bad to believe.
  23. CherylD.
    Mar 29, 2003
    0
    Terrible screenplay, directing and acting. Terrible waste of water with all the rain falling. This movie should have been washed, or should I say flushed, down the toilet. On a positive note it ranks right up there with Pluto Nash and Battlefield Earth. Perhaps John Travolta forgot what happened to him before Pulp Fiction? If you want to see this trash you had better hurry. Once word of Terrible screenplay, directing and acting. Terrible waste of water with all the rain falling. This movie should have been washed, or should I say flushed, down the toilet. On a positive note it ranks right up there with Pluto Nash and Battlefield Earth. Perhaps John Travolta forgot what happened to him before Pulp Fiction? If you want to see this trash you had better hurry. Once word of mouth gets around, it will be gone from the theater in short order. Stay away! Expand
  24. AaronLovesRob
    Mar 29, 2003
    0
    This movie was a complete zero. It's bad enough I had to pay the matinee price of admission. Anyone who paid for this should get an automatic refund of their money for being dramatized to this crap. This film should take its tickets and bye-bye.
  25. RobertH.
    Mar 28, 2003
    0
    I was eagerly awaiting seeing this movie. It had star power. Well, I can now report that after seeing this mess, I felt as if I had been run over by a train. Folks, this movie is a trainwreck. Spend your hard earned dollars elsewhere.
  26. Fantasy
    Mar 28, 2003
    0
    Just came back from the viewing or should I say the wake. It was so bad that I am at a loss for words. Who dreams up these terrible movies?
  27. Amber
    Mar 28, 2003
    0
    There are no words to describe this drek. Simply horrible.
  28. LassiterP.
    Mar 28, 2003
    0
    There are no words to describe how convoluted and terribly awful this movie truly is? There is no character development whatsoever, and the little there is, leaves a great deal to be desired. The acting is simply atrocious with a storyline that has more holes than Swiss cheese. I.E. (spoilers omitted) if the commanding officer called you and told you that John Doe was Jane Doe and There are no words to describe how convoluted and terribly awful this movie truly is? There is no character development whatsoever, and the little there is, leaves a great deal to be desired. The acting is simply atrocious with a storyline that has more holes than Swiss cheese. I.E. (spoilers omitted) if the commanding officer called you and told you that John Doe was Jane Doe and vice-a-versa and you immediately knew differently, do you think you would know who the bad guy was? Somehow, John and his babe went an entire movie before reaching this logic. Duh, is anyone home? By the end of the movie you couldn't care less about the outcome as you are left scratching your head? This movie would not even be watched if you had it on free TV as you would be changing the dial. Remember, you have been warned. Avoid at all costs. Expand
Metascore
34

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 33
  2. Negative: 15 out of 33
  1. When the film stumbles to its last and silliest conclusion, you realize much of the plot line was unnecessary -- or couldn't have happened at all!
  2. Just not worth revisiting, unless one wants to tie one's brain into a knot for no discernible reward.
  3. Basic really brings to mind a Travolta film from 2000, "Battlefield Earth," in that it's so astonishingly awful it becomes a sort of kinky pleasure; just when you think Travolta has fallen to the bottom of the barrel, he pulls out a shovel and dons his miner's helmet to see what lies beneath.