Basic

User Score
5.0

Mixed or average reviews- based on 50 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 50
  2. Negative: 20 out of 50

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User Reviews

  1. 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?
  2. DelvinD.
    Apr 24, 2003
    0
    Great cast that was absolutely wasted. This was awful!
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. Amber
    Mar 28, 2003
    0
    There are no words to describe this drek. Simply horrible.
  8. 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.
  9. 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?
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Zeke
    Apr 9, 2003
    0
    Ouch! Was this really made?
  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. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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!
  17. 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
  18. 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. DavidK.
    Apr 11, 2003
    0
    The title should be Basic Garbage.
  23. CinncinnC.
    Apr 8, 2003
    0
    This was one "wet' movie that should have been washed down the drain.
  24. 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.
  25. 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
  26. 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!
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. May 7, 2016
    7
    A good who-done-it with many twists and turns. Two military detectives try to figure out how 5 soldiers out of 7 were killed during a training exercise by interviewing the 2 survivors. If you've ever worked on a military base and heard what really goes on "out there," you'll find this movie to be close to the truth.
  30. Jul 30, 2016
    10
    There is nothing basic about Basic. I thought this movie was superb; maybe I'm easier to please than a lot of the people who criticize the script because I found this to be one of the most intelligent, mesmerizing, blow-your-mind movies I've ever seen. It's a rare treat to find a movie that is not completely predictable these days, and Basic takes unpredictability and surprise to unheardThere is nothing basic about Basic. I thought this movie was superb; maybe I'm easier to please than a lot of the people who criticize the script because I found this to be one of the most intelligent, mesmerizing, blow-your-mind movies I've ever seen. It's a rare treat to find a movie that is not completely predictable these days, and Basic takes unpredictability and surprise to unheard of levels. There was one small aspect of the saga I successfully predicted early on, but the rest of the twists and turns this movie takes had me doing mental gymnastics. Every time you start to think you've seen at least a shadow of the light, this movie rips the rug back out from under you and plunges you into even darker depths of confusion and doubt. Best of all, this elaborate plot actually holds together, which is really just amazing. Basic is a movie that makes you think, and I have no problem admitting that I was often at a loss as to what was really going on; Basic did not insult my intelligence in any way shape or form; it challenged it constantly and delightfully humbled me in the process.
    At the center of the story is a Special Forces training mission that goes horribly awry. Only two of six soldiers make it out of the Panamanian jungle, one of whom is injured and the other of whom isn't talking. The base commander Styles (Timothy Daly) calls in his old buddy Hardy (John Travolta) to interrogate the witness because he feels the job is over the head of Army investigator Osborne (Connie Nielsen). Before the feds get involved, Styles wants to know why the unit leader Sgt. West (Samuel L. Jackson) and four soldiers are lying dead somewhere out in the jungle. Hardy is a former Ranger who served under and hated West, but he is now an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency. Hardy gets the one soldier to tell his version of events, only to hear a much different story from the injured soldier when he wakes up in the hospital. So begins a quest for the truth that has Hardy and Osborne running back and forth between witnesses, discovering unexpected aspects of the case such as the existence of drug-smuggling operations being carried out inside the base and hospital, and discovering that the big fish they are striving so hard to reel in is one big whopper indeed.
    Do things become confusing? That's affirmative, but I see this in a positive light. This movie makes you stop and think, turning over what you have heard in your own mind not so much to predict the future as to merely stay caught up with the twists and turns you have just seen revealed before your very eyes. In the final analysis, one or two little aspects of the presentation, which occur largely in the form of dream-like flashbacks, may have a weak leg to stand on but never come close to collapsing or falling over. Some will probably be tempted to just throw their hands up in the air and give up trying to understand everything, but those who love a challenge, especially one presented in such a theatrical and awe-inspiring way, will find themselves energized and inspired to a degree few movies can hope to duplicate. For my money, Basic is one of the most intelligent, suspenseful thrillers I've seen in a long time.
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  31. Jul 30, 2016
    10
    When I saw this film I was expecting it to be, well, basic. However, in reality I received a pleasant surprise. Basic is one of the best films I have seen recently because it kept me entertained until the credits. Plot twists and changes keep the suspense throughout the film and the actors add to the experience. I thought the performances of Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta wereWhen I saw this film I was expecting it to be, well, basic. However, in reality I received a pleasant surprise. Basic is one of the best films I have seen recently because it kept me entertained until the credits. Plot twists and changes keep the suspense throughout the film and the actors add to the experience. I thought the performances of Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta were incredible an the power of their parts was quite astounding. All of the actors displayed a connection with their characters which I have found to be very rare in films today. Expand
  32. Jul 30, 2016
    10
    When things go wrong in the armed forces, an investigative procedure often follows. In this film, when you think you've got it figured out, you're wrong... and the suspense just keeps culminating, and you end up on the edge of your sofa trying to figure out what went wrong, and you just can't until the very end. You're literally gobsmacked.

    Travolta and L. Jackson are truly amazing in
    When things go wrong in the armed forces, an investigative procedure often follows. In this film, when you think you've got it figured out, you're wrong... and the suspense just keeps culminating, and you end up on the edge of your sofa trying to figure out what went wrong, and you just can't until the very end. You're literally gobsmacked.

    Travolta and L. Jackson are truly amazing in their performances in Basic, as they were in Pulp Fiction.
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  33. Jul 30, 2016
    10
    Alright, yes this sort of film has been made before (Courage Under Fire) and yes it is a very military film. If you are one of those people who watch military films because of the guns and blood and guts then you won't enjoy this. That is not because this doesn't have those things, it does, but this is a thriller not a shoot'em up.
    On to the film; the film itself is very mysterious, you
    Alright, yes this sort of film has been made before (Courage Under Fire) and yes it is a very military film. If you are one of those people who watch military films because of the guns and blood and guts then you won't enjoy this. That is not because this doesn't have those things, it does, but this is a thriller not a shoot'em up.
    On to the film; the film itself is very mysterious, you don't quite know whats happening some of the time. Don't worry, this is meant to happen and it only adds to the film. Certain reviewers slated this film, probably because they enjoy shoot'em ups. This film doesn't focus on the weapons used by the 75th Army Regiment (US Army Rangers), or their soldiering tactics. This focuses on soldiers going through tough training, you might relate it to Royal Marines training, psychological and muscular rather than just the latter. I won't give away the plot, but this is a great film, not what you might expect from either Travolta or Jackson.
    If you liked Courage Under Fire, or simply like thrillers with twists (and primarily do know a little bit about the military, not just guns) then you will like this film.
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  34. Jul 30, 2016
    10
    Really good film with strong, good actors. It is an action film with a twist. Probably enjoyable by most ages over 13.If you liked Fight Club,Sixth Sense,Memento,Identity & The General's Daughter then watch this.
    Sent to investigate a training mission that goes wrong,nothing is as it seems.John Travolta returns to form as a military man ( he is brilliant in General's Daughter) the very
    Really good film with strong, good actors. It is an action film with a twist. Probably enjoyable by most ages over 13.If you liked Fight Club,Sixth Sense,Memento,Identity & The General's Daughter then watch this.
    Sent to investigate a training mission that goes wrong,nothing is as it seems.John Travolta returns to form as a military man ( he is brilliant in General's Daughter) the very qunitessential Prince oF Cool & If you think that is good then the King of Cool Samuel L Jackson is also in it.
    Highly recommend as a good crime thriller & great for Christmas time present
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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.