Sunday, 13 December 2009

Rumble In The Jungle ... WWE Style



Behind Enemy Lines
Colombia
(2009/USA)

‘‘The only easy day was yesterday’’


A direct to video Action movie that puts many mainstream movies to shame. From the World Wrestling Entertainment movie production stable comes this canvas pounding, body bruiser of an outing, that puts a rocket into the rear pocket of bigger budget movies and leaves an indelible smile of satisfaction with its delivery of destruction.

A terrorist guerrilla militia known as F.A.R.C uses the unease in relations between Colombia and the American government to further their own propaganda amongst the Colombian people. Attacking innocent people in their own country, blaming the American dictatorship and even the Colombian army itself, brings about a pivotal turning point in one Colombian soldiers life. Alvaro Cardona is off duty and enjoying a day with his wife and child when a terrorist attack brings about an explosion which kills the two closest people in his life. He knows it is the F.A.R.C but rather than continue to fight the cause he joins up with it, embittered at his personal loss and despising the army that he fought for, he takes his military knowledge and imposes a strategic coup de grâce.
In a remote farm land area, within an isolated barn, peace talks are set up between the Colombian army and the F.A.R.C forces, but when an American Navy Seals team is compromised at the scene through insider information it proves to be the perfect entrapment. Caught up in a staged show of might by the F.A.R.C against the Colombian representation, the Navy Seal team, headed up by Lt. Sean Macklin, witness a one sided slaughter as the Colombian soldiers are shot down like ducks at a fair. The Navy Seals are a well oiled fighting machine, but the overwhelming odds, in multitudes of equally well armed combative soldiers against them, leaves but one outcome. It’s an explosive showpiece of outstanding all Action greatness, but casualties and fatalities take the seal team down to three fit bodies, one of which is captured !.

With their own intelligence film equipment being retrieved from them Lt. Macklin and right hand wing man Chief Carter Colt not only have to rescue their captured fellow seal and friend, Petty Officer Kevin Derricks, but somehow retrieve the footage that is used against them in re-edited form to show the American soldiers attacking the seen to be peace treaty with lethal intent !. Lock and load, get ready to explode as these pissed seals don’t perform for fish, they act like fervent sharks, the smell of blood in their nostrils and a sea of problems to address. What follows is a tried and tested script formula but boy does it play out bigger, better, louder and more ballistic than pretty much anything else contending for the DTV Action awards. It’s a testosterone train wreck of tyrannical Colombian activists as passengers, hapless lemmings in the headlights of American Navy Seals, foot to the throttle, off the rails high end Action careening all the way to Redemption Day. Full steam ahead !.

Unleash WWE superstar Mr. Kennedy (Ken Anderson) into the film fray and his naturally gifted guile for the gab adds all the cocksure swagger to a larger than life on screen character, one that audiences both old and new to him will want to cheer for. He chews up scenery and spits out great one liners like Schwarzenegger chomping down on his big old cigar, dead pan and delightfully droll. When up to their necks in the deep stuff Anderson’s character, Chief Carter Colt, has to appropriate a means of transportation deep in Colombian hostile territory. Upon production of a working vehicle his commanding Lieutenant (Joe Manganiello) remarks, ‘‘This car smells like boiled ass !’’, to which Colt pointedly retorts , ‘‘Oh hey, sorry okay, it was the only thing I could find that didn’t have goats, chickens or people sleeping in the back ok !’’.
The Navy Seals training is superior to their enemies and both Macklin and Colt tick off names in all manner of quick kill plays, as they seek to free their captured fellow soldier and friend Derricks. Colombian neck ties don’t suit the trios apparel, but their use of throat adornment on their opponents comes with a red garnish at no extra charge !. Two men skilfully taking down a fortified holding facility to rescue one of their own becomes even more of a freedom fighter foray once reunited with Derricks. Yelp three seals of approval as the trio cut a swathe through the bad guys like a razor blade dividing up a line of crack. Getting up the noses of oppressors with all the same ill effects, leaving a blur of powdered residue to daze and confuse the hapless pushers of pain.
Back at American base camp their team commander, brilliantly played by Keith David, holds off the officious big wigs looking to tag their own with the can in order to tidy up a messy situation on a rogue unit !. Keith David is having none of it and spits defiance like a true leader, believing in his own men like a proud parent. His belief in his ‘children’ is a sound one as incriminating evidence against those truly responsible is within grasp of the die hardened surviving seals.
Director Tim Matheson proves he is as unassumingly adept behind the camera as he is in front, as this is a sterling piece of Action. A jungle incursion that explodes across the screen with great regularity as one ass whoopin’ navy seals team doesn’t give a F.A.R.C when it comes to Colombian extremists. Any beaten down captive soldier who can fight his way to freedom and still coolly deliver the line, ‘‘The bastards made me eat McDonalds’’, would normally steal the show, but here with a regular quota of dry quips that all hit the spot Ken Anderson steals the show. Joe Manganiello is however a great lead, enabling Anderson to fit the bill of supporting role perfectly, without having to live up to the mantle that may have been laid at his door. Major thumbs up then for Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia. Here’s hoping there may even be a sequel.

Review Paul Cooke / Source NTSC Region 1 DVD

Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia (2009)
Director Tim Matheson
With Joe Manganiello, Ken Anderson (aka Mr. Kennedy),
Channon Roe, Yancey Arias, Chris J. Johnson,
Anthony Matos, Steven Bauer & Keith David

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