Why "Basic" (aka I wish I was Ususal Suspects) Blows - SPOILERS!

Spoilers in the title. Gonna post spoilers. Spoil spoil spoil spoil. After this paragraph we’ll be riiiiiiiiight . . spoilin’. Gonna reveal everything about this movie so as to illustrate what a true piece of shit holywood has thrown at us. You’ve been warned. Unless of course you are moronic in nature, you will understand by now that there will be SPOILERS following. So, no need for you or me to use spoiler boxes (they offend my aesthetic sensibilities with their infernal red-and-black-ness).

Now, on to the shredding of the new Travolta/Jackson vehicle entitled “Basic”. First let me link to Hollywood Bitchslap’son point review in which they generously describe the movie as “. . . like watching porn in a bumper car without the payoff. . .” Now this movie sucks I mean really sucks. The acting definitely sucks, yet we don’t even need to get to that point to really understand the suckiness of this movie. We can throw Travolta’s pretentiousness, Jackson’s over-the-top-ness, the girl lead’s total mangling of a southern accent and laughable emoting all aside & simply stick to the story to illustrate how retarded this whole thing is.

So, there is an elite army ranger training unit working out of Panama. A group of them go out into the jungle for a training mission, and only two of 6 (or was it 8) come back. One of them (Giovanni Ribisi) has been all shot up. The other (Brian Van Holt) was carrying him on his back shooting up someone else. Travolta, an ex-army DEA agent about to hit rock bottom, is called in by an old friend (the guy running the base) to interrogate these guys in a 6 hour period. The goal is to figure out what happened BEFORE the big brass gets there and takes over, in an attempt to save some face for the guy running the base.

The two guys getting interrogated start telling different stories and the movie starts to come off like some sort of twisted game of Clue! on acid. The more stories they hear the more twisted the possibilities get. It was the hick with the .45 in the bunker! No, it was the black guy with the grenade in the Jungle! No, it was the spanish girl with her machine gun in the mission! No, it was Travolta in the trees with a knife! Very hard to follow. They are SO trying to be Usual Suspects, a great film which had twists and turns and a clinch ending that left everyone pleased. They, unfortunately for us $10 paying shmucks, failed miserably.

If you see the movie it will do you well to remember each of the character’s name and face. I paid little attention to the names of the army guys, and it all becomes crucial later. Huge plot twists are revealed when it turns out that guy number one is really guy number 2 and guy numer 2 is really the dead one. Or something. Basically a white guy says he is a soldier who in actuality was a black soldier. No one on the base (where these people were BASED for crying out loud) notices he is not the guy he says he is. Apparently, switching dog tags makes people forget what someone looked like.

Now, to confuse the whole issue a rogue special forces group calling themselves “Section 8” had long ago gone rogue and worked as mercenaries in the lucrative drug trade. We are led to believe that what initially looked liked a hatred-based “frag” is really a cover-up muder to protect this cartel. So the questions become, who sells the drugs, who knew about it, who wanted to murder who to keep the drugs secret and why the fuck should I care? After many twists and turns they peg the minor drug sales on Harry Conick Jr. (a doctor) and break his nose with a telephone book when he asks for a lawyer.

Now, one guy turns out to be another guy and then Travolta realizes the guy who called him in (and warned him about the section-8) is really the one heading up the drug organization. he confronts him, gets offered a bribe, and says he will have to think about it. As he turns to leave, the guy pulls a gun on him, but our fiesty southern girl is evesdropping and puts a bullet in the guilty party before he puts one in Travoltas back.

Done, right? Top of the chain badguy caught. Big twist ending. He called Travolta in cause he thought he could be bribed if he found anything out. So all is well and Travolta leaves. But the southern I-can’t-act-ress starts getting suspicious anf follows him. Turns out the guy who was just arrested for pretending to b e someone who he was not has been released because he in not the guy he was pretending not to be. Travolta picks him up (all scene by our southern chic form 20 feet away - rainstorms make Hummers invisible). She follows them. She ends up in small pad in downtown Panama to bust everyone.

Turns out, everyone who was missing or dead is sitting at the table having a friendly dinner with Travolta. Turns out that these guys are actually Section 8, no one died, and they aren’t evil. They are used to crack drug cases and have built up the stories of them being rogue mercs to up their street cred. They are really all working to make the world a better place, no one is who they said they were, and then they offer her a job. Sound confusing? If not, then I didn’t type it right. A little thought shows plotholes a mile wide.


How does no one know what a soldier from their base looks like?

Why was a crack team planted in a training session? Were they trying to catch a low-level drug dealer (Harry Conick)? Did they know about the upper guys involvement already?

Jackson: So “West” is “officially” dead? After training at the same place for at least 15 years he disappears?

Why was the coloniel going to shoot Travolta in the back in his own office? That would be a bit hard to clean up and explain.

Who is who? So at one time all of the soldiers named existed, but they are dead and these guys just took over their names for this operation?

What the hell was that about Panama and 10,000 soldiers running a coke cartel and Travolta saving Jackson?

Giobani Ribisi was not in on the big twists yet convinced to lie about one part of it by a guy who is a good guy in the end and then he gets poisoned by guy-in-charge because ???

How exactly does “section 8” work? They just have themselves “transferred” into bases where they thing drugs may be affoot? They take the names of dead soldiers and work the undercover angle to smoke out the badguys?

There are more, but my brain is starting to hurt. Never has a movie left me so baffled about what the fuck really happened. This isn’t due to cleverness or alloofness, rather it is the result of overkill, confusing editing, poor writing, and twists that were revealed in the preview that make no sense and come as no surprise at the same time.

DaLovin’ Dj

It would seem I’m the only one dumb enought to have paid to see this movie . . .

It would seem I’m the only one dumb enough to have paid to see this movie . . .

Thanks for the review! I had been waiting for it to appear on http://www.themoviespoiler.com.

Indeed, I think the vicious reviews scared everyone away from seeing this, Including me; I probably would’ve went to see it otherwise.

I enjoyed your synopsis though. That sure is a damned silly plot.

Despite the hugely negative reaction I’ve seen, basically EVERYWHERE, I’m surprised the movie has a 6.0 on IMDb.

It has to be one of the rules of the IMDb that some idiot, somewhere likes it and gives it a good rating, along with a “I don’t know why everyone gives this movie a bad review” review.