What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a very violent movie with many character deaths. Characters smoke (one who gave up smoking years earlier takes a cigarette to relieve stress). Characters have alcohol and drug abuse problems and some characters deal in illegal pharmaceuticals and cocaine. Characters use very strong language.
What's the story?
In BASIC, John Travolta plays Tom Hardy, a DEA agent called in to investigate some mysterious deaths at his old Ranger base in Panama. One surviving soldier has returned from an arduous training mission, but three others have not, and he refuses to talk to anyone but a fellow Ranger. He talks to Hardy, but the story he tells is contradicted by the other survivor, the gay son of one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Giovanni Ribisi), who is in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound. Each tells their view of the story, with multiple versions shown in flashbacks.
Is it any good?
The "basic" premise of this poorly-constructed thriller is to tell you one thing and then turn it upside down and then do that again about six more times in ninety minutes. By the time we have seen multiple variations of the same story, we really don't care anymore which version is right. It doesn't help much that the final answer is so nonsensical.
The dialogue is terrible. Fortunately, it's frequently drowned out by the incessant rainstorms that howl throughout all the flashbacks. The rain also makes it difficult to tell the characters apart. Those excited to see Travolta reunited with his Pulp Fiction co-star Samuel L. Jackson should know that they appear together only very briefly, and, in any event, their performances are among the most single-dimensioned they've ever given. Jackson just yells and Travolta just grins. Furthermore, Connie Nielson has the worst attempt at a Southern accent in memory.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the various forms of betrayal and loyalty depicted in this film.