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199 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Academy Award(r) nominees John Travolta (Best Actor in a Leading Role, Pulp Fiction, 1994) and SamuelL. Jackson (Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Pulp Fiction, 1994) team up with action director John McTiernan (Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October, Predator) in a white-knuckle "thrill ride with a twist you won't believe!" (MairiAnna Bachynsky, ATV/CTV ENTERTAINMENT) Also starring Connie Nielsen (TheHunted, Gladiator), Giovanni Ribisi (Gone in Sixty Seconds), Brian Van Holt (Black Hawk Down), TayeDiggs (Chicago) and Roselyn Sanchez (Rush Hour 2). A DEA officer (Travolta) is recruited to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a famed U.S. Army drill instructor (Jackson) and a group of cadets on a routine military exercise in the jungles of Panama. But the journey to uncover the truth leads to some dangerous and unexpected places when two rescued survivors tell dramatically different versions of what transpired. "Totally mesmerizing." (Lisa Petrillo, WFOR/CBS (Miami)/EXTRA)

Special Features

  • Featurettes: "Basic: A Director's Design," "Basic Ingredients: A Writer's Perspective"

Product Details

  • Actors: John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Connie Nielsen, Tim Daly, Giovanni Ribisi
  • Directors: John McTiernan
  • Writers: James Vanderbilt
  • Producers: Andy Given, Anson Downes, Arnold Messer, Basil Iwanyk, Brad Fischer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 8, 2003
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (199 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009L1TA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,704 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Basic" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Shade123 on May 21, 2003
Format: DVD
John Travolta plays Tom Hardy, a ex-military Ranger now DEA agent brought in by an old friend to investigate the disappearances and/or deaths of several Army Ranger trainee's and their legendary drill instructor, Sgt. Nathan West (Jackson), during an exercise at a basic training camp, Fort Clayton, in Panama.
Once Hardy gets there a series of different storys are told and changed by the trainee's that he question's on the events that occurred at this training camp. Which starts to form a huge question in the audiencies mind, WHO'S TELLING THE TRUTH? However by the end there is a huge climax and everything is explained and leaves you in half shock, half amazement. I recommend this movie to anyone who liked 'A Few Good Men' or 'Mission:Impossible'.
'Basic' has terrific performances by Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta although a shaky performance by Connie Nielson. It also has great supporting acts from Giovanni Ribisi, Taye Diggs, and Brian Van Holt.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By K. Wyatt on July 20, 2003
Format: DVD
Taken as a whole, this movie is a pretty good one, with plenty of plot twists and turns that aren't too transparent or predictable; for the better part it will keep you guessing as to who the real killer or killers are. While I must admit that I've never really been a big John Travolta fan, I would have to say that his performance in the movie was better than his norm. Samuel L. Jackson's performance is, albeit brief, poignant and in good keeping with his usual high standard of performance. Connie Nielsen does a wonderful job of playing a Provost Marshall. With actors of such high caliber and a high profile director like John McTiernan, whose work includes "Die Hard", "Predator", "The Hunt for Red October" and other such high profile films; this movie does move along at a high pace and it is a well told story.
Conceptually this movie is highly plausible, the plot is well written, the actor's performances are well done and the soundtrack is well suited to the movie. I do have one major problem with this film though. Without searching the credits, I'm going to have to make one of two assumptions about whether or not the filmmakers hired a technical consultant with knowledge about the United States Army or not. I'm guessing here that they didn't hire one because if they did, they wouldn't have had a scene where Samuel L. Jackson is wearing BDU's (Battle Dress Uniform), yelling and screaming at his soldiers, with them calling him Sergeant and then you look at his collar and he's wearing the rank of a Specialist, which is a junior enlisted member, "below" the rank of Sergeant. Later of course, he's wearing the stripes of a Master Sergeant which would be in accordance with how he was being addressed. Then there is the issue of a Ranger squad having a female as a member.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A. Chopra on February 19, 2006
Format: DVD
The movie is full of twists and turns, in fact just two minutes before the end there is another twist. This is the beauty of this film. While watching this movie, whenever you try to believe something, it turns out opposite and only to find later that it was not correct either. This one is definitely not the typical war movie. It's not the actions, but the script that keeps the audience riveted throughout the movie, and critics will have a hard time in pointing out for a moment that was boring in the entire run.

John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson were average. I mean their performance was as good as any of their other movies. However, the real credit in acting will go to Connie Nielsen. If you have liked the movie "A few Good Men", you will like this movie too. Highly recommended.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J R Zullo on February 16, 2004
Format: DVD
Once again, John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson are the central characters in another military action movie. The plot is as follows: a hard-time sargeant, played by Jackson, comes up with a live-fire drill in the forests of Panama, but the exercise goes terribly wrong; everyone but two of the army soldiers end dead, and the two remaining won't agree on what really happened during the drill. Hardy, played by Travolta, is the ex-army interrogator summoned by the commander of the barracks to solve the mistery.
OK, the premise is good. The film is told in flashbacks, the same scene repeated many times, different according to each and new version of the story, as they come to light. The acting is quite good, especially by Jackson (no surprise here). Direction is also OK, by John McTiernan (Die Hard). And the movie is quite enjoyable, at least until the final twenty minutes, when a series of endless and completely absurd, unbelievable plot twists (full of plot holes) ruin the entire film. If you want to have an idea of the absurdity of the plot, just access the IMDB page for "Basic" and its message board section.
Watching the credits, I realised the screenwriter, a certain fellow named James Vanderbilt, made his debut with "Darkness Falls", which I consider to be one of the Bottom-Five movies I've ever watched. "Darkness Falls" is ridiculous. The screenplay of "Basic" is almost as ridiculous. I really, really don't understand why a cast composed of such good and acclaimed actors say "yes" to such a poor writing.
After the movie ended, I was angry, I felt cheated and I promised to myself I will NEVER watch another movie that has a screenplay by Vanderbilt. I don't like to be treated like an idiot, and that's what this script did to me.
Grade 4.0/10
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