Aside from the sheer improbability of it all, the film works if you're interested in an offbeat psychological treatment of enemy combatants suddenly caught up in a life or death situation threatening both sides. There's no real life scenario I can envision in which a German submarine crew saves Americans from their own destroyed vessel, so you have to make that mental leap to follow the story. The meningitis plot challenges the captain of the German sub (Til Schweiger) and American Chief of Boat Nathan Travers (William H. Macy) to find a way out of their predicament in an honorable way. To his credit, the German commander must dissuade his own crew from attacking the survivors, while Travers has the near impossible task of bringing his crew home following the death of their own Commander (Scott Caan). The attack by the German warship was an interesting element, although one does get distracted by the fake looking torpedoes and depth charges used in the production. For a real intense submarine war story, you really need to see the 1981 German film "Das Boot", and even though 1957's "The Enemy Below", is not as compelling, it's certainly more realistic than this one.
Well despite what others thought I really enjoyed this. I hadn't seen it in ages and had a great time watching it again, a thrill ride with solid characters, excellent special effects, and some cool looking camera work. Just as an FYI this is a great movie to watch on the treadmill as it's essentially just one long chase sequence set to some decent music.It does get a bit rah-rah-ridiculous during the final climax, flag waving and just OTT bordering on silly but whatever I was still entertained.This never slowed down, sure you can question the believability of events but I just enjoyed the ride, as our hero runs through exploding minefields, slides down the side of a dam, and hides in a pile of dead bodies with the enemy just inches away from him. There's a scene in a defunct factory/minefield where one of the bad guys suffers the shock waves of a (grenade) blast in slow motion, I've never seen anything like it, well done. The fighter jet scenes while being targeted by a missile reminded me of 'Top Gun', but were still exciting.The story follows Owen Wilson as a navy pilot who is shot down over enemy territory and then struggles to get to his extraction point while surviving the relentless pursuit of a deadly tracker/sniper and countless hostile troops. With his rescue mission is delayed by politics, commanding officer (Gene Hackman) goes against orders to bring him home.I liked seeing Owen Wilson in this downplayed action role, he did a great job as did Hackman, but he's playing a familiar character. Vladimir Mashkov is chilling as the Serbian sniper dude too. 2/23/16
How they got Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman, guys with talent and skill (Wilson also with writing) to act in this movie is beyond my thinking (outside of the money factor). Behind Enemy Lines wastes their talent, and wastes the time of the audience as well. Wilson plays a navy pilot who gets shot down with his co-pilot over enemy territory in east europe (Bosnia, serbia, wherever-ia) and after he witnesses his co-pilot get shot by the enemy, he goes on the run from him to try and get rescued by his commander (Hackman) who wants to get him out but repeatedly gets told not to. Ok, it's a workable concept and at most it does sound interesting, but the huge flaw comes in that it is deliberately ridiculous in showing how in three or four different instances Wilson is able to evade ALL shots from an entire of army of European soldiers (many of them partially trained in combat) that persue him all the way to the end (spoiler). I know your suppossed to not take everything in realistic terms (yes, even with inspired by true events movies like this one) but, come on. The scene where Wilson and the other guy get shot down is exciting, but the pay off is baron. D+
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