Basic - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Basic Reviews

March 31, 2010
Director John McTiernan does a swell job with James Vanderbilt's sneaky script in keeping us guessing.
April 22, 2003
You can fall asleep in the first reel, wake up at the end, and know as much as anyone else.
Read More | Original Score: 1.5/4
April 10, 2003
Made up of remnants from other, better films.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
April 1, 2003
Nothing is as it appears, except the fact that nothing is as it appears.
March 31, 2003
[Basic] had a great sense of itself and it had a lot of fun taking us from one corner to the next and then spinning us around until we got dizzy and didn't know where we were. I like that.
March 28, 2003
Travolta is a vital presence that constantly holds our attention, even when the script is threatening to lose it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
March 28, 2003
There are so many shifts, so many 'Gotcha!' moments, so many characters who are 'not what they appear to be' that, by the final twist, you've stopped caring.
Read More | Original Score: 1.5/4
March 28, 2003
The plot twists, reversals, false accounts, unreliable narrators and conflicting testimonies that make up the story of Basic are just not worth revisiting, unless one wants to tie one's brain into a knot for no discernible reward.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
March 28, 2003
Artificial, manufactured and devoid of credibility.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
March 28, 2003
Basic is too busy changing rules and strutting its cleverness.
Read More | Original Score: C
March 28, 2003
John Travolta is having fun -- a lot of it -- and that may be all the reason you need to wedge Basic into your post-Oscars film schedule.
March 28, 2003
It's neither deep and interesting enough to be a brainteaser nor sufficiently thrilling to count as a mindless diversion.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
March 28, 2003
The movie is just too busy to be suspenseful.
March 28, 2003
Entertainment more suitable for the living room than the movie theater.
March 28, 2003
By the end, you'll probably realize that the movie isn't about much of anything, except maybe the games it attempts to play with our heads.
Read More | Original Score: C-
March 28, 2003
The latest example of a thriller in which the beginning and the end make at least a tiny bit of sense, but the connecting stuff in between is just an inscrutable muddle of dumb twists, red herrings and ho-hum shockeroos.
March 28, 2003
There's no denying the film has a tendency to trip over its own ungainly strides, but it has enough firepower to entertain action fans -- as long as they don't look too closely.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
March 28, 2003
By the end, I wanted to do cruel and vicious things to the screenplay.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
March 28, 2003
Chases its tail for so long, it morphs from a whodunit into a who-cares.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
March 28, 2003
This is one of those plot-heavy flicks that topples under its own engorged bulk, leaving logic to suffocate and common sense to go begging.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
March 28, 2003
A 50-car pileup of twists and red herrings, few of which make any sense whatsoever.
March 27, 2003
Someone decided to put Rashomon in a Cuisinart along with A Few Good Men, The Usual Suspects and A Soldier's Story, and hit the pulverize button while forgetting to replace the top.
Read More | Original Score: 1/5
March 27, 2003
The tepid result is like Courage Under Fire without the compelling Meg Ryan angle, or Travolta's 1999 The General's Daughter without the sexual squalor.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
March 27, 2003
So unashamedly confusing, so intent on piling twist upon twist upon twist, it makes your head hurt just trying to figure out what's happened.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
March 27, 2003
A good con game movie follows its own rules and, at least in retrospect, makes sense. Basic changes scenarios every 20 minutes and finally trips over itself.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
March 27, 2003
Both clumsily manipulative and implausible.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
March 27, 2003
A military mystery that figures the more complex it gets, the more intrigued we'll be. It figures wrong.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
March 27, 2003
'Things are not what they seem, because we're kind of making this up as we go along, without any semblance of logic or reason, in order to make you feel stupid.'
Read More | Original Score: 1.5/4
March 27, 2003
If we can't trust the narrators of the flashbacks, whom can we trust? Certainly not a director and screenwriter (James Vanderbilt) whose narrative approach is to repeatedly lay down a rug and pull it from under us.
Read More | Original Score: 2/4
March 27, 2003
A Rashomon-like thriller that entertains and challenges you to pay attention, to figure out its plot and to connect its clues.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
March 27, 2003
Moviegoers aren't likely to be sold on the absurd plot twists doled out by screenwriter James Vanderbilt.
March 27, 2003
When you get to the last Basic twist, I doubt you'll feel the movie played very fair with you, or that the situation makes much sense.
Read More | Original Score: 2.5/4
March 27, 2003
The film is so clumsily -- and often confusingly -- told that you find yourself working awfully hard to stay with it.
Read More | Original Score: C+
March 26, 2003
You can't handle the truth! -- or more to the point, it's not worth the effort.
Full Review | Original Score: D
March 26, 2003
The picture feels far more dedicated to the proposition that a mystery can never have enough twists than it does to plausibility or dramatic integrity. But the teasing tale is told with such dispatch it will carry willing audiences along.
March 24, 2003
John Travolta and Connie Nielsen play the film's truth seekers, and each is interesting enough to carry an audience through an overly mechanical screenplay with little on its mind other than deceiving viewers.
March 23, 2003
The movie is so superficial that, once the mystery has been unraveled, all we do is shrug and walk out of the theater, slightly irritated at the waste of time and money.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4