The film is a contradiction to its title since there is nothing basic about the convoluted plot of incoherent re-tellings of a mish-mashed story told from different points of view. John Travolta stars as an interrogating heavyweight with a thick neck and tight jeans who is assigned to crack the murder mystery among Army Ranger cadets in Panama’s hurricane-drenched jungles. As Travolta plays detective, he and viewers must endure countless witnesses’ skewed versions of the truth that run the gamut of mistaken identities, a drug smuggling ring of the profitable Combat Cocktail and a relentless drill sergeant without a heart (Samuel L. Jackson). Director John McTiernan’s career has steadily been going down hill with the back-to-back sleepers The 13th Warrior and Rollerball. This military who-done-it wannabe that turns out to be a what’s-going-on-in-the-first-place leaves McTiernan buried at the bottom of the hill.


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