The wife and I rented a couple of movies the other night after unexpectedly having Courtney invited to stay the night at her friend’s house. So we decided to pick up a couple of titles that we had considered seeing in the theatres when they first came out, but never got around to. After a little browsing we settled on Behind Enemy Lines and Domestic Disturbance.
First up was Domestic, a movie I really wanted to like based on the previews. Alas, as is all too often the case, if you’ve seen the previews then you’ve seen all the really good bits this movie has to offer. The plot sums up roughly as follows: John Travolta plays a divorced father out to protect his son and ex-wife from the evil Step Dad played by Vince Vaughn. The kid witnesses his new step-father kill a man and no one believes him except for Travolta. Right off the starting mark there’s no real suspense because we already know from the trailer that the step-dad did do it and the kid is telling the truth so we just have to hope the movie is clever enough to still make it exciting. Well, it isn’t. Part of the problem is that the movie feels like it’s been cut to shreds to reduce running time as things go to hell in a hand basket in about 4 days time, tops. It feels like there was a lot more story that was left on the cutting room floor. Suffice it to say that the police department alone in that movie would win the award for the most outstanding display of investigative incompetence ever in a motion picture. We won’t even go into the piss-poor logic behind some of the decisions Vince Vaughn’s character makes.
Next up was BEM which I didn’t have any big expectations beyond it being a semi-decent brainless action flick of the sort that you end up liking more than you really feel you should. It was my sincere hope that it would somehow make up for the turd that was Domestic Disturbance. It came close, but it too, fell short. It wasn’t worse than I expected, but it didn’t surprise me either. Just about every plot point can be seen coming from a mile away starting with the significance of where the ejector seat lands. In short, Owen Wilson is a Navy plane navigator who’s tired of merely patrolling the designated zones over Bosnia or some similar wretched little country so he talks the pilot into going off course, seeing something they shouldn’t, and getting their asses shot down wherein they can’t be rescued right away due to politics. The flight sequences are surprisingly well-done as is the footage of all the little things that happen during an ejection sequence when they finally have to bail from their plane. Just about everything else about the movie is predictable and plodding, at best. The tracker that’s supposed to be hunting down Owen’s character is a major disappointment in that he blows the one real chance he has to take any shots at him and then proves to be a pretty pathetic hand to hand combatant when the big fight at the end takes place. The camera work they used bugged the hell out of me too.
One thing I did notice that I thought was interesting about both movies is the fact that they were rated PG-13, but still had at least one example of the use of the word “fuck”. I think BEM squeezed two in if I remember correctly. Apparently this word is no longer strong enough to earn a movie an R rating all by itself as it once would. I found this particularly interesting after watching BEM again with the director’s comments and the deleted/edited scenes wherein I learned that they had to cut out a lot of blood and move a lot of deaths off-screen to get the PG-13. BEM in particular sounds like it had a more grim and serious tone to it before all the cuts were made, which probably would have made it a better movie in my mind. Either way, if you have to choose between one of the two then BEM is the better movie, but if you can avoid either of them altogether you’ll save yourself from being disappointed.