The Screening Room
behind enemy lines columbia
It's hard to criticize actor/director Tim Matheson because I've always enjoyed him as an actor. As a director, well...

"Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia" is now available on DVD.

This direct-to-DVD movie isn't something you should expect a lot out of. I knew that going into this assignment to take out drug lords and rescue my comrades. Dangerous job being a DVD reviewer. Every once in a great while, I'll review a made-for-DVD movie that isn't half-bad. Unfortunately, "Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia" doesn't pass inspection.

The story is routine about a group of Navy SEALS going into the dark jungle to blast away at bad guys. We've seen this kind of routine a thousand times and then some. Everyone of the actors overacts, trying to be serious and cool. I'm sure this production was great fun for the actors because they get to carry some bad ass guns and blow up things. I don't know of many of my actor friends who wouldn't love a role in an action film like this. But come on, guys. Watching this movie, it looks like you left your jovial selves back at the airport. This ain't a freakin' Scorsese flick! Loosen up, bros.

Matheson directs with a heavy hand. It's almost as if he's trying to make this a super serious action thriller. Yet it plays the cliches like they're going out of style. Zoom lens shots, shots through binoculars, lots of shots of the SEALS running through the jungle.  Matheson, himself a Marine reserve according to iMDB, seems comfortable with the military lingo and how the SEALS act. He's directed a number of television episodes, so he knows his way around the set. But "Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia" plays too standard.

The action sequences are the same you've seen in any number of movies, good or bad. I'm sure after a few beers with the buddies, the movie might play like a no-brainer actioneer. "Dude, did you see how he killed that other dude? Whoa!" Yep, it's that type of movie.

Now I'm not expecting miracles from a direct-to-DVD movie. Obviously there is a considerable market for it, otherwise Fox wouldn't have ponied up the dough to make it. Sell and rent enough copies, and show it on the pay channels, Fox will make some good money from it. But I like more than the typical cliches that are present in this movie.          
Bill Kallay

Special thanks to Click Communications

Photos: 20th Century Fox. All rights reserved.
DVD Quick Glimpse


No brainer action flick that may entertain you if you've had a couple beers

Director: Tim Matheson  

Cast: Joe Manganiello, Ken Anderson, Mr. Kennedy  

Commentary, Making of, and more


Picture: Good
Sound: Good

The explosions are kind of cool

Aspect Ratio (1.78:1)

Dolby Digital 5.1

January 6, 2009
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