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BEHIND ENEMY LINES (1997) ** ½

Thomas Ian Griffith stars as a soldier who goes to Vietnam to recover a briefcase full of nuclear triggers. The mission goes south and he is forced to leave his friend Chris Mulkey behind. One year later, Griffith gets orders to go back behind enemy lines and rescue his friend.

Ever since I saw him in the immortal Karate Kid 3, I’ve been a big Thomas Ian Griffith fan. Sadly, his films after Karate Kid 3 rarely recaptured the magic that flick had (the notable exception being John Carpenter’s Vampires). And while Behind Enemy Lines is a lesser Griffith vehicle, it does have its moments.

Thomas Ian Griffith gives a pretty good performance. And he gets a few opportunities to show off his Kung Fu skills too. (I liked the scene where he fought his way out of a kangaroo court.) Chris Mulkey also gives a solid performance as Griffith’s buddy who has gone crazy from torture.

Behind Enemy Lines has a good amount of action sequences. But although the action scenes are competently handled, the flick suffers from some severe pacing issues (especially whenever the action cuts back to Griffith’s team who are hanging out in Tahiti and debating on whether or not to rescue him). The inflated running time (105 minutes) is another disservice to what could’ve been a pretty great shoot ‘em up. Luckily, lots of stuff goes boom in the final 20 minutes of the flick, so that’s a plus. And because of that, Behind Enemy Lines is worthy of a marginal recommendation.

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