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Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia (DVD Review)

14 Jan, 2009 By: John Latchem

Behind Enemy Lines 3

Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia
$26.98 DVD
Rated ‘R’ for violence.
Stars Joe Manganiello, Mr. Kennedy, Channon Roe, Yancey Arias, Keith David, Steven Bauer, Tim Matheson.

As is typical in movies such as Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia, a bureaucrat tries to muscle in on a military operation. Exerting total control, he demands the commanding officer turn over his cell phone.

“I could give it to you,” the officer tells him. “But you’d need a proctologist to read my text messages.”

The CIA representative is played by veteran character actor Tim Matheson (Animal House, "The West Wing"), who also directed this direct-to-video third film in the “Behind Enemy Lines” franchise. The Navy officer is played with aplomb by the always-welcome Keith David, who elevates any project he’s in.

And the quote is perhaps the highlight of Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia, a competent ‘B’-movie actioner marked by brisk action.

The story involves a U.S. Navy SEAL team sent on a covert mission to spy on a secret meeting in the jungle. It turns out to be peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC insurgency (these are real political issues ... you can look it up). Soon enough a third group of paramilitaries arrives to wipe everyone out and blame it on the Americans.

As the United States is allied with the Colombian government, the assassination of peace delegates does not sit well with either faction in the civil war.

The SEAL team members who aren’t killed in the assault run for their lives, hoping to formulate a plan to clear their names before American forces are thrown out of Colombia. One wonders if they will be held accountable for everyone they kill trying to prove their innocence.

Such questions are not a concern for this screenplay, which takes extra care to include all the typical double-talking politicians and double-crossing soldiers audiences have come to expect from a movie such as this. Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia is actually an entertaining diversion for about 90 minutes, before petering out with an ending more reliant on conversation than combat.

The main marketing hook for the film has been the presence of WWE superstar Mr. Kennedy (which is how he is actually credited, as opposed to his true name of Ken Anderson). As a macho military man, Anderson’s pro-wrestling bravado is put to good use. His character is not the centerpiece of the film, but neither is his participation a distraction. But his involvement should attract hordes of curious wrestling fans who will no doubt enjoy this film immensely.

Rounding out the cast are Joe Manganiello (Spider-Man, “One Tree Hill”) and Channon Roe (memorable in the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” episode “The Zeppo”) as Kennedy’s SEAL team buddies, as Yancey Arias of the new “Knight Rider” as a conflicted Colombian special-forces soldier.

The film is a standalone adventure, and though Keith David is a holdover from the second film, familiarity with the earlier movies is not required to understand this one; a brief opening narration sets the stage.

Anyone who enjoyed the film should also appreciate the behind-the-scenes featurettes, which spreads the focus in equal parts on the cast’s admiration for Mr. Kennedy and their enjoyment at playing G.I. Joe.

The disc also has a pretty good commentary with Matheson, Kennedy and Manganiello, which is basically a long anecdote.

A second commentary from three IGN.com editors provides a “fan perspective” on the film, and is a lot more like a bunch of buddies just talking about movies.

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