Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia – Movie Review
Last week the Democrats faced a shocking defeat in Massachusetts, losing the seat long held by the late Senator Ted Kennedy. In wake of his passing, the Democrats were unable to find a candidate that could maintain the attention of the predominantly blue state’s voters causing everyone’s favorite echo-chamber, “the internet,” to sound off on exactly what went wrong? Seeing as I try to keep my writing in any medium as apolitical as possible, I’m going to go ahead and chalk the loss up to a lack of name-brand recognition. If Democrats really wanted to keep the slot, they should have nominated someone who could continue the dynasty regardless their vastly different personal politics. I’m talking Mr. Kennedy…Kennedy!
If you don’t recognize the man in the poster, chances are you haven’t watched professional wrestling since 7th grade. His real name is Ken Anderson, but his wrestling persona is “Mr. Kennedy.” His gimmick is that he’s the one wrestler who, before his match, does his own introduction and says his last name twice. Yes, wrestling’s long past the days of a shaman from the moon fighting a half-dog clown-pimp, to now having characters that are either defined as guys who wear Ed Hardy shirts or guys who wear Affliction gear. In spite of this and the weekly two-hour blocks of fakey play-fighting, the clips I’ve found online of Mr. Kennedy paint him as the ever-elusive “wrestler who is intentionally entertaining.” You only get about two of those a decade and, like The Rock and Goldust before him, there’s something charismatic about him that just stands out.
I defy you to not be entertained by the following clip:
Wow, I can’t believe I got you to watch that.
So now you’re probably thinking “OK Chaz, he’s engaging for what he does, but why would you watch a movie with him?” It’s a fair question as the film careers of Terry “Hulk” Hogan (Mr. Nanny, Santa with Muscles) and Bill “Goldberg” Goldberg (Universal Soldier: The Return, Santa’s Slay) leave much to be desired. On the flipside, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson each have They Live and The Gameplan respectively, so their ilk have produced results that are nothing short of awesome.
The real sell to me, however, is the very existence of WWE Films. The tremendous upside to being the big dog in an industry 20 years behind the times, is the ability to channel the absurdity of an era long gone by. No other modern studio in their right mind would make movies that blatantly follow the “blow-stuff-up-then-say-something-badass” formula and produce 1980s-style action films with present-day capabilities. Their previous projects The Marine and 12 Rounds we both equally ridiculous and entertaining on at least a sub-Bronson mid-tier Segal level. The prospect of this track record mixed with someone who could say his last name twice gave me some high expectations that were not met in the slightest.
The third film in the successful (?) Behind Enemy Lines franchise, Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia follows the direct-to-video tradition of having absolutely nothing to do with the originals. We’re introduced to a new batch of NAVY Seals throwing a surprise party for one of their own as the camera freezes on them, gives us their name and little nuggets of insight such as “bench pressed a Civic when he was 15” and “Loves Jesus, and cleavage.” As much as I love big dumb characters in big dumb action movies, I don’t need them read to me while they’re all having what looks like a frat party. What makes this opening particularly angering and misleading is how, for the rest of the film, all of these “characters” are completely interchangeable. How they managed to make these actors, most of which had roles on WB dramas, forgettable as I’m watching them is some quantum physics feat of suckage. Compound that with Tim Matheson’s (a bunch of shows on the USA network you’ve never seen and may-or-may not exist outside of commercials) direction where you’re so tightly zoomed in and cutting away while NOTHING is happening that you can’t tell what’s going on, and you have a film that manages to be both frustrating and sleep-inducing. If you watch the film you’ll also find more stock footage than most reels of stock footage, as well as actual explosions so poorly filmed that they look laughably fake. Faker than MS Paint. Faker than wrestling.
But let’s talk Mr. Kennedy. First of all, he’s billed in the opening credits as “Mr. Kennedy,” which I find hilarious. His real name is Ken Anderson, and he’s being billed in this work of fiction as his role in another work of fiction. Imagine if Sherlock Holmes opened with the credits flashing “Iron Man.” What’s just as bizarre is how little attention he’s given in the film. He’s on-screen a lot, but probably given the least lines of any of the soldiers, and the lines he does have are just awful. Para ejemple, in the “making of the film” bonus feature when Mr. Anderson/Kennedy describes his character as the ‘loud mouth’ they cut to him saying “time to reach out and touch someone.” In the pantheon of action jargon, that line ranks even below Jean Claude Van Damme’s incomprehensible early-attempts at English*. Dreadful.
My primary reason for reviewing this film was because there were just about no other reviews of it online and I really wanted to sound the alarm of another loud, obnoxious white-knuckle winner from WWE Films. Instead I’m the cautionary apparition of someone who should have known better. It’s really bad. The DVD’s commentary from Kennedy himself is entertaining and a bittersweet indication of what might have been, as is an inexplicably included but very funny additional track from the editors at ign.com who had nothing to do with this film they hadn’t seen but were friends with one of the actors so they just riffed stream-of-consciously and it wound up on the disc. Tragically, the movie is a missed opportunity, a tremendous letdown, and an embarrassment to the good name of WWE Films.
We give Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia a One out of Five
Until next time Let’s Agree to Agree!
*I’d imagine Van Damme would deliver that line as “Someone’s reaching out-time!”
Tags: anderson, awful, catchphrase, confusing credits, direct-to-video, frustrating, Movie Reviews, mr. kennedy, one out of five, sequel, why Blockbuster went out of business, why?, wrestling, wwe filmsYou can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.