Owen Wilson may be better suited to romantic comedies and indie Wes Anderson flicks, but he is nevertheless a great actor, and he does a great job as Chris “Longhorn” Burnett, a disillusioned Navy navigator who winds up on the run from Serbian rebels in Kosovo after veering off course during a routine recon mission. Meanwhile, Gene Hackman does his usual bang-up job — acting like a hungry dog given a meaty bone — as his superior officer, Commander Reigart, who fights through red tape on the homefront, battling against political blowhards who would rather leave Burnett to the wolves than send in a rescue squad, which could create a political catastrophe (see also Spy Game). With a Russian tracker and Serbian rebels on his heels — and a Steadicam operator pacing them all — Burnett crisscrosses the Serbian terrain like John Rambo minus the big knife, while Reigart fights to bring him home.
The technical aspects of Behind Enemy Lines are the best part of the film. Don’t worry too much about the story and script, which is Surviving the Game crossed with Top Gun. The effects are tense and downright unnerving — SAM missiles chasing jets, explosions rocketing bodies into the air, and enough firepower whizzing by to keep you on the edge of your seat.