Critic Reviews



Based on 33 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Portland Oregonian
Basic essentially is a fun movie, surprise ending and all. To take it too seriously is to miss the point. Travolta is charming, his performance recapturing the old charisma.
Just not worth revisiting, unless one wants to tie one's brain into a knot for no discernible reward.
Basically, it's a muddle.
The tepid result is like "Courage Under Fire" without the compelling Meg Ryan angle, or Travolta's 1999 "The General's Daughter" without the sexual squalor. It all feels a little moldy.
As the mismatched interrogators, Travolta and Nielson seem to be in two different and incompatible movies.
Charlotte Observer
When the film stumbles to its last and silliest conclusion, you realize much of the plot line was unnecessary -- or couldn't have happened at all!
Travolta is the least of the film's problems. With a script by James Vanderbilt, whose first credit was for a movie about the tooth fairy ("Darkness Falls"), and directed by John McTiernan, last seen struggling with "Rollerball," Basic is a fundamental failure.
Boston Globe
Falls flat on two fronts: It's neither deep and interesting enough to be a brainteaser nor sufficiently thrilling to count as a mindless diversion.
Chicago Sun-Times
With style and energy from the actors, with every sign of self-confidence from the director, with pictures that were in focus and dialogue that you could hear, the movie descended into a morass of narrative quicksand. By the end, I wanted to do cruel and vicious things to the screenplay.
Dallas Observer
Basic really brings to mind a Travolta film from 2000, "Battlefield Earth," in that it's so astonishingly awful it becomes a sort of kinky pleasure; just when you think Travolta has fallen to the bottom of the barrel, he pulls out a shovel and dons his miner's helmet to see what lies beneath.

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