SEAL Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines (2014) DVD Review: aka The Dyslexic Subtitle Movie

Tom Sizemore sizes up a comeback in a movie with a confusing title that no one is truly bound to see. The end.
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Years ago, film producers seemed to take an unnatural amount of pride in increasing the numerical value of their franchises, which were commonly accompanied by a subtitle to the film. For example, the fourth (and by far the last even semi-amusing) Police Academy film was released to theaters under the moniker Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol. Friday the 13th Part VII sported the subtitle The New Blood. And this was mostly because we kept things simple back then. Alas, with the rising insurgence of prequels, spin-offs, and reboots within the film industry, utilizing the number system became less sagacious than the very notion of a prequel, spin-off, or reboot itself.

As such, we prefer nowadays to either give franchise follow-ups subtitles (minus the number) or entirely different names. The third Peter Jackson adaptation of a certain immortal Tolkein novel was entitled The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, while The Dark Knight was a sequel to Batman Begins, a reboot of a theatrical series that was based on a comic series which had previously inspired two 1940s serials as well as a campy '60s TV show (to say nothing of the cartoons).

Yeah, it can get a bit confusing at times. But what happens when the poor sap in charge of registering the title of a movie also happens to suffer from dyslexia? The answer: SEAL Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines - a movie that is, in fact, not a follow-up to the first seven SEAL Team movies. And the reason behind that is because no such series exists - with the exception of two coincidentally titled, entirely unrelated features. Rather, this is the third in a line of direct-to-video sequels to 2001's Behind Enemy Lines: a decent Owen Wilson film (or "a subpar regular film", if you prefer) that most people forgot about long ago, and which has absolutely nothing to do with its source material other than its title. Because in this case, said title is housed in the subtitle spot.

In the likely event I have already wasted too many words here, ladies and gentlemen, or have succeeded in confusing readers without attempting to do so, please allow me to simply iterate in a decidedly short and sweet declaration that SEAL Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines is little more than a very dumb movie. Logically, it should have bore the title Behind Enemy Lines: SEAL Team 8, but apparently somebody thought associating it with Behind Enemy Lines so "directly" like that would only alienate potential viewers. No doubt that same audience would have no qualms about picking up what sounds like the eighth entry in a series they had never seen or even heard of prior.  But of course who needs logic when you have franchise rights?

Here, in this brazenly boring war movie, director Roel Reiné - who specializes in direct-to-video movies few people bother to watch (including his agent, obviously) - a crusty and pudgy top-billed Tom Sizemore kicks back within the small confines of his one-room set as a commanding officer of a SEAL team. And let's face it, kids: nothing screams intelligent, competent, capable military leader like a man who's been in and out of rehab more times than, well, Tom Sizemore. Still, he's the only good actor in the film, so Tom superbly supervises the execution of a paint-by-numbers script that should only offer up any sense of action and/or surprises to anyone who has never actually a war movie that even bordered on being somewhat interesting before.

Meanwhile, Tom's co-stars (most of whom aren't even American, and whose Yankee accents are questionable at best) set out for a sunny shoot in Africa, where they shout out one ridiculous line after another and watch as crewmembers cause various objects to explode, which our editor joyfully tests our patience with by speeding footage up, slowing it down, and cueing up hip-hop music to ad nauseam. And while that's pretty much the norm in action movies these days, at least some of those productions benefit from actual actors or slightly-better stories.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment fires off this dud to DVD (it is also available in a Blu-ray/Digital HD Copy/UV Combo pack, although as to why is anyone's guess) in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen ratio with Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Optional subtitles are provided in English (SDH), Spanish, and French. Sadly, there are special features included with this release, which consist of an audio commentary by director Reiné and three behind-the-scenes/making-of/EPK ditties, which barely total up twenty-one minutes altogether. Warning: these featurettes contain more of things being blowed up real good.

Frankly, I think the primary purpose of this movie was just so some boys with toys could run around a lot going "pew-pew" and "bang-bang". And to blow stuff up. Granted, I will give the crew props for actually exploding real tangible items up here and not relying on too much phony CGI (though there's a bit of that, too), but it's simply not enough to warrant one's time. The story (if there is one - the jury's still out on that) is a secondary affair, and - were it not for a superfluous gathering of mostly-nude women in the beginning of the film - the only other "sexy" scene in the feature (which, thankfully, Mr. Sizemore does not participate in) could have been lifted from your average primetime TV soap in the '80s.

Of course, I would much rather watch a primetime TV soap from the '80s than SEAL Team 8: Behind Enemy Lines any day - although I simply cannot wait for the next title in the series, which I have on good authority is tentatively titled 28 Months Later: Behind Enemy Lines.

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