After an intelligence satellite reveals that the North Koreans have built a nuclear missile that can hit anywhere in the world and that they’re currently pointing the missile right at the United States, the President (Peter Coyote) orders a team of Navy SEALs to parachute into North Korea and take out the missile site. At the last minute, the mission is canceled but two SEALs have already jumped out of the airplane and two more follow because a SEAL leaves no man behind.
While the world sits on the brink of war, the stranded SEALs attempt to reach the missile site and knock it out of commission. Unfortunately, two of the SEALs get killed by the North Koreans and the two survivors end up getting captured and are forced to undergo extreme torture. With time running out, the president authorizes a military strike on the missile site, a move that could plunge the world into a nuclear war. It’s now up to Lt. James (Nicholas Gonzalez) and Master Chief Callaghan (Matt Bushell) to escape from the North Koreans and complete their mission before the stealth bombers show up and do their thing.
Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil has nothing to do with the previous Behind Enemy Lines film, beyond featuring a Naval officer stranded in enemy territory. Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil is one of those films that should be simple and easy to follow but it’s so frantically directed and edited that it’s actually difficult to understand what’s going on from scene to scene. This isn’t a case where, as in Black Hawk Down, the film is deliberately confusing in order to show what it would be like to be under enemy fire. Instead, Behind Enemy Lines II feels as if it was edited by someone who was getting paid per jump cut. It becomes difficult to keep track of who is shooting at who and the overuse of the shaky handheld camera effect didn’t help. Also, for some reason, there are some fantasy sequences that feel as if they belong in a different movie.
The scenes in Washington D.C., where the President and his advisers debate whether or not to plunge the world into war, are marginally better. Peter Coyote has the right amount of moral authority to play the president and the great Glenn Morshower (you may remember him as Aaron of the Secret Service on 24) plays the admiral who suggests that maybe it would be a good idea not to hastily destroy the world. Because this movie was made in 2006, the actress playing the Secretary of State is a dead ringer for Condoleezza Rice.
Behind Enemy Lines II is not a good movie but it made enough money to get a sequel, which I’ll review tomorrow.