WWE Studios – Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia (Mr. Kennedy)

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BHLC

DVD Release Date: Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Owen Wilson isn’t exactly known as an action star, but in 2001 he launched the Behind Enemy Lines franchise along with Gene Hackman, with a $58 million box office take against a $40 million budget. Five years later, Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil was released straight-to-video, and Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia followed suit four more years later in 2009.

None of them films are connected, as the sequels are really just using the name to make it more attractive to home video audiences. In fact, I’ve never seen the first two films in the series, but I don’t think that prevents me from understanding any of the “nuance present in” Colombia.

The film is aptly named, as it follows a team of Navy SEALS on a dangerous mission in Colombia, as the Colombian government and a group of insurgents are trying to make peace in their country for the first time in many years. The SEALS are there to make sure that goes off without a hitch. The SEAL team is led by Lieutenant Sean Macklin (Joe Manganiello), and his second in command Master Chief Petty Officer Carter Holt (then-WWE Superstar Ken Anderson, AKA “Mr. Kennedy”), and the opening scenes establish that this team of SEALS has a great deal of camaraderie from their years of working together.

Everything appears to be going smoothly on the mission, until a third group of Colombian Special Forces known as AFEUR makes their presence felt with a hail of gunfire, and the SEALS are framed for the attack. Due to political red tape, the American government is unable to help the SEALS, so they’re on their own to not only prove their innocence, but also to make sure a full scale war doesn’t break out. No pressure right?

While I generally review all movies with the same standards, I think it’s fair to say that I expect less from WWE Studios, and especially from their direct-to-video releases. Judged at that standard, Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia is pretty not terrible. The action scenes are solid, and director Tim Matheson (who also co-stars) makes sure the film never purports to be something it’s not.

Unfortunately for WWE, is that the worst aspect of the film is their guy. Manganiello is a serviceable if unspectacular lead, but Kennedy is pretty awful. Not that the dialogue by Tobias Iaconis (his only film credit of any kind) gives him a whole lot to work with, but Kennedy consistently sounds forced and unnatural. I never saw much in him as a wrestler, and I see even less in him as an actor. I guess that’s why he’s been in wrestling purgatory (TNA) since 2010.

Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia was actually surprising by reaching the level of decent, when I expected far worse. If I was flipping through movie channels and it came on, I might even watch it again.

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