Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I probably should watch ‘Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil’ a second time because I had a really bad week watching movies starting with Steven Seagal’s latest disaster ‘Attack Force’ and ending with the incredibly weak ‘Van Wilder 2:  The Rise of Taj’.  So by the time ‘Axis of Evil’ rolled around to my desk all it had to do was not suck total ass and I’d give it a passing grade.  Well, it didn’t suck total ass, and as such, I’m giving it a passing grade.  No doubt it can thank Steven Seagal for this largesse. 

The film opens with a voice over by Keith David, and if Keith David is in your movie then who else would do the voice over?  So I’m watching an episode of ‘A Man Called Hawk’ (yes, I’m about to go on a tangent that has absolutely nothing to do with this movie) and Keith David is doing a scene with Avery Brooks, two of the smoothest, deepest, honey voiced, and highest paid voice acting talents working today.  I’m sure the ladies on the set simply shut their eyes a let the cool waters run.

As I was saying, the film opens with a voice over by Keith David giving a fairly detailed account of Korean history as it relates to the United States including a near declaration of war back in 1994 had Jimmy Carter not intervened.  A little education for you there.   Next we meet our unnamed, non party affiliated president played the always presidential Peter Coyote who is alerted that those cursed North Koreans have a weapon of mass destruction, and it is pointed at Japan.  Well until North Korea starts making Playstation's, we aren’t about to let anything happen to our Japanese friends so our president has a bit of a conundrum.  Should he be patient and hope to wait out the conflict as the yellow bellied pacifist want him to do, or should we launch a first strike, essentially starting a world war, but in the process letting those bastards know who’s in charge as the crazed warhawks would have him do.

We choose option three which is sending Lieutenant Robert James (Nicholas Gonzalez) and his crack team of seals Behind Enemy Lines to disable the nuke and bring peace to the Pacific Rim.  Freedom ain’t free y’all.  Shit goes straight to hell though and our heroes are running around in the jungles of North Korea with a bailout nowhere in sight.  Eventually those commie punks track down our soldiers and kill most of them leaving only Lieutenant James and Master Chief Callahan (Matt Bushell) as the ones left absorb the pinko bastards information extracting torture techniques.  But I’m sure you know that coalition forces aren’t going to leave our boys stranded like that and with the help of some South Korean secret agents (I almost called them spies.  The enemy has spies, we have Secret Agents) and not only do our heroes manage to get out of North Korea, but they also disable the nukes in the process, thus avoiding a certain World War.  I realize of course that that is a spoiler, but I’m thinking you would have guessed that as a final result anyway.

‘Axis of Evil’ is a firmly mediocre action picture that separates itself from mediocrity in no shape or form, but does have the somewhat unique status of being one of these Direct To Video sequels that doesn’t suck all that bad, and that within itself is an accomplishment, my friends.  With the powers that be sending the most marginal of films to DVD as sequels, such as ‘Hollowman 2’, ‘The Butterfly Effect 2’, ‘Doctor Doolittle 3’, all which you shouldn’t watch on a full stomach, the hopes that ‘Behind Enemy Lines 2’ would be any different would be surprising, and as such the movie does surprise in that it at least comes off as competently directed, competently acted, well paced and written by someone who has seen a typewriter before.

This is not to say that the movie is ‘good’ per se, just mediocre.  And though one should never strive for mediocrity, in this instance, mediocrity isn’t so bad.  

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