Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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Movie is engaging, but not believable

© St. Petersburg Times,
published December 10, 2001

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Movie: Behind Enemy Lines

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Owen Wilson plays naval aviator Lt. Chris Burnett who, along with his pilot, Lt. Michael Stackhouse (Gabriel Macht), gets shot down in a no-fly zone over southern Bosnia. They were on what was supposed to be a routine reconnaissance mission but decided to take a closer look at some suspicious activity. After his pilot is murdered while Burnett is on the run to radio for help, he must make his way to a safe zone where he can be rescued by his Navy companions. The problem is that he is being closely pursued by a secret police sniper and a contingent of rebel soldiers who want him dead.

My view: I thought this movie was going to be closely based on the Scott O'Grady story. Scott O'Grady was an Air Force pilot in the mid-'90s who was shot down over southern Bosnia and was brought safely home in a daring rescue mission. In fact, the film was very loosely based on that story. Even though the film was completely predictable, it was still an edge-of-your-seat thriller that was full of excitement! The special effects reminded me of those in Saving Private Ryan. They added to the intensity of the film and were very graphic. A few things seemed rather implausible, but despite that I was constantly engaged by what was going on.

Favorite part: I thought the casting in this movie was extremely effective. Owen Wilson played his role convincingly. Gene Hackman portrayed an admirable admiral, and the Serbian bad guys sent shivers down my spine.

Least favorite part: Some of the scenes made me shake my head in disbelief because they were so ridiculously farfetched.

Recommendations: The PG-13 rating is because of the film's graphic violence and war storyline. The rating should be heeded. I would recommend this film only to ages 13 and up.

Grade: B

-- Billy Norris, 14, is in the eighth grade at Seminole Middle School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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