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Behind Enemy Lines is a 2001 movie starring Owen Wilson as Lt. Chris Burnett, a Flight Navigator who gets shot down over Bosnia and has survive while trapped behind enemy lines. The Serbian force that is after him and which summarily executed his pilot is especially tenacious because during their recon mission they inadvertently photographed mass graves. Running ensues.


Tropes featured include:

  • Big Bad: Serbian General Miroslav Lokar.
  • California Doubling: Slovakia for Bosnia.
  • The Captain: Captain Glen Rodway, who commands the US Marines stationed onboard the USS Carl Vinson.
  • Chekov's Gun: An angel statue nearby Burnett′s ejection seat.
  • Cold Sniper: Sasha certainly counts.
  • Covered in Mud: Happens to the protagonist when he is forced to hide among the bodies in a mass grave.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Burnett almost crossed it when the French helicopter leaves him behind.
  • The Dragon: Both Sasha and Colonel Bazda are this to General Lokar. The former would eventually inspire characters such as Niko Bellic from Grand Theft Auto IV and Viktor Zakhaev from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Towards the end of the movie, Burnett steals a uniform from a dead Serbian soldier to sneak past them. This backfires when the Serbians find the same corpse, now wearing Burnett′s flight suit, and Lokar orders them to claim on television that Burnett has been killed by the Bosniaks, which forces Piquet and Reigart to abort the rescue mission.
  • Gauls With Grenades: Admiral Piquet, who commands the NATO naval forces in Bosnia. French troops under his command also tried to rescue Burnett... until the Serbians show his "corpse" on television, at which point they abort.
  • Gunship Rescue: Courtesy of Reigart, Glen, and the US Marines.
  • Guy in Back: The hero is a Weapons Systems Officer, not a pilot.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason why Burnett gets hunted down by the Serbians.
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge: Subverted in that it doesn't work.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: At the end, Burnett is fleeing through open ground in the snow but isn't hit once by the fire from dozens of Serbian paramilitary troops, mobile anti-aircraft batteries, snipers, and even a tank. Instead only one poor U.S. Red Shirt in a helicopter is hit by the salvo of destruction.
  • Keep It Foreign: Invoked by Roger Ebert in his review of this movie, also provides the page quote.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Reigart tries to rescue Burnett throughout the movie.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: One that pretty much kickstarted the whole movie; just before the events of the movie, Lokar's troops carried out genocide against Bosniaks; their bodies were eventually dumped in mass graves that Burnett and Stackhouse photographed. The ending states that Lokar was eventually arrested and convicted for his actions.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: French Admiral Piquet, who doesn't want Reigart to rescue Burnett out of concerns that it would disrupt peace process among the warring factions. Eventually he does relent and decides to mount his own rescue mission, though it ends up getting aborted.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Rear Admiral Reigart.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: When Burnett signals to the USS Carl Vinson that he is still alive using his plane's homing beacon, Reigart and Glen decide to mount their own rescue mission, even if the former knows it will result with him being relieved of his command.
  • Semper Fi: Captain Glen Rodway and his US Marines.
  • Snow Means Death: Sasha, along with many Serbian troops, die while fighting Burnett and Reigart′s gunships in the snow.
  • Tank Goodness: The Serbians′ T-72 tanks.
  • The Yugoslav Wars: The setting for this story.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: Obviously
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