Basic is a 2003 John McTiernan movie starring John Travolta, Giovanni Ribisi, Samuel L. Jackson, and Roselyn Sanchez about a former US Army special forces member who starts an inquiry on the death of a group of fellow members under suspicious circumstances.
The film, in the style of a thriller police procedural, features a reconstruction of the events through the questioning of a group of survivors. As the investigator puts the pieces of the puzzle together, a greater picture starts to form, still in the same way as Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, in which there are conflicting accounts of the same event; it is up to him to get to the truth.
Basic Movie Main Story
Major Sergeant Sam West is leading a group of soldiers into a storm for some military drills. They must endure the storm and do their best under dire weather conditions. The drill involves the takedown of a bunch of targets and reaching a meeting point in a certain amount of time.
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The Major Sergeant is a well-respected and tough figure in the armed forces whose bravado managed to earn him the respect and admiration of his peers despite his tough approach. But when the training drill ends up the wrong way, With some soldiers dead, people start asking questions as to why the soldiers were using live rounds and shooting each other.
An inquiry begins, and Captain Julia Osborne begins to interrogate a Major about the incident, only to be stonewalled by the Major, who refuses to answer her and says he will only answer a fellow unit member’s questions. Since the case is a hot one, Osborne and her superiors acquiesce to that request and reach out to a former special forces member named Tom Hardy, who’s currently working for the DEA.
The moment Tom Hardy arrives to find out what’s going on, Osborne and her superiors put him up to date. The soldiers were supposed to finish the job at 6.30 pm but never made it there. Osborne explains to Hardy that a helicopter was dispatched to help locate the wounded in the face of the live round firing. When Hardy questions the Major, his accounts make Hardy doubt the veracity of his testimony.
The more Hardy finds out about West’s training style, the more he finds out, and eventually, the Major begins to spill the beans, describing how the training regime was carefully created to teach soldiers how to function efficiently in conditions of tremendous exhaustion and high pressure.
The deceased Sergeant Major West had a talent for wearing out his soldiers by making them participate in demanding escape and evasion drills. The Major continues the conversation by revealing that Major West had a long-standing disagreement with a different ranger, a dispute that grew more serious over time.
This soldier was repeatedly picked out by West, who subjected him to pointless interrogation when he was already close to fatigue from lack of sleep. West’s response was firm when that soldier unavoidably stumbled when responding.
The bullied soldier had to start over with the training program. The Major and other troopers were worried by this pattern of behavior towards a fellow soldier, but they were scared of making Major Sergeant West angry.
As it turns out, one of the members of the training was gay, and the Sergeant Major had an aversion to homosexuals, and bullied him horribly for that. During the drill, a grenade explodes, killing the Major Sergeant, and the soldiers start to point fingers at each other in the heat of the moment. Eventually, one of them starts to fire, and a gunfight ensues with deadly consequences.
Basic Movie Ending Explained
After questioning and digging around, Hardy is convinced that the surviving Major was the man who started the gunfight. Unfortunately, the only way he can accuse him is through a confession because there isn’t any tangible proof. What Hardy needs is motive. And what makes Basic such a complex movie with unexpected and confusing twists is what follows.
The Major finally speaks out, claiming that the other survivor is lying and that Major West was killed by a grenade. The Major goes on to say that he was there and not with another soldier in the bunker, as another soldier giving testimony had alleged.
As it turns out, there was a clandestine drug smuggling operation within the barracks, which the Sergeant Major discovers, and his trainees, to silence him, decide to conspire and kill him during the exercise. But they end up killing each other.