Reviewed by Nathan Johnston
Rating: 5 Beans
enzel Washington is not a bad actor, but damn he is starring in some really, really lame movies lately. This movie and "Fallen" would have to rate as two of the biggest disappointments that I can remember in recent time. Give me the days when Denzel was starring in "Glory" or even "Crimson Tide".
Interesting enough setup. An arab crazy bombs an overseas U.S base. America kidnaps said arab. This brings down a shitstorm of terrorists who kill and main innocent people to get aforementioned arab crazy released. Caught up in the middle is FBI man Anthony Hubbard (Denzel), his partner Frank Haddad (Tony Shalhoub) and CIA spook Elsie Craft (Annette Benning) trying to track the terrorists down. We also have Bruce Willis as General William Devereaux (in a huge streach of the imagination) as the commanding officer when New York is sent into martial law. That last revelation should be hint enough that there's worse to come.
Exhibit A... we have FBI agents psychically predicting the neighbourhood where a suspect terrorist will hang out and meet contacts. With no good reason and cause there is an entire squad of at least a dozen agents tracking the suspect, taking photos, plus making ID and backgrounds checks on contacts... and of course screwing up the surveillance so there is the obligatory chase scene. Being lenient... very *very* lenient, they may have had two minutes to figure all this out initially to set up their surveillance. But then we know that no investigative oraginsation, or indeed government run bureaucracy is that efficient.
Exhibit B... we have the ever reliable and dependable Denzel trying to negotiate some terrorists out of a bus. Now I don't know this for certain, but I would imagine that only proper FBI hostage negotiators would be able to do such a thing. Helping Denzel, is his partner in disbelief: Shalhoub, who just happens to also be an arab like our terrorist buddies, lucky huh? Anyways, he acts as an interpreter for Denzel for a while... and is then forgotten, at least until the scriptwriters remember that he was meant to be interpreting yet hasn't interpreted a word in five minutes. Since this time Denzel has just made a five-minute speech. Shalhoub is re-introduced into the picture again, and translates Denzel's speech in no more than about three words of arabic. What a cunning linguist he is (although I imagine he would also like to be something else that those words sound like).
The final exhibit... the goddamned ending. I have never wished anyone real physical harm in my life... until this point in the movie. In a moment of extreme lack of tension, Denzel storms the army HQ and accuses poor 'ol Brucie Willis of murder. Willis of course takes offence and threatens to kill Denzel and the other 20 agents that are accompanying him. Denzel dares Willis, he actually dares him to give his men the order to shoot, beleiving they won't. What crap. Conditioned military men would more than likely jump through flaming hoops naked and covered in tar doing somersaults in the pike postion if their commanding officer told them to. What makes this worse is that this ending should not even be here. The movie was well and truly over by this point... roughly two hours previously. Oh sorry, that's just when I wish it had ended... before it began.
I'm a laid back kind of guy (when the alcohol and prescription drugs kick in) when it comes to movies. But this movie's disregard for logic and outright temerity to try and pass all this off as plausible really piss me off.
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