Volume 90, Issue 75

Thursday, February 06, 1997



Hiding talent from weak script

Shadow Conspiracy
Directed by George P. Cosmatos
Starring Charlie Sheen, Linda Hamilton and Donald Sutherland
At Wellington 8, 7:10 and 9:45 p.m.

With a cast containing such fine actors, you would expect Shadow Conspiracy to be another notch on the belt for Donald Sutherland (Six Degrees of Separation), Linda Hamilton and Charlie Sheen (Hot Shots). It was not. In fact, the movie was really, really bad.

To begin with, the entire premise of the plot was quite tired. This whole government conspiracy thing is really getting a lot of mileage in movies these days. What followed as the movie wore on was a jumble of unbelievable and unrealistic action scenes which culminated in a final dramatic (yet equally unrealistic) conclusion. Sound familiar?

Usually a shoddy plot can be saved by some fairly decent acting and can even manage to be a good film. Not in this case. The performances of Hollywood's better actors are pitiful. Charlie Sheen plays a special assistant to the president who is caught up in a plot by a shadow government working within the White House. As far as Sheen's acting abilities go, it doesn't matter how much effort is put forth, it will be weak.

Linda Hamilton takes on a less aggressive role than in Terminator as a reporter for The Washington Herald and as Sheen's apparent love interest. In the tradition of his previous roles, Donald Sutherland plays a super serious joint chief of staff member reporting directly to the president.

Can you guess who the bad guy is? Sutherland's role was quite appropriate and it did shine as one of the better parts in the film, yet still the audience was left wondering where the substance of his character was. Of all characters, Hamilton's performance was most disappointing. Throwing Hamilton such a small, supportive role does not fit with the image she has built for herself.

It seems that almost every suspense movie has to include some sort of techno-babble or new gadgetry that allows for tremendous things within the confines of the movie. Shadow Conspiracy was no different in its attempts to fool audiences by throwing around a few high-tech words and computer-generated graphics. In the old days, pursuing a fugitive meant a good-old-fashioned car chase, along with the mandatory auto collisions, damage to public property and maybe a fiery death or two. Now we see people getting caught with global-positioning satellites and the like. Pathetic. What kind of adventure did we see action-man Charlie Sheen get into? A rip in the soft top of his Jeep. Is this what movie-goers can expect for their action dollar? I sincerely hope not.

On the whole, Shadow Conspiracy definitely lacks all the basic elements that make a good action film, namely: excitement, action, plot, acting and interest of the audience. Without all these, you might as well see a romance.

–Yaseen Nimjee

To Contact The Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997