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Shadow Conspiracy

video review out of 4 Movie Review: Shadow Conspiracy

Starring: Charlie Sheen, Linda Hamilton
Director: George Cosmatos
Rated: R
RunTime: 96 Minutes
Release Date: January 1997
Genres: Action, Suspense

Review by MrBrown
0 stars out of 4

Movies released in January typically come in three types: (1) wide releases of year-end limited engagements (Evita); (2) unpretentious crowdpleasers (Metro); and (3) long-delayed movies that are finally cleared from the studio shelves. Falling under the latter category (along with The Relic) is Shadow Conspiracy, and after sitting through this Charlie Sheen thriller, it's no mystery why it has collected dust for nearly a year--it stinks.

Sheen stars as presidential assistant Bobby Bishop, whose brilliant speechwriting skills won the nameless Chief Executive (Sam Waterston) a second term. After a prominent professor is mysteriously murdered, Bishop, with the help of reporter--and, natch, former flame--Amanda Givens (Linda Hamilton) uncovers a deadly conspiracy lurking within the shadows of the government (hence the film's title).

It would be easy to dismiss Shadow Conspiracy on the terms of its writing and directing, which is abysmal. Adi Hasak and Ric Gibbs's script is not only predictable and hackneyed, but cornball as well. It's quite telling when the film's most original moment is also its most ludicrous--the unintentionally hilarious climax where an armed, remote-controlled toy helicopter mows down a room full of people. For all the chases director George P. Cosmatos packs into the film (which is pretty much one long chase), there's no excitement, no energy.

Cosmatos's biggest mistake, however, comes in the film's most glaring flaw--the casting. No offense to Mr. Sheen, but it's quite hard to buy him as a brilliant presidential assistant whose skill with words is held solely responsible for the President's reelection. Not helping matters is the fact that we get virtually no scenes where he's doing his job; the casting wouldn't be so hard to swallow if we saw the guy at work. Hamilton is a talented actress, but after the indelible impression of her machisma in T2, she just can no longer be bought as "the girl" in an action film, regardless of how hard she tries. But it's not like she tries hard, or at all, here anyway. Aside from miscasting, there's typecasting. Donald Sutherland plays Sheen's enigmatic mentor at the White House. Do you think _he_ could have something to with the conspiracy? Sutherland as a bad guy? You think?

After what is sure to be the poor box office performance of Shadow Conspiracy, folks at Hollywood Pictures will probably wish they had left this wretched excuse for a thriller collecting dust in the shadows of the Disney vault.

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