(2002 TV Movie)

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Dreary, formulaic TV pilot pretending to be movie
LilyDaleLady7 October 2005
A sad, tired little TV pilot produced in Austria or Germany for the European TV market, where it failed to sell. Then repackaged for the direct-to-video market, but apparently only in obscure markets like Greece and Israel.

Very misleadingly, Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy, The Mummy II) is featured prominently on the packaging as if he is the star. This will surely disappoint any of his fans -- he is a minor character with minimal screen time and hardly any dialog. The film predominantly stars Joe Penny as the anti-terrorist hero and Michael Wincott as the villain.

Production values and special effects are far below standard, even for a TV show, so this has a dated look to it. It doesn't help that world events have made the idea of a DUTCH terrorist rather silly. Prior to 9/11, I noticed a lot of films dealing with terrorism fell all over themselves with political correctness to portray terrorists as "international", European or American and white. This seems completely absurd nowadays. Besides, as shown in the film, these are really not terrorists...they have no ideology or political/religious aims, they are simply highly paid mercenaries who create mayhem on demand. Needless to say, they are not very scary.

The terror set-piece involves a truck, filled with C-4 explosives and when it is detonated, the explosion in on the level of a gas tank going up in flames. Rather anti-climatic! Another bit of silliness involves a polite, slow-speed motorcycle chase (on very small motorcycles by US standards, almost mopeds), where the two antagonists wear HELMETS! and drive at the speed limit...until the end, when they go over a small sand dune and fall off together at exactly the same time.

I realize that actors have to eat, and in order to do so, they have to work and sometimes that means taking dreary projects like "The Red Phone" in order to survive. Still, it saddens me to see quality professionals like Michael Wincott (The Crow, Alien Resurrection, Along Came a Spider), Michael Ironsides, Joe Penny, Arnold Vosloo and Ben Cross reduced to this sort of low level junk. The only upside is that this will never been shown in the US, not even on cable, and very unlikely to ever even be sold at the video store (I watched a bootleg from a friend). The shame will only exist in small foreign markets...I guess that's a good thing.

Believe it or not, there was enough footage shot to provide another entire 90 minute film, called "The Red Phone - Checkmate". If you are a Michael Wincott fan, be aware that although his name is on the box of this second film, his character was killed off at the end of the first, so obviously he does not appear. Typical sloppiness! In conclusion: to be avoided for anyone but die hard fans of the above actors.
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Standard TV Action
dromasca14 February 2004
'Red Phone' is a very standard TV action series. It is not a good one even in its genre. I saw what probably is the pilot, renting it from 'Blockbuster', and it gave me no reasons to look for the rest of the series : the standard secret anti-terror organization, incredible technical capabilities, no memorable characters, and no clear side line story that would make me curious about what happens next. 4/10 on my personal scale.
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The worst thing is that they also did a sequel!!!
Ricardo Jorge Gomes29 January 2007
Try again in the random mode… It looks like a series episode but with the double of usual time, anyway, it isn't a complete waste of that if you haven't something better to do...

In fact it's just a very simple movie, without anything new or even a upgrade of something that we had already seen! I'm not sure if that was the goal of the movie or if it simply doesn't work at all...

It's strange how some considerable talents like Colin Salmon, Ben Cross or even Michael Ironside, with a career with some success joins this project and that crew. They must be completely desperate for a job... And worst, they also did the sequel! Don't believe me?! Check it out!
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