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WW 3 (2001)

TV Movie  |   |  Drama, Sport  |  13 July 2001 (USA)
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Terrorists release a deadly biological-warfare virus in the United States.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lane Smith ...
M.J. Blake (as Vanessa L. Williams)
Matthew Harbour ...
Gabriel Marian Oseciuc ...
Serge Kurbsky (as Gabriel Oseciuc)
Hrant Alianak ...
John Cunningham ...


Larry Sullivan is a white collar FBI agent, but when a mysterious virus strikes on board a cruise ship he's send to his uncle John, a recluse who shoots at strangers, but one of the last surviving experts from the 1960s programs to develop biological weapons. He and his Russian-born old friend Yuri Zenkovsky confirm it's a variant of the extremely contagious and deadly Marburg virus, which was made as contagious as influenza in order to wipe out most of a continent's population if spread from four strategical points, and soon it is at three; the North American dead-count rises exponentially... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

13 July 2001 (USA)  »

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Lane Smith's final movie See more »

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User Reviews

Great hard science-fiction thriller that's impossible to turn off - MUCH better than "Contagion!"
15 February 2006 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

You don't often see science-fiction films with this much attention to technical detail, good plot, good dialogue AND good acting. "WW3" is both entertaining and technically accurate. Every bit of praise lavished on Stephen Soderbergh's "Contagion" is actually true of THIS movie.

The action in this film will happen someday in real life. That faithfulness to actual events carries the audience through the parts where the action begins to lag.

This film should be played regularly on the Sci-Fi Network because it's actual science fiction, not a half-hearted attempt at making it.

Timothy Bottoms and Vanessa Williams are solid as the FBI agents who are the film's protagonists. Vanessa Williams is a much more convincing FBI agent than Gillian Anderson or Annabeth Gish managed to be in "The X- Files" - she lays down a hard-edged, authentic performance while remaining sympathetic. I can't remember a film in which I enjoyed Williams' work more - her performance here is much better than in "Eraser," for example.

Lane Smith and Michael Constantine are also convincing as biological warfare experts. Smith evokes the real-life über-weaponeer William Patrick eerily - right down to the sense of moral ambiguity you get watching them talk - while Constantine makes the borscht-belt Russian accent work, playing a scientist who, like Ken Alibek or Vladimir Pachesnik did in real life defected from the Russian BW program.

There's enough solid action, twists, and turns in WW3 that telling you the movie's about its main characters trying to locate the source of a nationwide epidemic of a hybrid between deadly Marburg virus and influenza isn't "writing a spoiler."

Marin Hinkle (whom we know better as "Alan's" ex-wife in "Two and a Half Men") is a pleasant surprise as the dedicated physician who is married to Timothy Bottoms' character. She's beautiful and a great actress, and for once has a role in which she can show us how talented she is.

Apart from getting a couple of historical dates and a microphotographic detail slightly wrong, the movie is more faithful to the technical facts of the emerging biological warfare threat than any movie I've ever seen.

WW3 should be shown regularly until all Americans realize how dangerous biological weapons are. SyFy Channel shows "The Day After" every Fourth of July and on other national holidays to teach the American public about nuclear war, a hazard it's possible they know plenty about and have been misinformed about even more.

The anthrax mail epidemic caused by the US Army biological defense laboratory Fort Detrick's Dr. Bruce Ivins in 2001 wasn't the only biological warfare terrorist attack on American soil in real life; it wasn't the first such attack in our history (that would have been the Royal Army General Jeffrey Amherst's giving blankets contaminated with smallpox to the Iroquois during the French and Indian Wars in the 1700s) and it probably won't be the last one.

SyFy Network could perform a real and badly-needed public service by showing WW3 to their viewers because biological warfare is a much more likely hazard to the world than nuclear war ever will be.

Watch this film. It's very well made, the odds are good that you'll like it, and you need to know what it says.

We're already in World War 3, according to some people. While the anthrax bacillus mail attacks were the works of a deranged American scientist, it's only a matter of time before foreign extremists (such as Al-Qaeda, whose biological warfare laboratory in Algeria suffered an "own goal" accident which killed the staff there) succeed in their own biological warfare attack on the West.

Sooner or later, someone will do a more professional job.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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