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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Fool me once, shame on you....

Author: lellison from Texas
12 April 2004

Being among the first to contribute to the user comments, I feel somewhat on thin ice on this one.

I noticed on the comments threads that several viewers thought the timing was wrong for this subject, and that it was a Republican billboard during an election year. All that aside, I did watch the complete movie, despite the many commercial interruptions. Flow and continuity is important to any pseudo documentary (which is how I would classify this work), documentary, or docudrama. It was difficult enough following the many different locations and mini-plots. To accurately depict the depth and scope of this topic, much more time is needed, and the many commercial breaks would have to be eliminated, which obviously won't happen on a network movie. All of the historical events visited, although based in fact, were given only a token presentation, and were intertwined with fictional characters and plots.

It is entirely possible that the writers of this movie were attempting to accurately show the progression of the Middle East terrorism threat from the early 90's through post 9/11. Unfortunately, the span of this topic just can't be fit into the traditional movie length. Think about doing justice to War And Peace or The Godfather in 90 minutes.

The single redeeming part of this movie might be a rather corny and feeble attempt at showing all of us how the Department of Homeland Security was formed, it's makeup, and it's function. However, one would do better to pick up a copy of last week's Newsweek for a more fulfilling explanation.

Reflecting back on this movie, I feel like I watched 7 years of history on a fast-forward videotape. We all know the historical facts quite well, and most of this was a review of the high and low points, spiced up (or down) with soap opera style emotional tidbits.

Yes, if the purpose of this presentation is strictly entertainment, the timing is wrong (and always will be). If enlightenment is the target, it missed the mark and might stand accused of being sloppy historical revisionism. Politically, it did lean rather heavily toward the right. The historical time line is full of holes, which were plugged with emotional sugar lumps. Technically fairly well written, acted, and directed.

I was comfortable with this movie right after watching it, but having written the preceding, I now am not very pleased with it. There's a bit too much of an Oliver Stone undercurrent. Take it with a grain of salt, and don't expect too much.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Confusing Grade B TV Fare

Author: dglink from Alexandria, VA
12 April 2004

A confusing, episodic TV movie that was either cut down from a lengthy mini-series or written by a committee that never met. Is it based on fact? or purely fiction? or somewhere in between? Perhaps all or none of the above; it is never clear. The footage that was left on the cutting room floor may have fleshed out the subplots and characters and clarified just what was going on. Maybe the DVD will be complete, although I doubt that even intact this film would be worthwhile. The acting by has-beens and never-weres is passable at best, while the writing is not. Some of the dialog sounds like political posturing, and the "climax" would make Frank Capra cringe. After 9/11, one commentator asked how long it would be before a film would try to capitalize on the events. Now we have the answer.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

What Is This Supposed To Be???

Author: goleafs84 from Seattle, Washington
14 April 2004

"Homeland Security" wasn't the worst, but by the same token, wasn't all that great. I guess I expected a little better out of this, since the cast was pretty decent; Tom Skeritt (Picket Fences), Beth Broderick (Sabrina The Teenage Witch), Scott Glenn (Silverado and Backdraft) and Stephi Lineburg was good as Melissa McKee, Admiral McKee's (Skeritt) daughter.

What I liked about it was the timeline from events leading to September 11th, 9/11 itself and the formation of the US Department of Homeland Security. I especially liked that they didn't dwell on 9/11, although it was a tragic event and what lead to the formation of the US Department Homeland Security, we all know what happened, lived through it and I didn't want to see a another long drawn out version of it. That would've been the easy thing to do.

The problem I had with this show, is I'm trying to figure out what it's supposed to be. Is this a movie, a mini-series or a pilot to a new drama/action series? By the end of the show, there were many "loose ends" that needed to be tied, especially the final scene, but it looks like it won't be. I'm assuming that this was supposed to be a pilot to new series, NBC bought it, but changed their minds and scrapped it.

* 1/2 out of 5 for being incomplete

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Confusing, tried to do too much

Author: vchimpanzee
22 April 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

At first, I was expecting this movie to be about what happened on that terrible day. Although I have seen numerous documentaries, this was my first fictional TV-movie based on the events of 9-11. When it started several years in advance, I figured the movie would end with the day that changed America, and that we would see many of the events that led to what happened. A pilot did not seem to want to learn enough about flying, and this raised a red flag with his instructor. But then the time line advanced too quickly, and it was clear things were going to have to slow down a lot. They didn't, and the dark day came quickly. We saw a number of events in various parts of the country which related somehow to 9-11, but it took a while to figure out how they connected with each other.

If one scene was true, there were people who knew how to stop the events from happening, but they didn't try hard enough. A connection was made to either September 11 or November 9, several weeks in advance.

In Seattle, a female FBI agent played a role in stopping a group of people who might have been terrorists. She just happened to be the girlfriend of a man who spent most of the movie fighting in Afghanistan. I suppose the Afghanistan scenes had value, but that should probably have been a whole other movie.

Admiral McKee, who had a major role in developing the Homeland Security department after the attacks, happened to have a daughter who was going to college at Berkeley, who knew a professor who was one of the many suspicious-acting people from the Middle East or nearby. Some of these people were perfectly innocent but ended up getting arrested or worse when we were unable to trust people who were 'different'.

One character had a ticket on Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania. I won't say whether the character made it onto the plane, but an effective scene with this character's family showed their reaction when the plane went down.

One interesting scene showed a plane with problems that led the military to believe terrorists were on that plane. The unthinkable almost happened. This was quite interesting.

After 9-11, we watched as various government agencies showed they were not prepared and made attempts to change that. We saw something taking place in Afghanistan, though exactly what wasn't clear. We saw the innocent and the possibly guilty being detained. We saw this tragedy from many different angles, maybe too many for this short a movie.

And--this could be a SPOILER--

No happy ending to this one.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

People are just human

Author: Robin Cook from USA
27 August 2005

I rented this movie the other day on DVD and knew nothing about it other than what was on the jacket. I read other users comments and felt compelled to comment as well. Despite the low budget casting and filming processes, I felt that the message conveyed in this film was very good. The message? Well, one that came across to me was that no matter what status a person has in society, people are just human.

Considering the finger pointing for blame on the terrorist attacks (past and present), this movie conveyed that we are all human with frailties. How would a mother and father respond to their potential son-in-law's father being imprisoned and considering how smoothly he had logical answers directed toward him when interrogated. We can all be easily fooled and terrorists are experts with intensive training to play upon human traits, whether we are an American or not.

One thing, though, that I wished this movie would have attempted to clarify more was regarding Homeland Security set up and its' boundaries for the homeland. Is America going to have another agency with such power it can abuse and terrorize Americans similarly to the IRS? I agree, having an agency that combines databases of other agencies sounds cool, but the message I derived from this movie is that this set up for another agency was vastly opportunistic. Hence, I personally felt terror from this movie in this regard and how this agency will be run and what boundaries/limitations have been set, if any. After all, even I had trouble with Tom Skerritt's role of even being considered to set up such an operation ... just not the type or very credible ... just a nice old meandering neighborly guy, eh? Sure, like this is the kind of man now in charge? Perhaps keep him on the Lifetime movie channel. But, gee, maybe using him in this role helped to use this movie as a tool to influence people to be supportive enough to pay more taxes to support this new undefined (unrestricted?) powerful agency? Am I the only one who was left with feeling more terror about this new agency after viewing this film?

Regarding other non-ending pieces and parts, I felt that this was intentional to provoke thought processing for viewers. If there had been more film with the tracking down of the terrorists and other things, it would have taken away from the human quality of this film.

With that said, I felt this movie was very good in conveying that people are human and if it helped to teach some people not to let their emotions take charge in serious decision-making , then it succeeded in that degree.

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13 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

In Extreme Bad Taste

Author: dragoneyez01 from USA
11 April 2004

Why must every network jump the gun in releasing tv-movies based on recent events. First there was the DC sniper movie. Then you have the Lacy Peterson movie. Both of which came out BEFORE the trials had been completed. And now, barely two years after 9/11, we have a 9/11 movie. Before the (un-necessary) War in Iraq and the abandoned War on Terror (or, according to our esteemed Mr. Bush, "War on Terra") have even accomplished their goals, before the investigation of the government's mess-ups has been completed, and long before the conspirators behind the attacks have been brought to justice (I'm even starting to doubt they'll ever be brought to justice).

Anyway, network greed and my own personal opinions on the events don't have any bearing on this movie. So, I digress and must comment on the movie.

All things considered, the plot of the movie goes all over the place. The direction and writing is short-sighted at best. We're given various twisting plotlines, that, by the end of the movie, leave tons of loose ends with no real solution (maybe its because the real-life plotlines haven't found a solution either...).

We're presented with Scott Glenn, a veteran FBI or CIA or something agent, who's on the border of retirement. Following 9/11 those plans go out the window (obviously). We're also shown another CIA agent, Marisol Nichols (most notably the scatter brained Griswold daughter in 'Vegas Vacation'), who's on stake-out outside a terrorist hide out. Needless to say, the FBI rains on her parade and kills one of her suspects. But, she takes the other one, giving the FBI a friendly greeting as she goes. Then we have Beth Broderick (the aunt of MJH in 'Sabrina: The Teenage Witch') and Tom Skerritt, who's daughter almost gets on one of the doomed planes. We are also shown various scenes from Afghanistan, which contribute almost nothing to the failing plot. Thankfully NBC didn't completely sell their soul to the devil. They didn't actually show planes crashing into buildings... just news footage of smoking buildings.

Overall, this is a short-signed, quickly done, low budget movie that tries to capitalize on fear and headlines: stock footage, low grade actors, and all. I guess I could've forgiven the greedy pigs at NBC, had they not further trivialized the events by including product placement (don't we all want to chug Minute Maid Orange juice when we find out girlfriend might be dead?).

I doubt NBC, or any other network, will re-air this turkey. But, if by chance they do, skip this. Well, unless you do want to see your two/three-year old nightmares interpreted by a bunch of greedy network execs and thrown back at you.

Rating: 3/10

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

I was an extra on this monster of a movie

Author: Stasmodeus from United States
27 August 2006

Yes it's true, I worked 45 minutes outside Hollywood to shoot this awful movie. I don't know what was worse... 1) being used a dead body on the field with the red ants... 2) All the scenes we had to do 20 takes for but never saw in the film. The plot has holes big enough to drive trucks through and the use of racial stereo-types are truly what makes this film a laugh. Perhaps someday we will see the scenes from the big battle with Scott Glen. Maybe we will see the more of the interrogation scenes. Or just maybe they will finally show us the second part to the movie that was never shown. But I guess there is no need to complain about a film that was poorly funded by Paramount Pictures.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

The only success of this film is its consistency in failure to ask questions

Author: dangermouse1984 from USA
21 June 2007

The only success of this film is its consistency in failure to ask questions regarding the events it appears to portray. Watch this film for a one-dimensional, pro-American, anti-historical and completely illogical portrayal of the events surrounding 9/11 and its immediate aftermath. The disgusting thing is that, now in 2007, this film is still shown (I had the displeasure to watch this film today June 2007 on Britain's Sky Movies) despite its huge flaws and inaccuracies. Watch this film, but only if you do not cherish your knowledge and education. Films such as this should be scrapped.

I gave this film a 1 simply because I cannot give it a zero, which it truly deserves.

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Was this a pilot?

Author: Big Bo from a secret location
12 April 2004

I went into this expecting a dramatization of the events. I am not a big fan of that type of film so I was not expecting much. I was surprised to discover it was not. What I found was a plotline surrounding the creation of some new secret agency, foreshadowing of enemy intentions, and a cliffhanger ending. Acting and technical aspects are excellent for a tv movie. Some plot elements are very cliched but it flows and is very watchable. Skerrit portrays an admiral quite ably but I find my self curious about the backstory of many of the main characters.

I hope someday to see an unbiased documentary about the attack, but I expect many important things will remain classified till long after my lifetime.


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8 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Hideous, offensive, and worthless

Author: Kreme ( from Earth (Middle)
5 August 2005

This TV movie (supposed to be a series) is nothing more than an attempt at propaganda fear-mongering. It is offensively stupid. I can't believe the network didn't pick it up, considering the subject matter, but the fact that no one watched it gives some glimmer of hope for American Television.

Avoid watching this 'movie' if at all possible. The poor excuse for a plot, the stilted acting, the lousy directing... they all add up to something as base as anything I've ever seen on television. It would be easy to believe the idea for this series came straight from the White House Press Office, and it's hard to conceive how anyone who was not a complete lackey to the current administration could sit though this.

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