A Fast Paced Action Thriller That's Not All That Bad!
Viewers seem to be pretty much against this action flick, seeming to put it down because if IS an action flick, a fact that for this viewer prevents looking for the good parts of a movie that succeeds in making us think. Director Andy Cheng (also a co-writer for the script) has a background as a movie stunt coordinator and that talent serves him well in this fast paced, explosive, interesting film.
Alex Thomas (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) is a secret agent assigned to the President when an assassination occurs: Thomas takes a bullet for his beloved President (Jack Scalia) and comforts the First Lady (Anne Archer) when the President is pronounced dead. Thomas works for Head Agent Vaughn Stevens (James Woods) who comforts the grieving Thomas and sends him off duty to recover: Thomas goes off on a drinking binge and is discovered by an aggressive Pulitzer Prize news reporter Kate Crawford (Angie Harmon) and between the two of them they uncover a conspiracy that involves top ranking people. The perpetrator of the assassination is one Jack Baldwin (Peter Greene) who guides the events from is hidden space. Every lead Crawford uncovers is promptly destroyed by explosions or fires until the final confrontation of Baldwin with Thomas and Crawford. And just when the viewer thinks every step is utterly predictable, the ending leaves the truth about the assassination to the viewer...! Cuba Gooding, Jr. is a fine talent in search of a great role: in this film he does well underplaying his character with some of the subtleties that demonstrate more of his talent. Angie Harmon delivers a fine performance: she deserves more roles. Anne Archer remains a pleasure to watch, even in this small but pivotal role, and James Woods, James Selby, and to an extent the grossly disfigured, post multiple plastic surgeries Burt Reynolds create credible characters. This is not a great movie, but is certainly is one with some fine elements and offers promise for new director Andy Cheng in his stepped up role. Yes, it is a bit predictable until the end, but it is a far better film than many of the movies that had the experience of a theatrical run (this one went straight to DVD!). Worth an evening's watching. Grady Harp
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