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On the eve of the elections in Russia, there's an outbreak of a mysterious disease. The British are curious to find out what's going on, so they need to send someone. An official knows someone--Jason Monk, an American agent who worked deep cover in Russia during the Cold War. He approaches Monk who initially refuses till he tells Monk that he can help him settle some old scores and to see his daughter whom he left when he was pulled out. So Monk goes and makes contact with an old friend and a Russian policewoman. They learn that someone is trying to manipulate the election. Written by
Frederick Forsyth's books are always so intricately plotted, with twists and turns, and usually a great surprise ending. This adaptation had none of that.
So much of what was great in the book (the history of Monk and the betrayed agents; the plot to influence the outcome of the Russian election) were completely missing in this adaptation. Instead, there's this completely new plot about bio-weapons that was a yawner.
Forsyth's protagonists always operated in the shadows, forever just slightly beyond the reach of the antagonists. The joys of his books have always been the machinations of carrying out their mission. This film resigned itself to gunfights and car chases early on.
Swayze's Monk might as well have hung a sign around his neck saying "I AM A SECRET AGENT" for all the attention that he called to himself during the film. And with all of that attention, the amount of time that it took the bad guys to catch up to him was surprising.
Granted there was some energy to this film, which is why I'm giving it a "3" instead of a "1". It was also great to see some underutilized pros like Patrick Bergin, Ben Cross, Michael York, and Barry Morse.
I hope that someday, someone will once again do justice to a Forsyth film adaptation like "Day of the Jackal" did.
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