Shadow Conspiracy

1997, Movie, R, 103 mins


Forget for a moment that we're meant to accept dopey, prematurely middle-aged Charlie Sheen as an iconoclastic president's brilliant right-hand man, and don't dwell unkindly on the APB that wishfully describes his character as being of "athletic build." And let's gloss right over the silly conspiracy nonsense that includes an attempted assassination by radio-controlled airplane, a comical conceit that seems to have been stolen from an Andy Sidaris movie. Our favorite part of this purported paranoid political thriller is the database that correlates every move made by politicians, lobbyists and lawmakers, then spits out evidence of collusive wrongdoing. On behalf of everyone who's ever run up against the limitations of real-life databases, that software must be found! The miracle database is, of course, only a throwaway detail: The movie's raison d'etre is endless chase sequences pitting Sheen -- playing the subtly named Bobby Bishop, a cunning piece on the chessboard of U.S. politics -- and spunky reporter Amanda Givens (Linda Hamilton) against a Terminator-like bad guy (Stephen Lang) in a white duster. Corpses pile up, dreadful secrets are uncovered, and Bishop eventually gets to the bottom of things, a full hour after the least attentive viewer will have figured out who's behind it all. Do yourself a favor and rent THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE instead. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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