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Starring:  Antonio “why did you agree to this” Banderas, Lucy “must have been broke” Liu and Gregg “I don’t vare if he has been in 100 movies, who the hell is he” Henry.


Directed by:  Kaos – I can only assume the director was too scared to use his or her real name and chose something to fit the catastrophe they had created.


Screenplay by:  Alan B. McElroy whose other cinematic masterpieces include Wrong Turn, Resident Evil and Layover (staring David Hasslehoff and Gregg Henry).


The Goods


This could have been a decent movie.  


It was not.




Okay, how can you screw this up?  You have Ecks (Antonia Banderas).  He’s a super spy from the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) who is out of the business.  You see, years before, just as he was going into a deep undercover operation, after meeting with his wife and another spy (Clarke), he watched his wife and Clarke die in a fiery car explosion. 


Then you have Sever (Lucy Liu).  She was trained by Clarke (who she knows at Gant) and he screwed her over in some unexplainable manner resulting in the death of her child.  She is also DIA.  She really wants Gaetz/Clarke dead.


Gant/Clark (Gregg Henry) is either a high ranking DIA agent or some sort of rogue agent who si using his connections to make trouble.  Whichever it is, his team recently stole, from Germany, a nano-tech assassination device which can work in the bloodstream to create what will later be detected as an anurism or a heart attack.  To get this technology out of Germany, Gant/Clarke injected it into his son’s forearm.  Sever somehow knows of this and kidnaps the kid in order to get to Gant/Clarke.  The FBI needs Ecks to get the technology back and they know that the DIA has it because they have pictures of Gant’s assistant and, well, er, um … okay there are more than a few plot issues here. 


The twist, however, (oh how I love a good twist – too bad this wasn’t one) is that Ecks is the father of the child.  While Ecks was leaving lunch after telling his wife that he was going deep undercover (that is his job), it was Clarke who tripped an explosion in Ecks’ car that knocked him flat.  When Ecks recovered enough to check on whether his wife was safe, Clarke tripped another bomb that blew up his own car and left Ecks (and everyone else) believing that he and Ecks’ wife were dead.


You see Ecks’ wife didn’t tell Ecks she was pregnant because she did not want him worrying while he was undercover.  Following the explosions she thinks that Ecks is dead (and he thinks she is) so she marries Clarke who uses the explosions to re-invent himself as Gant (but somehow still manages to have a lot of pull in the DIA)


With me so far?


So, this FBI guy finds Ecks and tells him his wife is still alive but will tell him no more unless Ecks gets the kid back.  Ecks gets involved and the whole sorted affair is slowly (and painfully and badly and with many contradictions) brought to light.


Add to this could-have-been-rather-cool plot the video-game like shoot/bomb-arama that this movie provides and one would suspect that this would be a winner. Unfortunately, it sucks.  And it sucks hard.


Somehow, someone screwed up and almost none of what I believe should have been the plot comes across.  This makes no difference at all for most of the movie.  Ecks is in it for his wife, Gant is in it for his kid (really Eck’s kid), Gant’s wife (really Ecks’ wife) is in it for her kid, the FBI guy is in it because it is his job and Severn is in it because she really hates Gant.  I can live with this kind of vapid motivation in an action flick and, with pretty decent fight scenes, I was willing to live with it here.  However, as the character’s motivations are unveiled, the story just gets worse and worse until it is all you can do to keep from shutting the thing off.  Not only does the plot never get explained at a level even bordering on making sense, but what does come to light is often contradictory and these contradictions are never dealt with.  Gant seems for a while like he is maybe a good guy and is actually high up in the DIA.  His immediate underling is stated to be some sort of bad guy but can call the local cops in and walk around at crime scenes. 


None of the “actors” are given anything to work with.  Ecks gets enough information from Severn to track down his wife and simply walks up to her. They each explain that they believed the other to be deceased and then essentially join forces against Gant. 


Moreover, while I am willing to assume that Gant and Ecks ran in different social circles (thus explaining why Ecks didn’t notice the guy was alive and married to his also strangely un-dead wife), this is not explained in the movie.  Neither is it explained why the FBI fail to show Gant’s picture to Ecks when they are briefing him, what Gant did, exactly, to Severn’s kid that resulted in the kid’s death, how Severn knew about the whole nano-tech thing, where any of the characters have been or what they have been doing.


In short, this could have been a good movie but was really, REALLY not. 


There are two ways it might have been good.  They might, for example, have ditched most of the plot and just left everyone with the level of motivation found in most video games.  Then it might have been a half-decent shoot ‘em up movie.  On the other hand, they could have actually used the plot (or what I am supposing in hindsight was the plot), made the movie a little longer (and a lot better), filled in some holes and given Antonio and Lucy the level of depth that at least Antonio can almost work with. Either way I think they might have made a decent flick.  As it stands I desperately hope that someone had to take the blame for this movie and is no longer employed in Hollywood.  It is rare that I wish the worst on anyone but I truly do hope that this endeavour lost money.

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