Cast: Shane West, Edward Burns, Ving Rhames,
Jonathan Pryce, Tamara Feldman, Sergey Gubanov, Yuriy Kutsenko, Martin Sheen
RunTime: 1 hr 45 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films & InnoForm
Official Website: http://www.echelonconspiracy.com/
Opening Day: 21 May 2009
Mysterious cell phone messages promise a young American engineer untold wealth — then make him the target of a deadly international plot. Dangerous security operatives chase the engineer across the globe, while a powerful government official pursues a mysterious agenda that threatens the stability of the entire world.
The Conspiracy almost lives up to its namesake. For some absurd reason, it will be released in cinemas despite its strong potential to be a straight-to-DVD release. A cheap and tacky affair that is most suited to be on the shelves of a DVD rental store rather than the grandeur of being on the silver screen, the title undergoes a shortening in Singapore from the Echelon Conspiracy to just, well, The Conspiracy. Not that any would really care about this.
This cheapo affair is about Max (Shane West), an American computer programmer and a special gift he receives while on a job assignment in Thailand. Max opens the parcel delivered to his hotel to discover a mobile phone inside and when he turns it on, he starts receiving text messages from an unknown source. The source tells him good things though and he soon flies to the Czech Republic and starts betting big money at a casino and ends up winning a lot as per the instructions in the text messages.
This is where the story embarks on its imminent downfall. Despite having caught the attention of the casino security, Max continues to gamble his winnings and soon, the FBI steps in to take matters into their hands. What ensues next is one that involves the Defense Department and computer systems and their jargon.
The movie is filled with the who’s who of B-actors who seem more than happy to jump into this. Leading the pack is Shane West whose most memorable role is probably the lead opposite Mandy Moore in A Walk To Remember. Here, as Max, he does a decent job but on the overall, he is about as stiff as everyone else on the team. This includes Edward Burns and Ving Rhames as an ex-FBI and an FBI agent respectively. And top it all off, we have Martin Sheen, yes, President Jed Bartlet from the acclaimed The West Wing. It is disturbing to see decent actors putting up cardboard performances spouting cheesy and static lines in a movie filled with major loopholes.
The premise of the movie is nothing new if you have seen the likes of Enemy of the State and most recently, Eagle Eye. What happens when the government wants to invent a computer that will control every electronic device that humans are so reliant and dependent on and someone stands in their way? If you know what is going to happen next then I suggest you skip this movie. At least its predecessors were far more interesting.
It would have helped if this movie had clocked in at a much shorter run time. From the looks of it, this one will fade quickly from the cinemas.
(The Conspiracy seems more fit for a DVD-release than a cinema experience)
Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri