Something Amuck in the Government
Release Date: January 01, 1997
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Linda Hamilton
& Donald Sutherland
Audience: Teenagers & adults
Runtime: 103 minutes
Distributor: Hollywood Pictures/Walt Disney
Company/Buena Vista Pictures
Director: George P. Cosmatos
Executive Producer: Andrew G. Vajna & Buzz
Producer: Terry Collis
Writer: Adi Hasak & Ric Gibbs
Address Comments To:Michael Eisner, Chairman & CEO, Walt Disney Company
Richard W. Cook, Chairman
(Buena Vista, Caravan, Hollywood, Miramax, & Touchstone Pictures)
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
The movie begins as a stony-faced thug (Stephen Lang) graphically shoots and murders six people. These harmless souls apparently run some kind of computerized information service, which is code named “Shadow”. The hero, a cocky and cynical presidential assistant, Bobby Bishop, (Charlie Sheen), finds out that something is wrong when Professor Pochenko dies in his arms in a Washington street. He immediately suspects that his former girlfriend, Amanda, knows who is behind the murder, and enlists her help in pursuing her leads from a story she wrote for a Washington newspaper.
Bishop accompanies Amanda to the house of Professor Pochenko’s former girlfriend, where he finds a tiny concealed fake wall control and accesses Pochenko’s computer list of high-ranking government officials targeted for surveillance. All the while, he eludes an intrepid murderer, who stalks him. Bishop escapes with Amanda, now his cohort in justice, in her soft-top jeep. The murderer misses killing Bishop in a failed attempt to stab him through the canvas roof.
By this time, the President’s Secret Service staff is frantically trying to locate Bishop on their satellite computer locator, because they suspect he is in danger, or has gotten into trouble. Jacob Conrad (Donald Sutherland), who artfully plays the paranoid National Security Agency Chief, urges his staff to bring in Bobby because he does not want him interfering with his plot to assassinate the President. His psychotic antics nearly steal the show as they did in 1991’s BACKDRAFT, wherein Sutherland brilliantly played a criminally insane arsonist.
Once again, the movie stretches the suspension of disbelief past the breaking point as Bishop not only breaks into the White House, using his presidential ID, but also accesses the National Security Chief’s personal computer files to find out who authorized the assassination of Professor Pochenko. Then, he single-handedly holds off the entire White House Secret Service staff as he and Amanda escape down a disabled White House elevator shaft onto a deserted Washington street, and follow Conrad to a meeting. The thrilling, adrenaline-pumping climax occurs at a presidential fund-raiser. All combatants converge in a bullet-strewn finale, as the killer outwits the Secret Service to smuggle in a lethal toy and wreak havoc among the guests.
Although shot with visually arresting footage of famous Washington D.C. monuments, SHADOW CONSPIRACY ultimately fails to deliver the thrilling story it promises, mainly because of its senseless violence and implausible, inane plot devices. Every month, Hollywood studios disgorge violence-filled epics onto the small segment of the American population (mainly twenty-something men) who they think crave glandular stimulation through sustained gunfire. This January, SHADOW CONSPIRACY is that epic, but this senseless visual carnage stuns and disgusts other members of the audience who believe Exodus 20:13, which declares: “You shall not kill.”
With excessive, unrelenting violence and inadequate motivation for the traitor’s assassination attempt, SHADOW CONSPIRACY fails to overcome its great improbabilities. Although shot with visually arresting footage of famous Washington D.C. monuments, SHADOW CONSPIRACY ultimately fails to deliver because of its inane plot devices. Almost every week, Hollywood studios disgorge a violence-filled epic onto a small segment of the American population who crave glandular stimulation through sustained gunfire. SHADOW CONSPIRACY is one in a series of forgettable, violence-filled action pictures.