"Something Amuck in the Government"
(Pa, L, VVV, A ) Pagan worldview of a crusading presidential assistant who foils an assassination attempt; 5 obscenities; extreme continuous violence including many graphic shooting murders, killer tries to knife hero through canvas top of a speeding jeep, bullets smash window glass, fighting, & massive mayhem & havoc; and alcohol use.
In SHADOW CONSPIRACY, a crusading presidential assistant, played by Charlie Sheen, finds and apprehends a traitor in the highest level of government. This quest drives the hero to ever bolder acts of physical courage amidst great technological gadgetry, appealing to testosterone-filled teenagers. It fails to persuade the discriminating adult viewer that this is a plausible or even entertaining movie. This movie contains excessive violence and some obscenities.
SHADOW CONSPIRACY is an inane, unbelievable conspiracy drama that desperately tries to hold the audience’s attention with impressive techno-gadgets and tense situations. The movie quickly loses credibility from the first sequence when the hero, dressed in jogging fatigues, leaves a neighborhood basketball court to board the presidential helicopter and chair a meeting of the National Security Council in his jogging fatigues. With excessive, unrelenting violence and inadequate motivation for the traitor’s assassination attempt, SHADOW CONSPIRACY attempts to portray the story of a giant threat to the peace and welfare of the entire United States. It fails to provide the audience with sufficient justification to stretch the imagination and accept the possibility of such an implausible situation.
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.”
SHADOW CONSPIRACY is an inane, unbelievable conspiracy drama that tries to hold the audience’s attention with impressive techno-gadgets and tense situations. The movie begins as a stony-faced thug graphically murders six people. These harmless souls apparently run some kind of computerized information service, which is code named “Shadow”. The hero, presidential assistant Bobby Bishop, played by Charlie Sheen, finds out that something is wrong when a professor dies on a Washington street. Bishop discovers a list of high-ranking government officials targeted for surveillance. He finds that he is also targeted. We discover that Security Chief Jacob Conrad, played by Donald Sutherland, wants his staff to bring in Bobby because he doesn’t want him interfering with his plot to assassinate the President. The climax occurs at a presidential fund-raiser, when Bishop and Conrad meet for a bullet-strewn finale.
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.