Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Echelon Conspiracy (2009) Review:

The idea of Y2K and judgement day, the day technology turns on mankind can be a scary thing. One can never be sure of when this day might come, so for now, it's still a widely accepted plot device for many films. But when it comes to making a movie, there are good ways and bad ways to go about it. Unfortunately, Echelon Conspiracy does not take this story in a completely new direction, nor does it make much of what it was given.

Max Peterson (West) & some chick he runs into....
The story of the Echelon Conspiracy is about a computer program gone wrong. This program is an economical, calculating financial wizard that was built to benefit the United States. But somehow it gained a mind of its own and decided to go rouge. Good enough; it's a nice idea. But its execution wasn't very good. Shane West stars as Max Peterson, an American engineer traveling through various countries hooking up security systems when he anonymously receives a mysterious phone. What this phone does: sends him tips to become financially successful. Sounds like a good thing right? But it's not. Peterson finds himself caught by the FBI agent Grant, played by Ving Rhames. Rhames does have some funny one liners but this doesn't really help the plot along. What Rhames' character tries to do is find out who is sending these financial tips to Peterson.

Ving Rhames as FBI Agent Grant
The problem is Peterson doesn't know. Turns out though, the culprit behind these tips is the computer program. So now the question remains, when did this program begin to think for itself? And why weren't there people monitoring it? Throughout the film,  audiences will see a massive surveillance room headed by Raymond Burke played by Martin Sheen. So out of all these people, no one detected Echelon going rouge? None of these people should still have their jobs. So even though the plot is different than your usual "Artificial Intelligence" film, it is unrealistic and doesn't add up.

The action in this film is enjoyable. Although much of it didn't have any relevance at all. There were two times where action sequences were staged and the end result had of no consequence or importance. One was where Peterson has two assassins try to kill him and an agent who is sent to watch him. Turns out, this only happened once and for no real reason. The other is when Peterson is chased down by car. When he's finally caught, the perpetrator only chased him down to ask if Peterson would help him. Really? Why didn't you just directly ask him?? The music, which was produced by Bobby Tahouri, adds a little feeling to these scenes but it's not much when the end result comes around. It's disappointing because something could've come out of it but the direction just wasn't there.

Echelon Conspiracy has a unique idea but has a hard time making a tense thriller that feels like it could happen in the real world. The music helps a tad but its good action scenes go to waste because of their silly end results.

Points Earned --> 6:10

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