There are a number of movies that arrive on DVD shelves that are sent straight there, never to play on the large screen. Some of these are overlooked gems. Some are movies that did well with critics but not with the public. And some are total trash. Consider CONSPIRACY in this last group.
I guess that's not totally correct. The movie does look extremely well photographed. But that's about the best thing that can be said about this movie that feels the need to talk down to every man, woman and child who view it.
The story concerns two soldiers, friends who are both wounded during Desert Storm. They both return home, one Miguel Silva (Greg Serano), to his family in New Lago and the other MacPherson (Val Kilmer) to a series of squalid locales. MacPherson finally follows up the requests of Silva to come visit.
The problems begin when MacPherson arrives to find that Silva and his family are no where to be found. Not only that, the people of New Lago don't seem interested in talking about them or finding them. With the unwanted aid of a local Mexican laborer, MacPherson finds Silva's homestead...which is now barren ground.
Returning to town MacPherson learns more about what is going on. It seems that the town is run by a man named Rhodes, a friend/advisor of the President. At present he is in the midst of making the town a place where "good people" can find a home. An exclusive locale that will be well taken care of on the backs of the locals, mostly Mexican-Americans.
Rhodes is also the main man behind a conglomerate known as Halicorp. This company seems ingratiated with making things happen and making people disappear. And of course, using the cheapest labor that they treat like dirt.
MacPherson also meets a young woman who owns a local store named Joanna (Jeniffer Esposito). Rhodes has a more than affectionate association with Joanna, who it turns out was friends with Silva and his family.
Okay so we now have the whole plan laid out before us. Bad guy takes over town to make it lily white, land owner gets in his way and disappears, good guy comes to the rescue and bad guy's gal helps good guy save the day. Sound good? Not really.
To begin with, the references to the classic film BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK are overplayed. The movie seems almost as if it were a remake of that film with none of the lines, acting, direction...well...about nothing other than the thinly veiled rehash of it's plot and even that is just slightly altered.
The biggest conspiracy in this film is that the movie seems more based on what the director and writer see as conspiracies in today's world than they do on telling the story taking place here and now. The plight of poor Mexican illegals and how they should not have to worry or concern themselves with immigration, how they are abused by the wealthy land owner and most glaring is the similarities drawn between Rhodes and his company. If you can't see the reference in what I've written alone between Rhodes/Halicorp and Cheney/Haliburton you're blind.
The story is so weak and more often than not someone takes a moment to make a speech about how bad some policy or action is (especially Esposito), all of which are references to current political stances of our government and President. I mean come on, I don't agree with everything he and the government has done but man, come on out and say it and don't try and make this movie a metaphor of the whole shebang. Once you go down that path you lose all credibility as well as the attempt to make a decent action flick. Didn't anyone learn when Steven Seagal tried to save the environment in both ON DEADLY GROUND and FIRE DOWN BELOW? Look where those to pictures took his career.
The story is weak, the plot develops at a snails pace to make room for the preaching, the acting for the most part is wooden and the action is nearly non-existent until the end and even that portion of the film seems boring. I say again, the film looked good, but that's about the best that can be said about it.
Worst of all is the fact that the star of the film is Val Kilmer. I've always thought that Kilmer was an unappreciated actor. Go back to his beginnings in TOP SECRET where he displayed a great sense of comic timing, TOP GUN where he gave smarmy new meaning, THE DOORS where he did Jim Morrison dead on, TOMBSTONE where his Doc Holliday helped form a complete ensemble for the film and even THE SAINT where he gave the action thriller a go for it. He's done great stuff. But in this movie he seems as if he's either asleep, drugged out of his gourd, bored or perhaps just walking quietly through it while he contemplates just how to murder his agent for landing him in this mess.
It was difficult to watch this film all the way through. I tired of the preaching, the lack of action for an action film and...well...how about everything? There is no way I could recommend this movie even to those who are die hard Kilmer fans. The director, Adam Marcus, was also responsible for JASON GOES TO HELL. In this case it is the viewers of this drek that are sentenced there. Fortunately there is an escape from this hell. It's called the stop button on your remote.