I thoroughly enjoyed this Mini-Series when it was on TV and when I received it on DVD. The story is believable and action is great. I hope there will be a sequel as the ending was left unfinished possibly.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Surprisingly Good for a Jason Bourne RipoffMarch 7 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
Make no mistake about it, this film is almost entirely patterned after the Bourne series. But with that being said, there are more than a few reasons why you should check it out.
Stephen Dorff plays XIII, the lethal one-man army who wakes up with a bullet hole and amnesia. He enlists the help of a beautiful European woman, while getting the occasional flashback of his past. Sound familiar yet? What sets this movie apart from the Bourne series are several conspiracy angles, and to its credit, the film keeps you fairly entertained.
The good: The editing is terrific. Yann Hervé cuts the movie in a similar style that you'd see in Tony Scott flicks like Man on Fire. Coincidentally, composer Nicolas Errèra puts together a nice score that's reminiscent of Scott's film Deja Vu. Director Duane Clark earned his stripes shooting countless episodes of CSI, and does a solid job with XIII. While I thought Stephen Dorff was miscast in Felon, his previous film with Val Kilmer, I was happy with his work as XIII.
The bad: Expect plot holes, and some laughingly implausible scenes, starting with the stunning Italian actress Caterina Murinos noticing XIII's collarbone tattoo. As this was a TV miniseries, the fight choreography isn't as good as the Bourne series. Val Kilmer, the king of straight to video Redbox flicks, offers a completely forgettable performance as the mysterious Mongoose. Which is also a good thing, considering he gets only 10 minutes of screen time throughout the entire film.
This was shot for TV, it was never meant to be a blockbuster film. So with that in mind, if you can get past the fact that it's a Jason Bourne hijack, you'll actually find this movie entertaining. I was honestly surprised, definitely give this one a watch.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Stop me if you've heard this before-Spy, Amnesia, AssassinationJuly 2 2012
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Yes this could be called the Bourne Conspiracy. The idea of a combat trained operative who escapes from a mission but has been shot in the head and has lost his memories except for flashes of 'pictures' from time to time. This has been done by everyone from Alfred Hitchcock to Steven Spielberg, but if done well is a great story. In this case it's very much s tightrope walk between ok and mediocre. The President of the US is assassinated and the only picture that can be found of him is a CCTV through a car window, which shows the number 13 (XIII) tattooed on his left clavicle (not his neck). But it turns out that he is not this man but someone who had face reconstruction to look like this man, who was killed in a shoot-out after the shooting. The two me who were killed and killed the 'real' XIII, had tattoos of their own.
So the whole question comes down to, who is number I. Sounds a little like 'The Prisoner', except here the protagonist was No.6. All this is wrapped up with an attempted coup d'etat by a group who wants to take over control of the US government and create a totalitarian state to protect us all from ourselves. Got that! Needless to say the members of the 'Roman Numeral Conspiracy' need to get Thirteen, before he exposes them and their plans. As always he has a 'friend' in the CIA who keeps helping him out (sounds a little like 'Person of Interest') with back-up and info. Of course she's a looker as is the french woman who runs a photo shop in NYC. In fact the woman all look like refugees from 'Miss Congeniality'.
Val Kilmer is on the screen for all of 10 minutes of the 240 of the film. His character is referred to the 'Mongoose' and he never has more than five words of dialogue at a time. Mostly he looks like he's got hemorrhoids and is constipated on top of that. He fires more bullets than words and sometimes shoots two guns at once like he's in an old 'B' movie western. On top of everything else, he looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy. At one point he has to run about fifty feet and I was afraid he was going to have a heart-attack. It looked like they filmed him at five feet at a time. A mannequin could have done his part, and probably do it better.
If you keep in mind that this originally a comic book and then a graphic novel, it doesn't look artificial or camp. I'm looking forward to the new series that's filmed by a Canadian company and will be shown in the States on REELZ cable network. There will be a 'new' Thirteen because he's had surgery again because everyone in America saw his old face in the CCTV shot. Hope the new guy is as good as the old guy.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
24 + The Bourne Identity minus all the funFeb. 18 2013
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This is a freebie on Netflix so I thought I'd give it a shot. I made it about 45 minutes in before finding something more interesting to do like unloading the dishwasher.
Dorff and Kilmer do their best with limited material but can't save this incredibly tedious action movie. Apart from the distracting editing style and film coloration, it limps along with all the excitement of a trip to the dentist. I don't remember seeing cheap action handled so poorly before.
Apparently the original comic book artist said he used Ludlum's 1980 Bourne Identity book as his "inspiration" though it reads very much like a direct copy. And it's not just that TV has a lower budget - both 24 and Homeland have shown how made-for-TV can be better than the big screen. This is just lazy and overlong and not a single scene goes by where somebody in the room didn't mutter "Jason Bourne" (especially every time Dorff had one of his "Who am I?" moments).
I don't know where are the 4 and 5 star reviews are coming from - it's pretty terrible on the whole.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
An overlong mini-series, an average BluFeb. 8 2010
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I do not know of the story/video game original stuff, so I went into this hoping I would see a solid suspense series as it was advertised to us. It felt like a mix of Nowhere Man - The Complete Series meets 24, meets a longer (and worse version) of Blind Horizon. Val Kilmer is in the latter film I mentioned, with Dorff playing Val's role in this series, and after spending three nauseating hours of XIII, I have to recommend the older film.
The story follows an amnesia laden agent (Dorff) as he uncovers a vast conspiracy around an assassination of the US President, of which he is blamed for but cannot recall. Val Kilmer plays the bad guy who finds fifteen different ways in three hours to botch killing our hero. As the story progresses, we are treated to multiple jumpy-editing flashbacks that are as irritating as I have encountered (usually after each fade-to-black that would have been an ad). I timed roughly 10-15 minutes of flashy/jumpy filler from beginning to end. The story is rife with mistakes, plot holes and cliches, but it will maintain a decent level of entertainment for some.
The Blu clarity is a mixed bag, as there are plenty of scenes with intentional grain, bad focusing, and bland colorings. The 5.1 is average throughout, with one or two reference points. The special features last 67 minutes and include behind the scenes on special effects, stunts, and interviews of Dorff and Kilmer. The entire hour is so mismanaged I cannot stress enough how this would be a waste of your time. The only two explanations I can come up with regarding Kilmer's interview on set, was that he was either intoxicated or he was deliberately messing with the crew to throw them off (he has to look around to remember what scene they are filming, then he describes the wrong scene, stops talking mid sentence and stares off into space, etc.). On Dorff's interview the opening question goes contrary to what the interviewer asked as Dorff became irritated with him. The point being, they should have re-shot that entire half hour into an actual professional looking supplement. The behind the scenes camera guy was mimicking the production as he never holds still so it gets old fast.
I always enjoy watching Stephen McHattie (one of the leads from the Jesse Stone films), and Dorff is convincing. The amount of flubs, yeah-right moments and editing/filming styles make for a long watch, but there are a few highlights scattered throughout to keep the masses entertained. English and French language, no subs, region coded A. Maybe a rental recommendation, but not much purchase value.
12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
If you only read one review, please read this one.June 3 2010
- Published on Amazon.com
I am stunned at the many 4 and 5 star reviews for this tragically stupid movie. While the movie did contain a number of bright spots -- specifically the filming, editing, music, and acting -- these elements alone will not float a movie to success. I could even forgive the blatant rip-off of the Bourne Identify series if the story itself was okay, but, alas, no dice. The action sequences are decent and the main actor, Stephen Dorff did a superb job considering the horrid dialog he was presented with. Val Kilmer is in the movie for maybe 10 minutes, so don't expect much from him. The plot reads like something a 5th grader put together with help from MSNBC's Keith Olberman (only not funny). Essentially, (spoilers beware -- though if you watch the first 5 minutes of the movie, you pretty much know all this already), the first female president is shot by a sniper while she is presenting her plan to bring the troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan... Then it turns out that this is all part of a larger government conspiracy planned by the evil republican GOP to bring the government to their knees and basically enslave the human race. Now don't get me wrong -- I am no George W. Bush fan. I am also a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, so I have some idea about how the military and government works. I could even support a movie that presented an intelligent conspiracy with the military/republicans as the bad guys, if it was done realistically or plausibly. This movie, on the other hand, would have you believe that every person with any conservative leaning is a neo-Nazi seeking to recreate the government into Hitler's vision of a new race. To make up for all the plot holes, the movie jams in sequences where various people suddenly find themselves spending 5 minutes explaining what the hell is going on to you, the audience. These sequences are so laughable and obvious, it becomes difficult to stay even mildly entertained. Even the action sequences suffer from stupidity. (like one scene when both Kilmer and Dorff somehow lose their handguns and proceed to duke it out for a bit before finding random pieces of glass that just so happen to have broken into 3 inch wide by 3 feet long sword shaped pieces. They then pick up these "glass swords" and have a sword fight. Seriously.)
Bottom line: if you absolutely hate republicans and think they all work for Nazis, enjoy very bad dialogue, long-winded movies with overly complicated plots designed to make up for the movie's own shortcomings, then by all means, buy this movie stat. Otherwise, save your money and just buy or rent the Bourne Identity.