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XIII - The Conspiracy [Blu-Ray] (Bilingual) [Import]
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The first female US President Sally Sheridan is shot dead by a sniper during her Veterans Day speech. Her assassin narrowly escapes the scene with his life, national security hot on his heels - or so it seems. Three months later, an elderly couple discover the body of a wounded man in a tree, wearing a parachute. The young man (Dorff) cannot remember the slightest thing about his own identity. The only clue is a tattoo on his neck, "XIII". Meanwhile, in the Whitehouse, government intelligence is still conducting the search for the President's killer. With the elections just weeks away, a confirmed suspect could swing the vote for the administration. Hours after XIII's location is picked up by covert intelligence, elite special ops forces are swarming the couple's house in Cape Fear.
From the Studio
The first female US President is shot dead by a sniper during her Independence Day speech. Three months later, a wounded man is washed up on a beach with no memory of his identity. The only clue is a tattoo on his neck, 'XIII'. Submerged in a far-reaching conspiracy which threatens to overthrow the entire government, XIII's identity becomes the key to unraveling a complex and dangerous truth that will shock and excite. From the first bullet, this gripping action-thriller will leave audiences gasping for breath. --This text refers to an alternate Blu-ray edition.
Top Customer Reviews
I would see the movie again, but not necessary purchase it again.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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