Echelon Conspiracy (2009)

Genre(s): Action / Science Fiction / Thriller
Paramount || PG13 - 105 minutes - $29.98 || July 21, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-07-07


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Greg Marcks
Writer(s): Michael Nitsberg (story) Michael Nitsberg and Kevin Elders (written by)
Cast: Shane West, Ed Burns, Ving Rhames, Martin Sheen


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
    None


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

“Take your circuitry off of me you damn dirty computer!” The Movieman sternly grunts as his HP tries to force him to be complicit in a global world security conspiracy. The Movieman would’ve gone with the plan... if only the intelligent computer were voiced by Sigourney Weaver, since it was not, he told it to: “Kiss my ass!”

Echelon Conspiracy was actually made before that Shia LaBeouf computer goes rogue and is trying to take over the worldwide security with its own directive flick. Now, to be fair, this lame the government is going too far flick was made before Eagle Eye (I think it dates back to 2007). But the old, you snooze you lose adage applies here and as shocking as it may seem, but Eagle Eye was actually the better film...

In reality, the “story” is basically the same with a lower budget, average action scenes and a bunch of low B-level actors working off of a clichéd and downright laughable screenplay. Basic premise: A really smart system programmer, Max Peterson (Shane West), receives a never-before-released cell phone from an anonymous source. The Phone texts him and gives him commands. Believing it’s some sort of hotel promotional item (he’s in Bangkok on business, *wink* *wink*) he changes his plans including going on the next flight out, which was lucky since that flight promptly crashes and burns! When he discovers it is not a hotel promotion, he still follows the Phone’s instructions after it correctly predicted the massive rise of a stock.

The Phone sends him next to Prague where it tells him to stay at a luxurious casino hotel and gamble some money which, in the end, nets him 3 million Euros and the eye of casino security, and former FBI agent, John Reed (Edward Burns). After becoming involved with the conspiracy thanks to his old partner, Agent Grant (Ving Rhames), Reed helps Peterson try and uncover everything that is going on and try to stop it before it’s too late! One more thing, there’s hot chick (Tamara Feldman) thrown in to add a little sexual content to the already bland PG-13 for violence rating.

Meanwhile, NSA Chief Raymond Burke (Martin Sheen), who was quite disappointed that an NSA program did not get the upgrade vote it needed in Congress tries to control the situation after he discovers Echelon has gone rogue and will stop at nothing to contain the damage... at least I think that was purpose of sending a hit squad after Peterson.

It’s not that Echelon Conspiracy is a bad movie because it is at least tolerable, but the fact that a good portion of the plot had already been done before in Eagle Eye – with better effects and action sequences mind you – that there really is no point. Obviously Paramount Home Entertainment was just dumping this onto the market since, oddly enough, it already feels old with a new President with almost 180 degree viewpoints is now in office. Not to say movies made during the time are now worthless (see The Bourne Trilogy), but when it’s already not a very good film, it has no shot of sticking around for very long.

My suggestion – and I cannot believe I’m really saying this – is to rent Eagle Eye instead if you want some global governmental conspiracy run by a self aware mega-computer. As dumb as that plot was, it at least had a better ending and without a really perplexing final scene that I still don’t comprehend (no, it makes sense story wise, just far from reality).



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Other than previews for other studio films, there’s nothing on this disc, though I would’ve loved to have heard the director explain how great and oh so topical the movie was. Oh wait...



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Echelon Conspiracy is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 2.35 aspect ratio. The picture is at least serviceable but colors did seem a tad oversaturated while black levels were pretty soft... For instance, even when a scene faded out to the next, I could see a dark gray color on the screen rather than pitch black. Other than that, the video also some a little pixilation here and there but it’s easy to overlook.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is heavy on the bass and medium on most everything else except perhaps the weak score (one we’ve heard countless times before) and some gunfire.



.::OVERALL::.

Echelon Conspiracy is a remnant of the previous administration. The story has already been done and fairly or not, it will draw comparisons and even be called a rip-off. Personally, and coming from someone who was not fond of the movie, go rent Eagle Eye if you need a fix for the computer takes over the world plotline.