Echelon Conspiracy [Blu-ray]
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The film starts out as an excellent thriller/mystery in spite of the lead being Shane West. Shane stars as Max "glass jaw" Peterson a man who installs programs in computers to prevent hackers. Max gets a strange phone that sends him text messages which saves his life and gives him money. We also know the government is after this device and other people have received such a phone and have died from following its instructions. At this point the film is an excellent thriller/mystery.
There are few suspects and clues in this production and then we find out who's the culprit and the film becomes boring. Max saves the day from a stunt he saw in "War Games" or if you prefer, the Star Trek episode "The Changeling." At this point I groaned. Perhaps if you have never seen either of those two productions, this might seem pretty darn good. As for me, I got bored when I realized you could kill the "bad guy" by tripping over the plug.
Ving Rhames always does a good character job. Outside of that, the film lacked. Might work as a rental. Better than most of the "Red Box" action.
PARENTAL GUIDE: F-bombs, no nudity, brief love scene.
The unknown sender of the messages orders Max to fly to a Prague casino, where he is offered a chance to be rich quickly. Of course, he wouldn't let this opportunity go, but some people are not very happy about that. Max is pursued by the casino's security chief John Reed (Ed Burns) and an FBI agent Dave Grant (Ving Rhames). Apparently, Max realizes, he is not the only one who had received these strange messages, and some of those who had followed the phone's suggestions are already dead.
[MILD SPOILER INCLUDED in this paragraph] I believe the similarity is accidental, but "The Echelon Conspiracy" made me feel like watching "Eagle Eye" again. And perhaps "War Game," too. The difference is that D.J. Caruso, director of the surprise hit starring Shia LaBeouf, knew how to handle the action scenes more competently. There are a car chase and a shoot-out in "Echelon Conspiracy," but the badly edited stunts lack thrills and, with all respect to those who got involved, sometimes even look amateurish.
Maybe director Greg Marcks ("11:14") is not ready for action films of this scale. Acting is not bad, but virtually nothing is done to make their characters interesting, and any attempt for adding much-needed humor is weak at best. Not a terrible film at all, but "The Echelon Conspiracy" needs originality and imagination, as well as a better title.
While Shane West, with his blue-collar persona, seems an unlikely casting choice as a brilliant engineer, he hasn't suffered from the over-exposure of Shia LaBeouf, and his performance grows on you, as the film progresses. Edward Burns (as an ex-FBI agent/casino security chief) and Ving Rhames (as his FBI ex-partner), both deserve better roles in better films, but do provide solid support for West (although why the FBI would violate it's mandate, and operate actively in Europe, is one of many plotholes in the script). Sexy Tamara Feldman is the obligatory love interest with a secret agenda, and Jonathan Pryce, in a tiny cameo, has fun as Burns' ruthless boss. Then there is villainous Martin Sheen...well, if this film is any indication, he gave up serious acting when "The West Wing" went off the air!
If you are an armchair traveller, you will enjoy the film; Bangkok is gloriously colorful, Prague, rich in 'Old World' charm, and Moscow figures prominently in a high-voltage night car chase. You may wonder about the mountains in the 'Nebraska' finale, but you do get your money's worth in exotic locales.
Ultimately, "Echelon Conspiracy" isn't terrible, and if you are a casual movie watcher, you may enjoy the film. But if you find yourself experiencing déjà vu, don't worry; you HAVE seen all this before!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Another forgettable and predictable modern action movie. Plot and characters are not well developed. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amos
this is similar to eagal eyes it's not a bad movie if it was it would of been striaght to dvd/blu ray reliease but it was in theathers. Read morePublished 5 months ago by mike vandenburg norris
I categorized this as a this spy/agent intrigue, action/thriller. One of my favorite movie genres, this movie is very engrossing. I rated it 8.5 or 9 on a 1-10 scale. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Bob from NH
Good actors, but a lame movie. Somebody at Disney must of been really stoned to think of a movie like this. I can't believe I even bought this!Published 14 months ago by Rich Whitcomb
A poor rip-off of the movie "Eagle Eye" theres nothing new here in the Eschelon Conspiracy.
The movie was just plain horrible. Read more
Echelon Conspiracy is a great movie with a lot action in it and starring Shane West. I would recommend
this action type of movie to anyone who enjoys action movies.