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XIII: The Conspiracy
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very similar plotline to the Bourne Series of films, this is also a five star keeper; hey it spawned two seasons of a mini-series. Read morePublished 3 months ago by James Carroll
Reading all the negative reviews. Everybody is a critic. Now they criticize the thought process that goes in to creating the film story. These people do not get out enough. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Cain
This is a great conspiracy movie involving politicians and what goes on behind the scenes. I had originally seen this mini-series on TV when it aired and liked it then. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Marcus R. Chaney