The Shadow Conspiracy

on January 31, 1997 by Karen Achenbach
   The smartest young comer on Capitol Hill, presidential aide Bobby Bishop (Charlie Sheen) becomes entangled in conspiracy via contact with a man who knows too much and then is hard-targeted by a high-level White House bunch who are scheming to control the government. Unable to come in to his mentor, the chief of staff (Donald Sutherland, believable despite a weak script), Bobby and reporter Amanda Givens (Linda Hamilton, given nothing to do but be beautiful) flee from a killer (Stephen Lang) modeled after the Terminator. Both Sam Waterston as the President and Ben Gazzara as the Vice President are quiet and professional, despite their cypher characters.
   Sheen is a handsome and resourceful actor, but not enough so to win in this conspiracy of shadows over substance. Like beauty over brains, "Shadow Conspiracy" gives some pleasure as it presents a visually sumptuous movie containing minimal dialogue, no character development and a kindergarten plot. "Shadow Conspiracy," a Cinergi production for Disney's Hollywood Pictures, samples actions from "Three Days of the Condor," "The Conversation," "The Terminator" and "T2," but without their plot intelligence.
   Instead, director George P. Cosmatos ("Tombstone") puts all his logic into Joe Alves' production design and Buzz Feitshans IV's cinematography. Shadows, reflections and obstacles abound in dark interiors and night exteriors shot through screens, grids and grills. Action sequences are noteworthy for their spectacular locations: underwater aqueducts, underpasses, elevator shafts, tunnels. Liberal use of high angle shots coupled with numerous satellite surveillance shots remind audiences of the only well-developed plot element: There is no privacy left. Starring Charlie Sheen, Donald Sutherland and Linda Hamilton. Directed by George P. Cosmatos. Written by Adi Hasak and Ric Gibbs. Produced by Terry Collis. A Buena Vista release. Thriller. Rated R for violence and language. Running time: 103 min
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