Been There, Done That

The creation of films centered around paranoia regarding the dangers of technology and information sharing via the internet have become an epidemic within popular culture, the most recent addition to this branch of the film industry being Echelon Conspiracy directed by Greg Marcks.

This movie is about a man who is mysteriously mailed a phone which eventually links to a government plot involving a super computer that can monitor civilian activit. It, is not Eagle Eye, the 2008 film starring Shia Labeouf and Michelle Monahan, despite the uncannily similar plot line. Honestly, right down to the high speed car chases, explosions and shoot-em-up antics, Echelon Conspiracy is a virtual clone of Eagle Eye, only contrasting in some minor discrepancies between the twists and characters within the two films.

Unlike Eagle Eye, Echelon Conspiracy is not as intricately detailed and has far less quality in the acting department, which leaves both holes in the plot and feelings of boredom in the audience. Martin Sheen represents the information-mongering republican from the NSA that’s supporting a bill that would allow super computer Echelon to invasively monitor every home and workplace with a webcam around the globe.

In Congress, the bill unrealistically falls short of being passed by one vote which sets off a chain reaction that eventually lands an omniscient phone that feeds the holder valuable information on making money in Shane West’s character Max Peterson’s hands.

This sets afoot a battle for the phone between the NSA, the FBI and Peterson, all while Peterson attempts to discover who is sending him the messages and why he was chosen to receive them.

In two of the lead roles, West is funny as the nervous, unexpected hero and Ving Rhames is always ready to be an explosive and intimidating action figure in any film. Yet after such exceptional performances in movies such as Saving Private Ryan and Confidence, Ed Burns in one of the other main roles is disappointingly unconvincing as a ex-FBI agent turned head of security at a casino in Prague. Cue other virtually unknown actors to unconvincingly fill the rest of the two-bit parts within the film and you have the recipe for an okay movie that was way too ambitious for its own good.

Echelon Conspiracy falls short of expectations and even amounts to having an ending more disappointing than its cinematic doppelganger, Eagle Eye. Ultimately, the film amounts to be a vaguely entertaining experience of utter ridiculousness with a less than stellar cast and a two hour run-time, way too long for a movie of this caliber.