An overlong mini-series, an average Blu
Steve Kuehl | Ben Lomond, CA | 02/08/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I do not know of the story/video game original stuff, so I went into this hoping I would see a solid suspense series as it was advertised to us. It felt like a mix of Nowhere Man - The Complete Series meets 24, meets a longer (and worse version) of Blind Horizon. Val Kilmer is in the latter film I mentioned, with Dorff playing Val's role in this series, and after spending three nauseating hours of XIII, I have to recommend the older film.
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. The only two explanations I can come up with regarding Kilmer's interview on set, was that he was either intoxicated or he was deliberately messing with the crew to throw them off (he has to look around to remember what scene they are filming, then he describes the wrong scene, stops talking mid sentence and stares off into space, etc.). On Dorff's interview the opening question goes contrary to what the interviewer asked as Dorff became irritated with him. The point being, they should have re-shot that entire half hour into an actual professional looking supplement. The behind the scenes camera guy was mimicking the production as he never holds still so it gets old fast.
I always enjoy watching Stephen McHattie (one of the leads from the Jesse Stone films), and Dorff is convincing. The amount of flubs, yeah-right moments and editing/filming styles make for a long watch, but there are a few highlights scattered throughout to keep the masses entertained. English and French language, no subs, region coded A. Maybe a rental recommendation, but not much purchase value."
Surprisingly Good for a Jason Bourne Ripoff
Compay | New Orleans, LA | 03/08/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Make no mistake about it, this film is almost entirely patterned after the Bourne series. But with that being said, there are more than a few reasons why you should check it out.
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."