XIII: THE CONSPIRACY
What? A miniseries based on a video game? How could this go wrong? But wait, it turns out the video game is, in fact, based on a French/Belgian comic series. Hmm, still not really feeling any better about it. And right I was not to. What does it tell you that the two stars are Val Kilmer
and Stephen Dorff
? It should tell you to keep looking for something else to watch.
When the first US female president is assassinated, the killer escapes, barely escaping an encounter with “The Mongoose”
). A while later, an old couple living out in the snowy woods discover a wounded guy hanging from a parachute in a tree. Of course, he’s got amnesia and it doesn’t take long before Kilmer
and his goons show up and start killing anyone who has anything to do with him. Dorff
, who discovers from the Roman numeral XIII on his chest that he is professionally known by that name, goes on the run trying to figure out who he is, who’s chasing him, and whether or not he actually killed the president.
"XIII" is so similar in premise to the “Bourne”
books/films, that it's easy to write it off completely like some sort of "Asylum"
low-budget clone. And sure, even the original source material came out a few years after the first book in the series, so it's certainly not out of the question that it was a blatant lift. "XIII: The Conspiracy"
might have been able to get away with it though, if it had anything worthy of its own to offer. I haven't read the original comics so I can't speak for them, but the series...oh, the miniseries...When I was watching it, I didn’t realize it was
a TV miniseries but I thought to myself during it that I wouldn't wish it on the SyFy Channel. Shoddy editing, muddy effects, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, sub-par acting, all combine to one of the most tedious spy ‘thrillers’ I’ve yet to come across. Do yourself a favor and go buy the fantastic cel-shaded PS2 game of it instead and SKIP
this waste of time.
EDGE OF DARKNESS
Did you know that the recent Martin Campbell
directed, Mel Gibson
starring film was a remake of a six hour BBC miniseries from 1985 that Martin Campbell
actually directed as well? I guess if you listened to our review
, you probably did
know that. Ah, but did you know that the star of the miniseries was Bob Peck
, a big star in England but probably best known here as the game warden in “Jurassic Park”
who says “Clever Girl”
right before he gets totally pwned by a pack of velociraptors? Still no excitement? Look, it practically swept the British BAFTA awards and is regarded as one of the crowning moments in BBC television history. So yeah, it’s kind of slow. Give me a break, I'm trying to get you folks excited about art here, but even I've got to admit that coffee was required.
Policeman Ronald Craven
’s daughter Emma
) is shotgunned to death right in front of him and even though it looks like the gunman was actually aiming for him and she just got in the way, not everything seems to add up. Soon he realizes that it was her that was the target because she was involved with an environmental activist group that had infiltrated a nearby radioactive waste facility. Every bit of information he gets opens a new door to a higher level and deeper corruption. Eventually, he even has to work with a CIA cowboy (Joe Don Baker
hamming it up wonderfully as the very definition of the 'ugly American') to come to the conclusion of his frightening and dangerous investigation that seems to go all the way up to the top.
It was more than two hours in before this drama finally started to grab me, as it was pretty damn tedious at first, but once it does...it just kinda hangs there. Six hours is way too long for an 80’s BBC drama and the fact I didn’t give up is indeed a testament to “Edge of Darkness”
being much better than most endless series of the BBC's 80's ilk. Performances all around are really good and everything comes to the sort of unbelievably bleak ending that I tend to love. I swear, I’m actually an optimist in real life I just enjoy some dark as pitch stuff in my dramas. It's also impossible not to mention the original score by Eric Clapton
which is amazing and even iconic. For those who really enjoy these sorts of affairs, this should be a swing and a hit, but for me, I have to say RENT
it, and even only then if you were a fan of the recent remake film and want to see where it all came from.
Click Here to Buy XIII: The Conspiracy
Click Here to Buy Edge of Darkness: The Complete BBC Series