The Shadow Conspiracy is a truly pathetic thriller. Charlie Sheen stars as White House aide Bobby Bishop. When a nutty conspiracy group stumbles upon a “shadow government”, they are systematically eliminated by a mysterious gunman (Stephen Lang)…but not before their leader mumbles a few incomprehensible words to Bobby. Now the assassin is on his trail, and Bobby is forced to team up with his ex-girlfriend reporter (Linda Hamilton) to decipher the conspiracy. The problem is, no one really knows what the heck the conspiracy is…including the screenwriters. There are all the trappings of conspiratorial goings on (i.e. secret meetings, sly looks between government officials, top secret government agencies, brooding men with secret earphones, etc.) but no substance behind them. None of the conspiracy trappings mesh at all in the film, which apparently they realized at the end. All of a sudden, a secret plot pops up out of nowhere that doesn’t really follow the rest of the film, but it must have given the writers a sense of closure. Director George P. Cosmatos manages to overbroadcast every move, and truly brings out the worst in his characters. Donald Sutherland breezes through his role as chief-of-staff with a slightly embarrassed air, and Charlie Sheen definately isn’t doing his acting career any favors by wading through this sludge. Don’t even bother watching The Shadow Conspiracy for the action…when the action scenes aren’t laughibly bad, they are mindless rehashes of far better films. You’re better off doing anything else than sitting through this collapsed conspiracy.
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