Movie Review - Shadow Conspiracy
'Conspiracy' shadowed by predictability
If only Charlie Sheen were really
Jackie Chan . . .

The Cincinnati Enquirer

I have a sneaking suspicion that the studio behind Shadow Conspiracy doesn't really care whether you go see the movie.

By ''you'' I mean the home audience, North American viewers, the domestic market. In the grand scheme of things, I'm pretty sure your reaction means nothing to Hollywood Pictures, the Disney arm that released the film.

I'd say their target audience adores action flicks, eschews romance and can't get enough of Charlie Sheen. Their target audience lives in Asia.

Fair enough. The movie certainly has scads of action. It's a regular stuntman's carnival, from motorcycle crashes to dangling-elevator fistfights. In fact, the movie overall serves chiefly as an excuse for the stunts.

That works fine for, say, Jackie Chan. But Charlie Sheen is no Jackie Chan, and director George P. Cosmatos and screenwriters Adi Hasak and Rick Gibbs fail to come up with anything by way of an engaging story to offset the predictable action.

Mr. Sheen plays a presidential adviser on the lam from some murky bad guys who are plotting to take over the government. Why? The president wants ''radical change.'' Or ''This country is falling apart.'' Or the president will ''freeze government contracts.'' To which the only reasonable response is ''What the heck are you talking about?''

Unfortunately, nobody asks that question, including the newspaper reporter (Linda Hamilton) who winds up running around with Mr. Sheen. Her reporting technique stops at breaking into a source's home when he doesn't answer the door.

The whole thing is so vague and preposterous and paranoid that it almost goes without saying that Donald Sutherland plays a key role.

See it if you must. But it might make more sense if you wait until it's dubbed in Japanese.

Shadow Conspiracy
(R; language, violence) Charlie Sheen, Linda Hamilton, Donald Sutherland. 103 minutes. At National Amusements. Showplace 8, Danbarry Middletown.