Monday, March 30, 2009

Echelon Conspiracy

Shane West from ER starred in this movie and performed adequately. He must have worked hard in the auditions to obtain this role. He was the central figure surrounded by much bigger names. Martin Sheen and Ving Rhames among the main top stars in this movie.

This movie is and was an enigma to me. I would have turned it off in the first 10 minutes accept that it was so crisp and clear. The movie was filmed as if it was a low budget production. I still do not understand this. I just listed two celebrities that were in this movie and I knew they were in it. My worst suspicions was that these actors would make a 2 second appearance but the production company would use their names to attract viewers. I was wrong. Sheen and Rhames shared many lines and a large share of the face time in this movie besides the main character West who plays Max Peterson.

Edward Burns was also in this movie. I will never forget the shocking and horrendous death he obtained at the end in the glistening movie The Ring. He plays John Reed here who is a security cheif in a Prague casino.

Agent Dave Grant is Rhame's character and he is on the hunt and case of what is happening. He coordinates what is happening with the NSA's top brass Raymond Burke, who is Sheen. The problem is, no one knows what is happening but that people are dying randomly and uncontrollably.

By the time they determine that these people are not being chosen randomly, the plan is already underway.

Echelon is a NSA security program, using artificial intelligence, which learns that Congress is not going to allow it to fully expand and breath like it was designed to do. So, it gains people's trust by allowing them or giving them financial or gambling tips that prove lucrative. Then it asks them to violate their organization's security protocol for it's own nafarious use. After this is completed, it puts the victim in a likely situation where they could do. That all do, accept Peterson. With the aid of the NSA, they protect him but then they also turn on him and try to eliminate him in Moscow and even in Nebraska.

Peterson installs password protection systems worldwide. Echelon uses him to set this database center up in Nebraska but he does not know it yet. Somehow, and I will bypass countless details, Echelon is able to install huge servors underneath this wharehouse shelter, offsight from NSA's Maryland property and head quarters. Echelon compiles all of the credit and financial information of the USA and begins to download, steal, and store it in these servors. Ofcourse this is at the end after this movie jumps around a bit. This movie is entertaining, offers some hip hop beats to enhance the value of the picture. Their is a cool car chase, some interrogation scenes, and a lot of technological vernacular mixed into this movie.

Conspiracy does not have the resources supporting it as did Eagle Eye last fall. I meantion that movie because Conspiracy sort of resembled this movie. Also, thoughts of Skynet of the Terminator storyline came in the picture at the end when it was thinking on its own and doing what it pleased. I started to think what would happen if it wanted to try to infect a computer system on a fighter jet or aircraft carrier? Echelon stated at the end to Peterson that despite its actions it still was going to do what it was mandated to do: to protect the citizens and freedoms of US citizens. Peterson, erudite and judicious, uses this logic and Echelon's ability to learn, knowing Echelon will see the error's of her ways. Echelon already killed 4 people or so so obviously someone at the NSA did not think this one through nor toss in some ethics software.

Echelon was sending text messages through the NSA's network and they could not track them. Much to their consternation, they thought that someone hacked into the NSA and was using its power for devious purposes. But, this could have been the case since one of Peterson's acquaintences in this movie is a Russion taxi driver who is a tech genius on the side who he meets in Prague. But was this meeting an accident? Sergey Gubanov is the actor who plays this Yuri Malanin. The movie ends with us guessing, was it a computer gone crazy or the Russians manipulating our systems with their hidden computer skills?

The movie has a wonderful looking woman named Tamara Feldman. Kamila is her fictional name and she is spectacular. Almost on par with Bond's newest untouched flame Olga Kurylenko.

I am not sure why this movie had to be filmed like this. Perhaps it was low budget, perhaps they spent all of their money on Rhames and Sheen, with a little left over for Burns. Some funny scenes, many characters, realistic scenery, a fiery car chase, spectactular looking actress, are all things this movie has going for it. The ending was intense, a true nail biter. But the filming was just generic. It is plausible though and I was never bored at all. Several nice settings in this technological thriller.

I allocate this movie three stars.***

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