The Middle-East is a tough road for contemporary American fiction films.
I mean, it’s admirable that our continuing relentless presence in these countries is being explored in film (or was, after this years political “hot-button” issue flicks were declared DOA at the box office, the next few years may find, say “pregnancy outta wedlock” a safer unsafe subject to subjugate). But does anyone have anything significant to say about this era?
Typically, shot in that Blackhawk Down/Traffic/ Syriana hyper docu-cool style that instantly screams important. As if Roberto Rossellini directed a CSI episode. It has the sexy fast cutting jolts of a Jaguar commercial, that oh-so-real Fredrick Wiseman drunken shaky camera-quality that Paul Greengrass expertly used to make Bloody Sunday feel like found-footage but when used in the Bourne Identity sequels, cluttered the action and only made me think “I need a bigger TV”.
The film tracks the investigation of a cracker jack team of US CSI/CIA/FBI/ NCIS or whatever, they’re smart about blood samples and DNA and say cleaver shit and have to stop some boogieman jihadists before... it’s too late.
It has politicians talking politics. But It’s apolitical, safe stuff.
Red or blue, we can all appreciate.... Maybe the US has the wrong policy, but The Cop Dream Team are honorable folks doing their job. The Middle Easterners may be backwards and some of them maybe psychos, but the good non-zealots on both sides have a lot more in common, then not, you know we both love Michael Jordan and The Six Million Dollar Man and we all think children not getting blown up are beautiful.
Once the Saudi’s let the Americans bring their no-nonsense TV-ready crime skills to the table, we can really show them how we kick-ass.
In other words it a lameofied pussyfooting mess...
But, it pretty entertaining.
Perhaps between my teensy TV screen and then. burning my microwave popcorn I missed some important plot points (like what the hell is going on). But it still has some slam-bango fun.
A GOOD CAST- where are they now?
Maybe the first rate cast was itching to work with actor turned he-man director Peter Berg. But I’m gonna guess either the producers were passing out nifty checks or Matthew Carnahan’s script looked like a winner on paper (his bro Joe directed the mega-underated Narc).
Watch Jamie Foxx ruin this other comedian’s life at a ESPN Roast
I hope before he’s done Jamie Foxx gets another role that lets him strut his stuff as much as his Oscar winner Ray did. Since then he’s been pretty forgettable in forgettable flicks (Dreamgirls, JarHead, Miami Vice, etc.). Playing “the hero” he may have the biceps of say, a Will Smith and maybe more edge, but not as much “leading man” charm. He works best as a character actor. Supporting-wise he was perfect in Michael Mann’s Collateral (2004) and Ali (2001) and Oliver Stone’s Rollerball meets some form of American football flick Any Given Sunday (1999). And best if you’ve ever seen his early standup or his appearances on In Living Color or the obnoxiously hilarious flick Booty Call (Pollack 1997) he’s very funny and most winning when playing someone not as cool as they think they are.
Chris Cooper reprises his role in... (fill in any tittle here) without any back story
I’ve never caught her TV show Alias but Jennifer Garner gave a three dimensional, moving performance to a two demensional character in the recent Juno.
Jason Bateman, I guess he was a TV star some time ago. He didn’t get on my radar until his wonderful work in the prematurely canceled brilliant sit-com Arrested Development. He’s looking like he has a major supporting actor film career in the works.
A plethora of other great supporting actors pop in for extended cameos Jeremy Piven, Richard Jenkins, Sala Baker, Frances Fisher, Danny Huston
In the end the leads are told they “all did outstanding work over there” and I think, they wonder, and we wonder... but why?