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Vantage Point
A bad season of 24.
Vantage Point
A Scene From "Vantage Point."
OPENING WEEKEND: $10,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $42,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

November 12th, 2007: Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid) and Kent Taylor (Matthew Fox), are two Secret Service agents assigned to protect President Ashton (William Hurt) at a landmark summit on the global war on terror. When President Ashton is shot moments after his arrival in Spain, chaos ensues and disparate lives collide. In the crowd is Howard Lewis (Forest Whitaker) an American tourist video taping the historic event to show his kids when he returns home. Also there is Rex (Sigourney Weaver) an American TV news producer who is reporting on the conference. It's only as we follow each person's perspective of the same 15 minutes prior to and immediately after the shooting that the terrifying truth behind the assassination attempt is revealed.

What to Expect: Before I begin telling you about Vantage Point I must add a little disclaimer. My two favorite shows on right now are 24 and Lost. 24 has obviously gotten a little old and predictable, especially last season, but as a body of work it is still pretty good. I mention this disclaimer because Vantage Point is actually a 24 storyline about a presidential assassination plot that is told in the Lost style through flashbacks. In fact, the script was actually considered for 24, and one of its stars, Matthew Fox, also stars on Lost. Does this combination guarantee a good movie? Certainly not, actually this movie is probably going to be pretty bad. The best we can hope for from Vantage Point is a suspenseful action flick with very little depth but lots of explosions, shootouts and car chases.

Vantage Point is based on a script written by Barry Levy about a presidential assassination attempt. The script is told from five different points of view using the Rashomon narrative where the audience cannot figure out the truth because of contradicting eye witness accounts. In the center of the conspiracy is a shadowy political organization that wants to make a statement to the US by assassinating the president during an anti-terror summit. However, the Secret Service gets wind of this plot and places a double on stage. The double is then shot, but it turns out that it is just the first step in their plot.


The organization actually has a secret service agent working for them who tells them where the real president is. Thus, they only use the first assassination as a distraction and in the chaos kidnap the real president and whisk him away in the back of an ambulance.


Now it is up to Secret Service agent, Barnes, to unravel the mystery before it is too late. What is unique about this movie is the fact that the political agenda behind the conspiracy is never reveled which I find refreshing in today's politicized movie market. As I mentioned earlier, this script was originally considered for season 5 of 24 but that did not work out since the show had already done the presidential assassination storyline in its first season and there is also no central character for Jack Bauer. After Fox passed on the screenplay, Columbia stepped in and bought it to be developed into a movie. Irish director Pete Travis was hired to direct the script. Although Travis has very little experience, he did direct the award winning film Omagh which coincidentally is also about a terrorist attack, so this film should be right up his alley. Travis decided to film exactly like the script is written, in 15 minute flashback increments. Travis then assembled an all star cast that includes Sigourney Weaver, Forest Whitaker, Matthew Fox and Dennis Quaid. This cast is a very nice combination of the old and the new. Weaver and Quaid are definitely on the down turn of their careers with most of their better movies far behind them. While Whitaker is at the top of his game with his Oscar winning performance in last year's The Last King of Scotland and Fox has been able to parlay his TV success into a blossoming film career. However, when you assemble so many stars, there are bound to be scheduling difficulties. Travis was not able to start filming right away because of financial problems and production missteps. The actors went on to do other projects including Fox, who had to return to Hawaii (poor guy) to film season 2 of Lost. It was not until a year later that Travis was able to assemble everyone to actually film the movie. Fortunately, the rest of the project went extremely smoothly. The actors and director all worked very well together, there were no major accidents and the project stayed on schedule. Travis did a great job managing the day to day of the shoot, keeping everyone focused and on track. He even got actual Secret Service agents as consultants to work with the actors to give the movie a sense of authenticity. The agents could not reveal actual security procedures but were able to steer the movie in the right direction.

Unfortuantely, all the star power and harmony on set cannot overcome the fact that the actual story is not very clever and original. The concept itself of the intersecting stories has really been overused in recent years. The plot about the political assassination is nothing new and might not spark much interest from audiences. In fact this movie, in terns of camera style and plot, looks very similar to the last Bourne movie, Bourne Ultimatum. Even though production started way before Bourne Ultimatum, it is going to be released after Bourne and draw calls of plagiarism. Finally, the entire plot seems highly unbelievable and improbable. The "evil organization" is able to place a mole inside the Secret Service and communicate with him freely. I am sure there are all kinds of procedures in place to watch agents and hamper their communications with the people outside the Service. To make matters worse, the organization is able to use his information to send in two men who are able to overpower about ten well trained and well armed agents to kidnap the president of the US. Come on, it is not that easy to just waltz in and kidnap the leader of the free world. I am sure all of these shortcomings are going to keep a lot of people away.

In Conclusion: Vantage Point is a high octane thriller with enough explosions, shootouts and car chases to make Michael Bay proud. It features a very good cast and an up and coming director in Pete Travis. The main problem is that the movie is not very original in terms of style and plot. I would not waste my hard earned money on this movie; instead you can just rent Season 1 of 24 or Bourne Ultimatum and have a much better time.

Similar Titles: Bourne Ultimatum, Go, Shooter
February 22nd, 2008 (wide)
July 1st, 2008 (DVD)

Columbia Pictures

Pete Travis

Dennis Quaid, William Hurt, Matthew Fox, Sigourney Weaver, Forest Whitaker, Zoe Saldana, Edgar Ramirez, Eduarodo Noriega, Shelby Fenner

Total: 88 vote(s).

Drama, Suspense

Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense violence and action, some disturbing images and brief strong language.






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