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Review of “Vantage Point” (2008) PG-13 90min

March 3rd, 2008 by Maxim · 2 Comments · 6,381 Views


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Vantage Point (2008) poster

WARNING: this review may contain spoilers.

This is yet another fiction thriller movie about a President of The Fee World (that is, USA) being saved by his security detail.

The plot: President Ashton (William Hurt) arrives to Salamanca, Spain to attend a summit on global terror. Two secret service agents, Thomas Barnes (Dennis Quaid), for whom its a first assignment after he recovered from taking a bullet for the president earlier, and Kent Taylor (Matthew Fox) , are assigned to protect him. Despite them doing all they could, the president is assassinated before their eyes and eyes of millions of TV viewers and large crowd. Several bombs go off in the crowd and dozens of people are killed and injured. The agents are after the suspect. Agent Thomas Barnes uses tapes recorded by bystanders and TV journalists to uncover the truth and get the lead.

The good: The movie is starring Forest Whitacker, fresh from The Last King Of Scotland. He’s playing an American tourist who’s first time abroad and is excited to film anything he sees with his cool Sony HD camcorder, and he’s one of the witnesses who might have seen the assassin. He was good, although the story is pathetic and comic strip-like, so he could do only so much out of the material. There’s also a nice ironic point in the movie: one of the Cabinet members is pressing for a retaliatory action, which involves bombing terrorist camp in a friendly country, in response to the terror attacks of the movie, but president says no, that’s just what terrorists are trying to provoke us to do, we have the sympathies of the world right now, so let’s finish what we came here to do. The car chases have been made well, although they are trying to imitate ones from the Bourne movies and aren’t quite as good, and surely they don’t compare to the chases from John Frankenheimer’s Ronin. Thomas’s car kept repairing itself during the final chase scene. Besides, there are no freeways in Salamanca, and no “Alto” – just “Stop” sings – clearly, the movie has been shot in Mexico. Oh, and I’d like me on the those phones that terrorists had: much cooler then iPhone.

The bad: This movie is the definition of pathetic. The story and the characters are so superficial and shallow, with the cheesy ending being the culmination of shallowness and stupidity. To begin with, how many times can we see movies about secret agents saving the president? Second, the movie is structured terribly. I understand the movie is called “Vantage Point” and it’s about figuring out the truth blah blah, which requires to review video tapes shot from different vantage points, but there is a reason why there are so few movies that actually are structured this way. The movie keeps rewinding itself to 1 minute before the attack, and after it rewinded itself for the fifth time the audience was cracking up, in fear that the movie might rewind itself for the sixth time. Cinematography: shaky camera style typical these days for action thrillers like the Bourne trilogy. Acting: I like Dennis Quaid, but in this movie he is a trivial parody of a vulgar caricature of a Secret Service agent: he’s so tense, with tight lips, low brows, long face and grinding teeth. Story: pathetic storyboard of a comic strip with a cheesy ending, unrealistic cartoonish characters. Despite all the thrill of chasing the suspects and following the leads, the plan of terrorists would have worked if it wasn’t for pure dumb luck of the secret service agents.

The summary: this movie is a material for spoofs like Scary Movie. Worst “secret service agent takes bullet for the dear leader of the free world” movie ever.

Credits (oh, really?): Director – Pete Travis | Writer – Barry Levy | Producers – Andrea Giannetti, Callum Greene, Tania Landau, Adam Milano, Ricardo Del Río, Neal H. Moritz | Director of photography – Amir Mokri (Bad Boys II, Coyote Ugly, Don’t Say a Word, Lord of War, National Treasure 2) | Original Musical score – Atli Örvarsson | Thomas Barnes – Dennis Quaid | Kennt Taylor – Mathew Fox | Howard Lewis – Forest Whitacker | Javier – Edgar Romirez | Suarez – Saïd Taghmaoui | Veronica – Ayelet Zurer | Rex Brooks – Sigourney Weaver | President Ashton – William Hurt |

p.s. Daniel Craig is 40 today.

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Tags: Action · Movies · Thrillers/Suspense · USA

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Eksantrik Presler // Mar 29, 2008 at 5:15 am

    Reply  |  Quote

    As the Bourne series raises the bar for action films, and audiences balk at two-plus hour runtimes, the filmmakers of Vantage Point seem like they are trying to bring a fresh, new, unconventional take on the action/thriller genre. Though it may annoy some people, I felt the new take turns Vantage Point into a taut terrorist thriller.

  • 2 Hot New DVD and Blu-Ray Releases This Week (July 2, 2008) | Maxim's Movie Reviews and Opinions Blog // Jun 30, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    [...] (2007) PG-13 Moments after he arrives in Spain for a landmark antiterrorism summit, U.S. President Ashton is shot. The 15 minutes leading up to the shooting are rehashed — Rashomon-style — from the perspective of various onlookers: two Secret Service agents (Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox), a TV reporter (Sigourney Weaver) and a tourist (Forest Whitaker). This nail-biting political thriller marks the feature directorial debut of Pete Travis. DVD (single-disk edition and Two-Disk Special Edition). Blu-Ray. [Maxim's Review] [...]

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