Directed by Pete Travis.
Written by Barry Levy.
Starring Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker and William
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 2/26/08
During my recent visit to the ATL, I took my
two favorite women--my mom and my fiancée, Meg--to catch a daytime
showing of the new thriller "Vantage Point." We had tried to
see this for free last week in DC, but it was crushed with peeps
hoping to skip out on paying $10 so we had to wait to see it with
And, even though the film's premise is
interesting and it initially builds steam through a strong intro,
"Vantage Point" collapses on itself because it tries to give us six
or seven different retellings of the same 20-minute period.
That period includes a speech by the President of the United States
(William Hurt), interrupted by his death on a public stage in a
courtyard in Spain. We get the viewpoints of two Secret
Service officers (Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox), a news team (led by
Sigourney Weaver), a group of terrorists (led by Saïd Taghmaoui), a
tourist (Forest Whitaker) and a freakin' little girl who loves ice
cream (Alicia Zapien). Naturally, something is wrong here, and
it's up to these different vantage points to eventually tell us
who's on the take.
I don't like to play these guessing games
while a film is running, but even I had to admit that by roughly the
ten-minute mark, you know who that shady-someone is. And,
coupled with constant sighs from Meg each time the film rewinds to
give us another vantage point during the same 20-minute stretch,
"Vantage Point" gets tiring fast, and it is only occasionally that
an action scene or a little laugh keeps hope alive. The
performances by Whitaker and Edgar Ramirez as a former Special
Forces soldier are surprisingly good, given that Hurt, Fox, Quaid
and the rest of this cast looks like they know this puppy is a dog.
(Figuratively speaking, that is.) I still can't figure out how
this premise could go so badly; this feels like a lower-budget
version of any episode of "24", with stronger actors not working as
hard as they have in other films.
Even the end car chase sequence brought more
laughs from my threesome than cheers; that's probably because one of
our characters is able to continuously dodge all manner of close
calls in trying to nab terrorists in a foreign country where the
driver can't possibly know this many backroads. Or the super
sat-phone that is able to control all manner of dastardly deeds (my
cell just has call waiting and "speakerphone"; in "Vantage Point",
they can essentially fly 747s from the touch screen). Or the
set of coincidences that allow the bad guys to go down...ugh.
It's a sad exercise, but at least one that is over relatively fast
at 90 minutes flat. And, it certainly appears that there's no
chance for a sequel!!
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard