Echelon Conspiracy (2009)

Ah, what a crappy movie.

Okay, no, go ahead and defend it as being underrated because it tries to accomplish Eagle Eye with a smaller budget.  Go ahead and say the premise is decent and there are parts of it that are nice.  Tell me about Tamara Feldman.  Talk about how it’s critically panned because of the military industrial complex.  Go for it.  Then go find out that Dark Castle was originally formed to do remakes of some guy’s movies from the 50’s and 60’s.  Then try and find Mobicom.  Then go check out The Asylum because they’ve been making a lot of movies you’re probably going to want to see.  I’ve heard Sharknado is going to be epic!

It’s what you get when smaller studios see blockbusters come out and instead of being inspired to make their own movies, they are inspired to make a clone, a knockoff, a ripoff, mockbuster, or piece of crap.  The trick then is to trick viewers into spending money to see them.  And it is in fact a trick because no one actually wants to see these movies except Tarantino and that’s because it’s a fetish and he can’t help himself.

I actually like Edward Burns, Ving Rhames, and Jonathan Pryce.  I like movies about the NSA and mentions of Echelon.  I can’t stand Shane West in this movie but he was okay in a Walk to Remember and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  He’s a weird sort of hybrid between  Charlie Sheen (especially the voice) and Doogie Howser M.D.  I literally kept hoping he’d die.  I shit you not though, when he pulls the gun on Agent Grant I had this ridiculous hope that it was going to become awesome.  If he’d shot Rhames and wounded Burns then run off, this movie would have kicked ass.  They could have the bottom drop out as we try to figure out how this stupidass everyman is actually suddenly very important and how the whole rest of the movie was a big lie pulled over through the “Unreliable Narrator” mechanism.  The movie then switches POV to Edward Burns character as he tracks down the guy we thought was Max Peterson but that’s not his real name!  Seeking redemption, Burns follows a global conspiracy between the international members of the Echelon program directed by key agents within the national intelligence agencies.  Are they double agents?  Is a secret internal faction covertly guiding intelligence activities all around the world?  What are the goals?  Money, government fiat, betrayal?  How far up does it go?  Did hackers or the EFF corrupt big government’s precious eavesdropper?  Find out as we follow Burns in the gritty remake.  Shooting one FBI agent is only the beginning as the villain threatens more than our secrets, more than our way of life or beliefs but our very existence!  But none of that happened.

Tamara Feldman is an easily forgettable tv actress.

The idea that an IT guy setting up clearly expensive security systems wouldn’t know much about the NSA or the Echelon network is facile imbecility.  Pretending that server farms aren’t connected to the most basic surge protectors or fuses is offensive to Howard Clark Cooper.  The idea that anyone would blindly follow directions sent to them on a magic phone or that the “supercomputer” couldn’t just send it to their regular phones is stupid.  Pretending that an obvious professional like Kamila gets smitten by some douchebag who is a fraudulent criminal at the very least and traitorous security risk at most is disgusting.  Let’s just degrade her to convenient boobs, that’s her new credit, convenient boobs.  Why bother giving her a name?  There are a lot of assumptions required and a lot of suspension of disbelief not the least of which is that Echelon is a supercomputer or computer program and that it can become sentient.  Or is it following orders?  Or is it killing people to achieve the dubious goal of an upgrade?  Or is it what Raymond Burke and the President hoped would happen?  Or was it all a lie concocted by the Russians?  And why is the FBI running foreign covert operations?  And why is the NSA killing people again?

There are bad movies that are fun to watch because they are so bad.

This is not one of them.

Stop lying to yourself.

It was terrible.

But not even bottom of the barrel terrible.

Not cult classic terrible.

Stupidly mediocre terrible.

It was boring terrible.