Screenwriter Christopher Crowe seems to suffer some kind of identity crisis after crafting a crisp, balanced set-up for this thriller about the road to 9-11. The cautionary tale of the first have is a bad match for the testosterone-fueled conclusion, which tries to apologize for bungled US foreign policy while delivering action-movie kicks.
Despite rumors of terrorist activity dating back as far as 1995, short-sighted covert intelligence agencies ignore tips regarding the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center. In Phoenix, Arizona, a flying instructor reports a foreign-born student with more interest in steering his plane than landing it. In Germany, American secret agent Bradley Brand (Grant Show) pressures informant Achmed (Alex Dodd) for details about a multi-pronged attack on US soil, but after Achmed is gunned down by his confederates, Brand has no evidence to support his suspicions. In Seattle, the FBI wastes time fighting turf wars with other law-enforcement agencies. Embassy bombings and the near-sinking of the USS Cole are given short shrift, but ultimately prove to be dress rehearsals for the the most devastating peacetime attack on US soil since the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.
In the aftermath of 9-11, Tom Ridge taps Admiral McKee (Tom Skerritt) to head the newly formed Homeland Security unit. Under McKee’s aegis, in-fighting beteen the CIA, FBI et al. slowly starts to abate while his daughter, Melissa (Stephanie Lineburg), begs him to intercede in the detainment of her Muslim boyfriend’s father. In their zeal to round up sleeper cells, US agents arrest anyone who looks even vaguely Middle-Eastern. Concerned that the next wave of terrorists will slip over the US/Canadian border, Homeland Security's network spans the globe, but though agents are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan to locate the next generation of Al Queda operatives, it proves as difficult as ever to root out infiltrators based in America.
Whereas director Daniel Sackheim easily crafts action sequences, he’s less adept at putting across Crowe's underlying message: That the fortitude of the new anti-terrorists is commendable, but they've inherited a flawed way of thinking about terrorism from their arrogant predecessors.
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- Released: 2004
- Rating: R
- Review: Screenwriter Christopher Crowe seems to suffer some kind of identity crisis after crafting a crisp, balanced set-up for this thriller about the road to 9-11. The cautionary tale of the first have is a bad match for the testosterone-fueled conclusion, which… (more)