Phase 4

  • 2001
  • Movie
  • Action, Science Fiction

This anti-establishment action flick is an unsatisfying mix of cautionary sci-fi tale and Hitchcockian thriller. Journalism student Simon Tate (Dean Cain, who at 35, Cain was a little old to be playing a college student), left the University's athletic program after testing positive for drugs. Making the most of his second chance, the ex-football player...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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This anti-establishment action flick is an unsatisfying mix of cautionary sci-fi tale and Hitchcockian thriller.

Journalism student Simon Tate (Dean Cain, who at 35, Cain was a little old to be playing a college student), left the University's athletic program after testing positive for drugs. Making the most of his second chance, the ex-football player starts investigating an upsurge in deaths on campus. Unfortunately, he quickly finds himself in a sticky situation: His friend, Dr. Ben Roanic (Stephen Coats), is accused of killing co-ed Hallie Holt (Amy Kerr), the daughter of Senator Diana Holt (Mimi Kuzyk); Dr. Roanic was Holly’s faculty advisor. As Simon tries to clear him, Roanic dies in a fiery car crash instigated by corrupt Detective Steve Birnam (Brian Bosworth). But before being hounded to death by the police, Dr. Roanic slipped some pills into Simon’s jacket. Simon sends the pills to s friend who works in a lab for analysis, but quickly finds himself in deep trouble. First a mysterious fire incinerates his laboratory buddy and most of Roanic’s evidence, and then the police thoroughly discredit Simon by killing his

editor and framing him for the crime. Naturally, the pills and the murders are all connected: Birnam’s cops are on the payroll of Stroyker Pharmaceuticals, a company with connections to the Holt family, specifically Senator Holt's husband, fellow senator Richard Karnes (Nigel Bennett). What the corporate villains don’t realize is that despite their best efforts, Simon has obtained a chemical breakdown of one of the pills. Stroyker’s trial study medicine, proven to cure AIDS, may not be cost effective! That explains why their test subjects and prying Dr. Roanic have been eliminated. Can Simon prove that corporate greed kept a miracle cure off the market because Stroyker executives would rather profit by selling interim palliatives? That won’t be easy after the conspirators order the kidnapping of Simon’s wife and child.

Screenwriters Jeff Hare and Bryan Goeres (who also directed) could have wrung paranoid thrills from a corrupt alliance between a politician and a drug czar, but they instead waste time on endless scenes of the unlikely hero -- a steroid-abusing gridiron star turned journalism major – being pursued.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Review: This anti-establishment action flick is an unsatisfying mix of cautionary sci-fi tale and Hitchcockian thriller. Journalism student Simon Tate (Dean Cain, who at 35, Cain was a little old to be playing a college student), left the University's athletic… (more)

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