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Snake Eyes Reviews

Brian De Palma's exercise in flashy paranoia and shallow cynicism comes out of the gate like gangbusters, but falls apart in a flurry of preposterous plotting. Seedy cop Rick Santoro (Nicolas Cage) is a gaudy, big-talking fish in a small swamp: Atlantic City born and bred. He's a Tasmanian-devil whirlwind of chest hair and attitude, a glad-hander and shakedown artist who's always looking for an angle. High-school buddy Kevin Dunne (Gary Sinise), by contrast, is a gimlet-eyed Boy Scout who's been assigned to guard the Secretary of Defense, in town to catch the heavyweight fight between hometown boy Lincoln Tyler (Stan Shaw) and challenger Jose Ruiz (Adam C. Flores). With 14,000 people watching, a lone gunman assassinates the politico, leaving Santoro and Dunne to clean up the mess. But the miles of videotape captured by dozens of arena cameras contain tantalizing hints that all is not as it seems, and Santoro's sticky fingers start tugging at loose threads that lead to a rapidly unraveling conspiracy. Say this for De Palma: He was ahead of the pack. While recycling Hitchcock is all the current rage (witness A PERFECT MURDER and the recent remakes of PSYCHO and REAR WINDOW), De Palma's already been there and done that; now he's recycling himself, specifically BLOW OUT. His new spin on political paranoia and movie technology looks great, and scripter David Koepp tries to balance glitz and grit, putting Santoro through a moral wringer in which doing the right thing and doing right by your buds are in irreconcilable conflict. But the conflict feels artificial (like the formulaic "can't/must" dilemmas comic-book heroes muscle through in every issue); the identity of the bad guy is ludicrously obvious; and his public unmasking relies on the dopiest contrivance in recent memory.