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Overall Rating
3.31

Awesome: 14.75%
Worth A Look: 22.95%
Average49.18%
Pretty Bad: 4.92%
Total Crap: 8.2%

4 reviews, 37 user ratings


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Conspiracy Theory
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by Ryan Arthur

"I'm just a guy trying to put out a fire."
4 stars

Hey, it's Mel Gibson acting wacky!

I didn't go into this film expecting a lot. I'm generally not a fan of the Lethal Weapon series and didn't have much of an opinion on the Mad Max movies. Nor does Julia Roberts impress me in anything other than a romantic comedy. So I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up liking this movie.

For once, Mel's supposed manic sense of humor actually fits a film. As Jerry, he's totally paranoid and full of nervous energy. He talks to his fares about the government coverups that he knows exist but just can't prove ("A good conspiracy is one that can't be proven; if there's evidence, then the government hasn't done a very good job," he says). He padlocks his refrigerator, keeping his drinks in individual thermoses, also padlocked. The one thing that keeps Jerry this side of sane is spying on his infatuation, Alice (Roberts), a lawyer for the Justice Department. Jerry's real big on watching her sing along to "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" while she's on the treadmill. There's nothing more charming than a paranoid stalker, apparently.

Out of nowhere, Jerry's picked up by government spooks and taken to a mental hospital, where he's tortured by Jean-Luc Picard...oops, Patrick Stewart. Needless to say, it wouldn't really be a Mel Gibson movie without a torture scene. He's trapped to a wheelchair, drugged, and has his eyes scotch-taped open. Jerry escapes after flying into a frenzy, taking a hunk of Patrick Stewart's nose with him, and starts rolling to freedom. The escape, while still strapped to the wheelchair, is one of the best scenes.

Jerry spens the rest of the movie on the run from government agencies with Alice in tow. It's here that the movie reaches it's paranoia pitch. Everything, according to Jerry, is a part of some far-reaching conspiracy plot: black stealth helicopters, mind control techniquews, even a NASA plot to kill the president by causing an earthquake from space. Jerry believes in them all, and at one point or another, they all come to the forefront. Alice is understandably skeptical. But she grudgingly comes to trust Jerry.

Unfortunately, the flick suffers from being long by about a half hour, and the ending is a bit of a letdown, although the loose ends are tied up neatly. But the plot, while having some twists, is paper thin, playing on the fact that a fair amount of the audience will turn to the person next to them and say, "you know, he's right about all that stuff." It relies solely and completely on the hope that a viewer will believe even just a little part of it.

As far as the performances go, Mel does a decent job here, rattling off theories like a paranoiac Rain Man, and he's believable as the sort of everyman that he's playing, unlike when he's some nutjob cop or apocalyptic road warrior. Roberts is passable, looking occasionally like a deer in the headlights. Stewart is mildly smarmy, but he just doesn't exude the evil that he should as some rogue government agent. He doesn't make it over the top. If anything, he's too quiet.

On the whole though, it's a decent watch.

Just because he's paranoid, doesn't mean people aren't out to get him.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=388&reviewer=7
originally posted: 08/21/98 14:22:36
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User Comments

10/13/10 PAUL SHORTT ENTERTAINING PARANOID THRILLER WITH A GOOD STAR PERFORMANCE 3 stars
10/03/08 Lenny Zane What Julia Roberts CAN do. Why oh why slum in inane RunawayBride & insufferable TheMexican? 5 stars
2/03/07 David Pollastrini kind of slow 3 stars
10/22/05 ed mampel a fun-time movie 4 stars
8/25/05 ES This movie makes little sense and has Julia Roberts, nuff said 2 stars
3/14/05 dok Mel Gibson gives one of the worst performances I've ever had the misfortune to see. 1 stars
12/08/04 lucas nothing is what it seems 3 stars
5/05/04 daniel Mcgaffin loves the cock mcgaffin wants it in the arse 5 stars
3/06/04 LIAM JACKSON Patrick Stewart was very creepy in this 5 stars
11/28/03 john a thriller with a Capra like emotional twist to it - exiting and...well sweet 5 stars
10/20/03 Samuel Justus I dont't have to tell you it sucks...It came out to video in like 2 weeks! 1 stars
9/05/03 Wendy Welch Julia Roberts's best movie! A whacky but compelling thrill ride! 5 stars
5/20/03 mr. Pink This movie gave me a fuckin' headache while watching it! Really, I was sick for 4 days! 1 stars
3/22/03 Jack Sommersby Gibson & first-half=superb/Roberts & second-half=banal. 3 stars
10/16/02 Charles Tatum Roberts and Gibson learn chemistry is important 1 stars
9/26/02 Movie guy great 5 stars
7/05/02 KMG Would've been good except Julia's in it 3 stars
1/25/02 Melvin Suarez Superb! Why can't Julia Roberts always be this sweet 5 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk Who cares? This one came out of left field. 2 stars
8/08/01 Mr. Hat One of many great 1997 movies. 4 stars
6/12/01 cinkcool Gibson carries the show. Other than that, pretty crappy movie. 3 stars
4/05/01 Hawkeye Gets my vote just for Mel's eerily adept rendition of "stark raving bonkers." Worth seeing! 5 stars
1/14/01 R.W. Welch Pretty clever plot idea, reasonably well carried out. 4 stars
7/17/00 doug average movie, great mel 3 stars
1/29/99 Scott Stipe It's soo good it makes you nervous 5 stars
1/12/99 demon_shredder NOthing special but not that bad either. 3 stars
11/26/98 Mr.Pink I literally got sick of seeing this movie. 1 stars
10/27/98 Silent Rob Another film for people who love TV 3 stars
9/23/98 Rob Forey now I can't talk long cause they're taping this :) It was good.. kinda. 4 stars
9/06/98 Janine slight suspense, a few twists, somewhat comic at times, not one to watch repeatedly though 4 stars
8/28/98 Chuck-D I dunno why but I liked it. Mel does the clueless bit better than you'd expect. 4 stars
8/26/98 PyThomas Enough plot twists to make a bag of pretzels. Intelligent and funny. 4 stars
8/24/98 JenniferLorraine Interesting story line. I know some people like that. (hope they don't see this) 3 stars
8/23/98 Mister Whoopee Julia AGAIN doesn't get naked. What's with that? 2 stars
8/17/98 Johny I liked it until the big, stupid plot twist 3 stars
8/17/98 {{{OZ}}} Julia Roberts is niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice. Truly. 4 stars
8/17/98 J-Guy (The MFC) 3 words: needs more dialog. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  08-Aug-1997 (R)

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