Did you know that you can organize a terrorist cell, detonate a bomb and direct an auto-turret assassination machine with an iPhone? No, you didn’t? Well, that’s because you can’t. But apparently no one told anyone involved with churning out “Vantage Point,” which very well could be the dumbest action film released in years.
The iPhone mastermind is just one of many idiotic things you’ll find in the film. The gimmick behind the movie is that you see the same 20 minutes of a terrorist attack on a peace summit from eight different peoples’ point of view. Sounds like it could be an innovative concept, but you’ll discover that “Vantage Point” beats it to death pretty quickly.
Dennis Quaid (“Flight of the Phoenix”) and Matthew Fox (TV’s “Lost”) are Secret Service agents in charge of protecting the president (William Hurt, “Into the Wild”) at a peace conference in Spain. In attendance is a video-camera toting tourist (Forest Whitaker “Last King of Scotland”), a media director (Sigourney Weaver, “The Village”) and bevy of shady characters that look vaguely Middle Eastern but mostly turn out to be Spanish. One of the major players is secretly a terrorist, which is supposed to be the film’s big twist. But if you can’t guess who it is in the few minutes after the first shots are fired, you’re either a complete idiot or asleep – and no one would blame you for the latter.
Speaking of twists, the other “big” one is that the president isn’t actually shot, it’s a double. This wouldn’t normally be given away in a review, but for some inexplicable reason, they decided to put this scene in the trailer. Guess it would have portrayed the film as too shocking and revolutionary if the audience went in thinking the president had actually been shot – in a movie, which isn’t real.
Amid the unnecessary plot twists are 15 minutes of action goodness, where a terrorist goes all “Metal Gear Solid” on a hotel full of Secret Service agents, and then a climactic car chase which is up there with anything found in the “Bourne” films. But without these scenes, the rest of the film is an exercise in frustration, with more plot holes than “Jumper” – and that whole movie was a plot hole.
That each person has a “vantage point” is a shtick that gets old real quick. After the first three repetitions of the same scene with only a hint of new information each time, exhaustion begins to set in. At about the fifth repetition, even the film gets bored, abandoning this format and showing the perspective of all five terrorists at once. Finally all the characters’ cliffhanger stories are combined in a clusterfuck of an ending that leaves everyone confused and no one surprised. Really, he was a bad guy? The only guy who’s “vantage point” they hadn’t showed yet? Who could have possibly guessed?
The terrorists in the film are either the smartest or dumbest people you’ll ever see. They manage to infiltrate the most tightly guarded event on the planet, plant an agent inside the administration and blow up and shoot dozens of people with an iPhone. Unfortunately, their entire master plan is unraveled by a series of coincidences that range from “thank goodness that random camera was there to see that” to “it’s lucky an idiotic person ran out into the street at that moment.” Not to mention they feel that kidnapping the president is somehow accomplishing more than simply assassinating him. By overcomplicating their attack plan they manage to turn their elaborate scheme into a hot mess of shit. It’s kind of like this movie. What could’ve been a straightforward, solid action flick thinks it has to go beyond, and ultimately doesn’t accomplish anything at all.
Rationg: 1 and a half out of 5 stars
At Quality 16 and Showcase