Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Here’s the question: Are you comfortable with Val Kilmer, yes we’re talking ‘Iceman’ here, moving in on the territory of Steven Seagal, Dolph Lungren, Wesley Snipes and Jean Claude? My answer is no, but yours may be different. With his latest film ‘Conspiracy’ Val has encroached upon up the territory of those stalwarts with an action filled Direct-to-Video shootemup and I’m not quite sure the forty eight year old Academy Award nominee is up for the task.

Kilmer plays ‘Spooky’ McPherson who we meet as a marine sergeant on a recon mission with his squad in Iraq during Desert Storm to eliminate a terrorist cancer. Things in this mission go generally well, except at the end which results in an unexpected catastrophic explosion costing McPherson one of his legs. In present day McPherson in now a completely shell shocked war vet who spends his time with what I’m guessing are prostitutes, and if this woman is a prostitute then she’s an Elliot Spitzer 5000 dollar ho for real. In an amazingly gratuitous nude scene, this woman (Alesia Riabinkova – krazy hot) lies around naked, licking Spooky’s shoulder and riding him while he flashbacks about getting his leg blown off. I guess this is to show us how messed up in the head he is that can’t even concentrate on this ridiculously voluptuous woman bouncing up and down on him. I believe, and war is freaking hell.

Anyway, McPherson finally answers a call from a war buddy whose life he saved in that fateful blast named Miguel (Greg Serano) who has been pestering him to join him in Arizona and get his life back on track. However when McPherson gets there nobody’s ever heard of Miguel, the town is being run by a bunch of over eager stereotyped rednecks, and everything is overseen by the ubiquitously huge Halicorp which is run by Rhodes (Gary Cole) it’s evil CEO. The folks in this sleepy Arizona

town immediately hate McPherson as he is obviously a big city trouble maker, and despite the warnings of the pretty town librarian Joanna (Jennifer Esposito) he starts sticking his nose where it don’t belong which eventually gets him into all kinds of trouble with the local Rhodes controlled law enforcement crew. Not only does Halicorp build weapons of mass destruction, control Presidents, start wars for no reason other than mad profit, but its CEO also hates fereners who are diluting the purity of America. Dang fereners. All McPherson wants to know is what happened to Miguel, but the problem is since his accident he can’t even ball up a fist without getting a massive flashback migraine, even when the evil deputies take of his peg leg and start beating him with it. Believe me when I tell you that these dudes ain’t no damn good. Eventually though these one-dimensional rednecks push this true American hero, or at least his stunt double, too far and he subsequently brings HELL to this silly little town in Arizona. Hell I say!

Val Kilmer has a filmography that reads likes a virtual ‘Hall of Fame’ of great movies. ‘Heat’, ‘Top Gun’, ‘The Doors’ ‘Wonderland’, ‘Willow’ and the list goes on and on. This is one of the reasons that we don’t welcome him with open arms into the DTV action genre because his dossier is just too pristine. That and because he’s just too good an actor be in crap like this. He simply doesn’t belong down here with us. It’s not that ‘Conspiracy’ wasn’t without entertainment value as it certainly is as good as any other Direct to Video action picture, but it had the added weight of some EXTREMELY left leaning politics as characters sat around preaching the evils of Halliburton… errr… Halicorp, weighing in on the wrongs of the Iraqi wars and taking jabs at those nutty ‘Minute Men’ who have taken it upon themselves to patrol the U.S. Borders, though the cats in this movie have high powered rifles with scopes and shoot the runners in the back. It takes a minute for the action get going, but when it does, and nonsensical as it is, it’s pretty good. McPherson of course turns into a ‘ghost’ as they say numerous times, killing hapless rednecks from seemingly out of nowhere. They might have gotten a stunt double that was similarly shaped to Kilmer, or at least cut away from him a little better as there were scenes were the stunt double was kicking someone’s ass and you were wondering ‘who the hell is that dude and when did McPherson get an ally?’ Oh… that IS McPherson.

As is the case with most flicks of this ilk, very little actually makes real world sense. Imagine Dick Cheney, former CEO of Halliburton and advisor to presidents, actually getting involved in personally murdering illegal aliens. Hell, legal American citizens with accents. Imagine some dude KILLING Dick Cheney, despite what Dick may have done, and then goes about his life as if nothing ever happened. This flick is chock full of so much implausible silliness that it’s almost worth watching just to experience it all.

I think Val Kilmer is a wonderful actor. I actually own a copy of ‘Real Genius’ so you know I’m on the Kilmer plan, but for this flick you could have easily inserted Wesley or Dolph in role and the movie probably would have better for it even though they don’t have Kilmer’s talent. I’m told the film probably wouldn’t have been made without Kilmer’s involvement so it is understandable why he threw himself in the mix, but in the future Mr. Kilmer, let those who do this kind of thing do this kind of thing. You sir get back to making the ‘Kiss, Kiss Bang, Bang’s’ and ‘Tombstone’s’ of the world. Damn that 'Tombstone' was a good freaking movie.

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