There are a couple of things about this movie ‘Hidden Camera’ that are just… like… awesome. Probably not awesome in a good kind of way but awesome nonetheless. It is these inspired moments of levity that make ‘Hidden Camera’, otherwise one of the most generic political thrillers ever made, almost worth watching.
Actor Dean Cain, former defensive back for the Princeton Tigers, is hard hitting free-lance television reporter Dan Kovacs. To be honest with you I’ve never heard of a free-lance television reporter. This, of course, doesn’t mean that there isn’t such a thing, just that I’ve never heard of it. We see a hint of Dan’s awesomeness as he singlehandedly exposes an import prostitution ring, armed with only… his ‘Hidden Camera’. Dan’s crazy hot assistant Alejandra (Lucia Jimenez) thinks Dan is a little to much of a loose cannon for his own good but you how it is when you don’t ‘play by the rules’.
Then Dan gets the tragic news that his estranged brother has been murdered. This brother, a reporter as well, was apparently working on a monster of a story of unknown origins and his wife wants Dan to uncover the ‘truth’. Now where I come from asking a trusted family member to look into a murder / cover-up / conspiracy… especially considering murder is usually contagious in these situations… just isn’t good looking out. But Dan isn’t a big old sissy like I am and he dives in head first.
But while he is getting to the brass tacks, Dan is being closely observed by a man called Natas (Arnold Vosloo) who has control of every camera on the planet earth, and he uses these cameras to track our crack reporters every movement. Eventually Dan starts to get a little too close to the truth which forces Natas to use his phenomenally incompetent team of Yosemite Sam hitmen to eliminate our incredibly resourceful freelance news reporter.
But what exactly is this ‘truth’ that Dan seeks? Just so you know it involves counterfeit bills, Kim Jong Il, Interpol and homeland security… and a ‘Hidden Camera’. Just wait for it.
My friends, you will be hard pressed to find a movie as consistently stupidly ridiculous as this movie ‘Hidden Camera’. And I admire this movie because it made perfect sense within its world of complete and total nonsense, and this is not easy to do. Our reporter Dan believes the North Koreans are behind this counterfeit money scheme, but how is he going to expose these fiends? I don’t know… perhaps just walk into the North Korean Embassy and start snapping pictures with your lapel collar ‘Hidden Camera’? You would think that a country as paranoid as North Korea would have better security at their respective Embassy’s because later a rogue Interpol agent will easily infiltrate this same embassy and start shooting stuff up. I don’t think the Great Leader would be pleased. And Interpol agents don’t carry guns.
Then we have our reporter snooping around a warehouse where our bad guys have hidden their incredibly illegal stolen counterfeit bills. The cool thing about this scene is when the hidden cameras catch Dan, and Mr. Natas goes ‘call security’. This follows with a super loud alarm sounding off ‘WHOOMP! WHOOMP! WHOOMP!... it is fortuitous that this alarm went off because it did a GREAT job of warning Dan that there was trouble coming, but I’m thinking that if I had a warehouse full of highly illegal stuff maybe I would opt for a silent alarm as not to draw to much attention to my warehouse of highly illegal stuff. Or perhaps I’m just a criminal mastermind. To the contrary we do have our incompetent hitmen who use silencers on their guns while chasing and shooting at their targets in crowded busy streets. Kind of defeats the purpose of having a silencer.
There’s all kinds of good stuff in this movie that makes no real world sense at all, and half the fun of this movie is unearthing that stuff and pointing it out to your friends and neighbors. But if you do watch this movie be sure to take notice when UBN TV anchor woman shows up on the screen. Do not listen to a word she has to say, but instead read the news ticker that scrolls beneath her. That was designed comedy and that was genuinely funny.
The rest of ‘Hidden Camera’ is extremely generic as we watch Dean Cain… who looks like he might’ve packed on a pound or two since Lois and Clark, run and run some more to one crazy senseless setup to another. This movie, shot in Spain, also features a bunch of Spanish language actors trying their best to speak English to each other. Why they just didn’t speak Spanish to each other and give us some subtitles is beyond me.
So while it is true that ‘Hidden Camera’ has absolutely nothing to contribute to the political thriller genre, it has plenty to contribute to the comedy genre and it delivers gloriously, even if this wasn’t the original plan.