Dir: Peter Maris
Star: Linda Purl, Jeff Kober, James Tolkan, Ken Foree

Well, this is interesting. More than a decade before 9/11, and subsequent conspiratorial rumblings that it was a "false flag" attack, designed to provide justification for the US invading the Middle East, we have this 1988 thriller, which depicts more or less the same thing. A shadowy department of the government sets up a hostage situation, and is ready to ship in Muslim "terrorist" corpses, but the hostages see whose involved, and are executed as a result. One of the agents, James Macalla, tries to blow the whistle, but gets blown up for his pains, and his wife, Laura (Purl) is forced on the run from Col. Tansey (Tolkan) and his forces. Helping her, are a journalist (Kober) and one of her husband's former colleagues (Foree), as Laura is hunted from her home, up into their secret mountain retreat, and back down to the city, for a confrontation with Tansey.

Unfortunately, beyond the spooky foreshadowing, there isn't too much to recommend this. It's just too damn pedestrian, and the execution is also implausible - both the conspiracy, and in particular, the attempted cover-up, which appears to have fewer personnel at its disposal than our local kebab shop. I mean, I can see the point of keeping the circle small; however, this conspiracy could hold its meetings in a phone-box. This is the kind of film where, if either side behaved with even moderate intelligence, everything would be done and dusted in half the time. Instead, things are padded out with narrow escapes - I'm not sure what kind of car Laura drives, but it seems to be capable of both out-lasting and out-running anything the government can offer - gun battles and treacherous shenanigans. I will admit, I didn't entirely see the last coming, and Foree stands out in a cast who otherwise appear to be operating deep undercover. Harkens back to a time of kinder, gentler government conspiracy.

[January 2014]

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