It's been all over the news about the Russians hacking into our
computer systems, so it's not really surprising that a newly-released
movie would feature.....the Russians hacking into our computer systems.
But even though the cloak-and-dagger stuff is mostly us versus some
Southeast Asian police squads, it feels like we're viscerally, if not
visually, creeping back to the Cold War days.
Mark Wahlberg stars as James Silva, the head of an American
top-secret commando unit---that can operate both inside and outside the
USA, stopping terrorist plots wherever they find them.
And the first scene is in a quiet neighborhood, moderately
prosperous but not too opulent, where a couple is walking toward a
standard-looking suburban home, debating about whether they have the
address right or not. (She's
carrying flowers.) He wants to
just knock on the door and ask; she wants him to go back to the car to
check his phone information, and they carry on like this so convincingly
you think they're any married couple arguing about nothing very important.
(You have done this yourself, haven't you?)
Suddenly the whole scene erupts into a gunfight.
Turns out the house was being used by some Russian operatives as a
base for spy operations, complete with fancy computer systems, and armed
guards. Like many flash/bang
operations, this one doesn't go quite as planned.
People who were supposed to get captured get killed instead,
including a very young Russian who, it turns out, is the son of a
prominent Russian general. But
with all the flying bullets, we're not worried about that right now, we're
just impressed with the level of technology we can bring to the party,
including voice communication links, video surveillance, heat-sensing
spyware, and yes, even spy drones.
The next hot spot is in Southeast Asia, where one unarmed man has
crashed through the gates of the American embassy, with a computer disk in
hand. He keeps saying he wants
assylum. They won't offer it
until he gives them the code to crack the computer disk, which was plugged
into the system and immediately found to be a Trojan Horse.
He won't give them the code until he's on the airplane back to the
Meanwhile, his country's government operatives are insisting that
we turn him over to them, which we don't want to do.
Finally, his 22-mile escort to the airport is arranged, but again,
nothing goes as planned. Lots
of car chases, explosions, gunfights, and close-quarter martial arts.
Lots of adrenalin-rush combat scenes, and enough violence for any
disaster movie, but through it all we keep seeing the Russians monitoring
the situation, so we wonder what their involvement is----until we find out
at the end.
They try to add a little human interest----one of Silva's team is a
woman (Lauren Cohan) with a young daughter, having to try to talk to her
about a muffin recipe on her phone, frustrated about her ex's control over
the situation. But we aren't
really here to discuss blueberries. This
is an action film, pure and simple. It's
short and to the point, and delivers what it promises.
The question is, how much did the Russians know, and when did they