Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Hidden Agenda



HIDDEN AGENDA (2001)

Directed by: Mark S. Grenier
Written by: Les Weldon
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Maxim Roy and Ted Whittall

Another Dolph Lundgren movie, another direct-to-video clunker, right? Actually, no. No offence to the man himself who has always provided a likeable presence on screen (and boasts an impressive IQ of 160) and has even made some enjoyable action pictures in the past (Bridge of Dragons, Dark Angel). Hidden Agenda is fairly intelligent, features a good performance from Lundgren and is even (and most importantly) rather entertaining.



Much like Arnie in Eraser, former Special Agent Jason Price (Lundgren), erases the identities of witnesses and undercover agents who need to disappear. When a deadly hitman infiltrates Price’s secret organization, the identities of hundreds are at risk. When Price’s best friend and fellow agent, who he aided in disappearing, turns up dead, Price takes matters into his own hands as he becomes increasingly swamped in double agents, red herrings and attacks on his life.



Director Mark S. Grenier (Dead Awake) has fashioned a good looking and fast moving thriller. Showcasing above-standard production values and some nifty camerawork and editing (the speeded up cars are cool, if overused) Grenier has pulled off a tight little movie on what must have been a (somewhat) meagre budget. The twist-turny plot becomes increasingly convoluted so at times it is difficult to know what is happening. However, it’s refreshing to use one’s brain to figure things out (though it does hurt a bit more) and there is a sprinkling of action to keep things moving. Lundgren gets to show off his martial arts skills in a couple of brutal fight scenes that use a freeze frame technique to groovy effect.

On the downside, some scenes do drag, the supporting cast don’t always convince and the gunplay action scenes are sloppy and never match the momentum of the thrilling opening airport chase. Yet, this film is definitely not a clunker. Espionage, action and playing a bit like an extended episode of Alias; Hidden Agenda is good, brain twisting fun from start to finish. Dolph done good.

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