Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

XIII [Thirteen]

XIII [Thirteen] (2008). NBC two-part four hour mini-series. Director: Duane Clark.

This is a Ludlumesque conspiracy story centering on the assassination of the country's first female president. The killer is identified as a man named Steven Rowland (Stephen Dorff), but Rowland has lost his memory after a fall out of a plane and what's more apparently he isn't even Steven Rowland. Although XIII never has the energy or intensity of 24, it's certainly reminiscent of that series with its white house intrigue and top level traitors who think they can make a better America. The climax has to do with a dirty bomb about to go off in Washington. A post script, in which more questions are raised but go unanswered, suggest that at one time there may have been plans to turn XIII into a series. Stephen Dorff is nearly as intense as Kiefer Sutherland and makes a compelling lead (he looks much better with the close-cropped hair and receding hair line than he does with the shaggy locks in the poster). Caterina Murino, Stephen McHattie, Lucinda Davis, Jonathan Higgins, and Mimi Kuzyk are also notable. Val Kilmer is top billed but doesn't show up that much as The Mongoose.

Verdict: Okay, but no 24. **1/2.

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