The Watcher (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
|I can remember two things about
this film from when it was in theaters (not long ago)
They advertised the daylights out of it. I don't watch any TV except when I walk past and my daughter is watching. Despite that, I saw several ads for it. They released it to 2800 theaters, presumably hopeful of substantial success, which never materialized. It bombed.
The critics hated it. Hated, hated, hated. That made me wonder why the filmmakers thought it might be a hit, when it was so obvious that it didn't have the righrt stuff.
It turns out that there is an explanation. This is really two movies, not one. The first one isn't bad (if a bit hackneyed), but the second one is dreadful. Whatever promise may have been present in the first half was betrayed by the sheer lack of imagination in the last hour. I suppose some of the studio people saw the raw potential and overlooked the boring delivery. Wrong call.
|James Spader plays an FBI agent who cannot solve a serial muder case in L.A., puts himself on a leave of absence, and moves to Chicago for psychiatric counseling and general burn-out recovery. We see eventually that he had a special relationship with one of the victims. Keanu Reeves plays the serial killer, who becomes bored in L.A. without his special adversary, a Moriarty stranded without his Holmes, who must therefore move to Chicago to re-involve his nemesis.||
|Spader is just turning into a general
druggie when he discovers that Keanu has been sending him
pictures of his victims before they are dead, luring
Spader back into the cat 'n mouse game by making him
realize that he can save the victims if he can identify
them and find them soon enough. He generally doesn't.
That was the part of the movie I liked - the mental chase.
second half of the movie is just the physical chase, and
it's about as exciting as dishwater. Cars zoom through
the city, helicopters converge on co-ordinates, SWAT guys
break down doors, guys run across rooftops and through
alleys - the usual stuff that happens in every crime
movie and every TV cop show.
Spader and Keanu do OK, and the director comes up with some rapid-fire rock video technique that's moderately interesting, but there's just nothing there for the last hour, and that makes it a pretty lame film overall.
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