by Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

William "Spooky" Macpherson (Val Kilmer) is a shell-shocked Marine veteran who lost a leg in Iraq. He drifts around aimlessly for a while after his discharge, but finally gives in to the entreaties of his one and only friend to visit him in Arizona. When he finally gets to the right town, he finds that none of the locals seem to know his friend and everyone acts like they have something to hide. Kilmer does a little detective work and finds evidence that his buddy's trailer had once been exactly where it was supposed to be. He vows to solve the mystery.

The actual mystery is something out of a grade-B comic book. The entire town is controlled by a corporate CEO who has decided to make it his home and headquarters, and to rebuild the entire town as an homage to John Ford's Westerns. The company's actual business is to create wars, sell weapons, then rebuild the very countries they have persuaded the U.S. military to destroy. It is called Hallicorp. Get it? The CEO (Gary Cole) and his inner circle are right-wing uber-patriots whose secret agenda is to rebuild the entire Southwest, except this time without those pesky Mexicans. The only thing they hate more than Mexicans is an ex-Marine who asks too many questions about his Mexican friend.

I think I can review the film without actually stating an opinion. At one point the CEO actually says to Spooky, "You in a heap a' trouble, son."

And he was one of the film's more realistic characters!

As you can probably guess, Spooky eventually finds out that his Mexican friend was killed by the vigilantes, and then gets really angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry. You wouldn't even like him much when he's happy. The tough, laconic one-legged vet eventually defeats Hallicorp's entire private army of one-dimensional redneck stereotypes, kills the CEO with his bare hands in front of hundreds of witnesses, destroys the faux-Western buildings, and avoids prosecution so that he can join with the kind and god-fearing Mexicans in rebuilding the town with simple, honest labor.

And probably a lot of adobe.

And a shitload of pink paint.

How did the respected Kilmer get involved in something this preposterous? Community ties. Kilmer has lived on a ranch near Santa Fe since 1983, and acts as an advisor to the New Mexico Film Investment Program. His commitment to that program has stimulated an increase in the state's annual production revenue, from $3 million in 2002 to $117 million in 2006. He has shown a willingness to do what is necessary to bring film projects to his state, and that includes lending his own name to appropriate projects. In this case, he not only lent his acting talents, but also provided the sprawling 6000 acres of his ranch for location shots. This particular project was not a particularly good use of his time, but I'm assuming that his commitment is what sealed the $8 million deal. Fair enough. If he keeps building up the film business in the area, some of the future projects will be worthwhile. This particular film, in which New Mexico played the part of Arizona, is just an egg that needed to be broken in order to make that future omelet.

Reader comment:

Hi, Scoop

 Since you didn’t mention it in your very recent review of “Conspiracy” (Val Kilmer), I thought I’d note that this movie sure sounds like a 99-percent rip-off of the 1950s Spencer Tracy movie “Bad Day at Black Rock”…only there, WWII war vet Tracy has lost an ARM, not a leg! The main themes of the plot sound substantially the same. Check out “Bad Day at Black Rock” (which I thought was a hell of a good movie, actually) and see if you agree.



My response:

Wow, are you ever right! What a call. They are more similar than you can imagine from my review, but you noticed it with relatively little information, and I missed it despite having all the details! The first half of the movie is virtually a scene-by-scene remake!
I'll compare them by using the IMDb synopsis of Black Rock (black type), and my synopsis of Conspiracy (red type):
The train discharges a single passenger, a veteran with only one arm named Macreedy.
The bus discharges a single passenger, a veteran with only one leg named Macpherson.
Macreedy is visiting a man named Kumoko because Kumoko's son saved his life in the war.
Macpherson is visiting a man named Silva who saved his life in the war.
Macreedy asks the stationmaster if he can get a cab to Adobe Flat.
MacPherson asks the locals if he can get a cab or rent a car to go to New Hope.
The stationmaster replies "no cab." Macreedy's attempts to rent a car create further hostility.
The locals laugh and tell him that there might be cabs and rental cars after a few years of prosperity.
When the townsfolk learn that Macreedy wants to visit nearby Adobe Flat, they react with extreme suspicion and hostility.
When the townsfolk learn that Macpherson wants to visit nearby New Hope, they react with extreme suspicion and hostility.
The hotel keeper tries using a bogus excuse to deny renting a room even though it is obvious the hotel has vacancies.
The hotel keeper tries using a bogus excuse to deny renting a room even though it is obvious the hotel has vacancies.
After persistence, Macreedy rents a room, only to be harassed by a cowboy named Hector for no apparent reason.
After persistence, Mapherson rents a room, only to be harassed by a deputy wearing a cowboy hat, for no apparent reason.
A local has a private detective he knows in Los Angeles check out Macreedy's background.
The hotel owner makes a Xerox of Macpherson's Military ID, after which local law enforcement checks out everything in his background.
At Adobe Flat, Macreedy finds only a burned out house, a deep well and wildflowers growing in the dirt.
At New Hope, Macpherson finds dirt where a trailer once was. As for the wildflower theme, the capture below illustrates.

Macreedy finds out that Kumoko was killed as a result of deep-seated racial prejudice.
Macpherson finds out that Silva was killed was killed as a result of deep-seated racial prejudice.


* widescreen anamorphic








  No reviews online.












n/a IMDB summary (of 10)
(not enough votes)












It was budgeted at $8 million. IMDb says it had a limited run starting February 15, 2008, but Box Office Mojo has no record of it.  My guess is that it played some theaters in New Mexico, but I'm just guessing. Apart from that, it went straight-to-DVD.










The nudity in this film is utterly gratuitous. The story begins in Iraq during the credits, then moves to present-day Arizona for the main storyline. In between, there is a brief section in which Kilmer drifts from the bed of one foreign girl to another in a state of despair and shell-shock after he loses his leg. Alesia Riabenkova was just one of the anonymous bodies in his emotionless liaisons. She is however, incredibly beautiful, and her breasts are shown to good advantage in a lengthy scene.








Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


The film has Kilmer and a sexy nude scene. That's it.