2/5 stars because the first 20-40% of the movie is decent.
It opens with an incredible 18-minute tracking shot loaded with over-the-top Nic Cage moments, then backtracks to show the same scene from other points of view (like De Palma's Classic "Blow Out") before settling into a frightfully mundane, unrelatable, cookie-cutter 2nd and 3rd act. It just kind of gets boring and bad and weird right when it should be amping up the excitement. The ending is laughably awful, and was apparently a compromise from De Palma's original idea of having the entire arena wiped out by a tidal wave (might have helped?).
The giant opening sequence was "instant classic" material, but like Roger Ebert said about the movie; De Palma is a much better technical director than he is a storyteller. It's worth watching if you want a cheesy popcorn flick, or if you forgot how bad it is, or if you don't mind turning it off after twenty minutes.
Script might have looked promising pre-production but it ended up as a very convoluted highly unlikely storyline. I watched 'cause of Cage and Sinese. Much of the "truth" is revealed in nearly endless flashbacks throughout to explain to the viewer why a five-minute segment happened the way it did... So many flashbacks that it almost became absurdly funny to me... that movie-making could become so twisted up. Few films in history have successfully pulled off such techniques. This isn't one of them.
If it wasn't for the ludicrous overacting of Cage and a few others this would be a great conspiracy thriller. Gary Sinise puts in a great performance as does Carla Gugino. The plot and the way they present it is intriguing and layered. Production values are pretty high for a 1998 film. Decent entertainment for a Prime included movie. Moderate recommendation.
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