Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Inner Circle – review

Director: Teddy Moreno

First released: 2004

Contains spoilers

Despite what you might think, I dislike giving bad reviews. I know that the filmmakers have done something I haven’t – made a film. I understand that budget is a constraining and (potentially) damaging factor and that workarounds might prove necessary. I dislike it all the more when I feel that the filmmakers were earnest.

And that is just what I felt when I watched the Inner Circle – making an appearance on Amazon Prime. I really felt that there was an earnestness – though the film was, for want of a better word, terrible. I went looking for details online later and found no IMDb page but I did find a video about captioning the film by director/star Moreno and was struck all the more by a sense of his earnestness. That said, it is an awful film.

all ew see of Paladin until the end
After an intertitle about legends evolving and the time and place being identified as Los Angeles 2004, we get some fighting. Unrealistic, overly choreographed fighting. We then get scenes of the 3 agents (CIA according to the blurb) being recruited to a division that only uses codenames. Our first is Dimitri (Teddy Moreno), who is introduced to his new director (according to the end credits) Paladin (Brian Jarvis). Then we see Dimitri approach Ivana (Cynthia Renae), a hand to hand expert who regrets not being able to use knives as often as she likes and flirts with Dimitri in the most unsexual way.

Vandra, Ivana and Dimitri
The last recruit is Vandra (Danielle Maynard). Dimitri and Ivana know she is a computer whiz and go to rescue her from kidnappers (who have brainwashed her, Dimitri suggests – with no follow up on this). The camera follows the agents’ feet. Yes, that’s right, their feet and it is clear this is done so that we don’t see detail of the set. Why? Possibly so that we don’t see it is just someone’s apartment though, and I think this is likely, perhaps so we don’t recognise it as the same set for the safe house later! Vandra is in the bath and removal of gag and ties is enough to get her to bond with the team, or so it would seem.

bitten
So, Paladin has sent them after a package – a computer virus. They manage to grab the courier and the girls (as Dimitri constantly refers to them) think he is too kind when he uses his machete to sever the chain of the briefcase rather than the couriers hand from his wrist!! They get the package to paladin but the briefcase is empty – it was a decoy. They are told to monitor a frequency and train (cue unconvincing training montage) and then they go after the real one. They watch (from a stairwell) as enemy agent Vadir (Clive Hawkins) buys the virus, follow to a car, take out a henchman and fight him. He reveals fangs and, during the fight, bites Vandra. They get the briefcase but he leaps up the side of a building.

spreading the disease
They head to a safe house and Ivana wants to kill Vandra until Dimitri convinces her to tie the sick agent down. They nip out and when back Vandra is out of her bonds (they would never hold her, she says) and they have a nice chat about the “others” having vampires and decide that (without informing their higher ups) all three being turned would be a good thing. The film doesn’t get any better but let us look at the vampires.

Levitation apparently
He must have been a daywalker, Dimitri correctly guesses. However later he says that he has never heard of vampires (from films) going out in daylight before, so where did he get the term from? They are super strong and fast and can fly (we see Dimitri jump from the floor and the camera cut away making us "believe" he is flying). This is where I have a real problem with the film. We have the two girls trying levitating but the illusion is created by having upper torso shots and them standing taller! There isn’t an attempt to show their feet off the floor. Like a stage magician, you know movies are illusion and trickery but, when you can see right through it, the trick loses any sense of wonder and becomes a joke. Silver seems to be the killing method of choice.

learning to fly
The plot is ludicrous. They switch disc on Paladin (in case he is compromised), become paranoid that the Agency is after them and then immediately tell him what has happened (but not the vampire part). They do, however, fully confide in Vanda’s get anything pal Jacob (Hiram Johnson), whom neither Dimitri or Ivana had met before (during said meeting we get a silent montage synopsis of the previous part of the film). He gets them some blood (from a hospital) which they drink behind a fade to black!

please don't
So, the effects are none-existent, the dialogue terrible, the acting poor, the fights unrealistic (and heavily choreographed), the photography amateur, the quality of the filming awful and the plot laughable. Yet through it all we can detect that earnestness I mentioned. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t make it good and when the film stated the Inner Circle will return I actually blurted out, “I hope not”. Sorry guys. 1 out of 10. At the time of review I couldn’t find an IMDb page.

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