The Conspiracy of Fear (1995)

On Friday the world lost a legend as actor Mr. Christopher Plummer died. He was in many well loved films, ranging from his Academy Award winning performance in Beginners, to his relatively minor but vital role in Knives Out, to his iconic (on Twitter, at least) moment of ripping up a Nazi flag in The Sound of Music. But those films aren’t in my personal collection. Oh no, instead I have The Conspiracy of Fear, a mid-90’s cheesy thriller that was part of a DVD two pack with Prey of the Jaguar, a film where a man dresses like a superhero his son made up to get revenge for the murder of his family. They’re about the same in quality. And yes, watching absolute dogshit is how I memorialize recently passed actors.

Plot A involves main character Chris (Andrew Lowrey, who is a discount Tim Robbins) feeling sad when his dad is killed in a freak elevator accident that’s absolutely not an accident. It was orchestrated by Straker (Geraint Wyn Davies, AKA the creepy detective from Cube²: Hypercube), an assassin hired to steal the dad’s top secret new antivirus research. Plot B involves Jimmy (Leslie Knope Leslie Hope), a street thief with a heart of go–wait, no. She’s nice to the homeless but a dick to everyone else. She steals the car of some bickering drug dealers who demonstrate that the writer saw Pulp Fiction, but they don’t matter so whatever. The two plots meet a half hour in and the rest of the movie is Chris and Jimmy running from Straker. Also involved is Christopher Plummer as Wakeman, a high ranking CIA official who is absolutely not suspicious at all. People who don’t matter die as collateral damage (yes, that includes the drug goons) before the big reveal that Wakeman is actually the big bad who hired Straker. Wakeman dies–put a pin in that–and a chase sequence ends with Straker falling off a building to his death. Chris throws his dad’s research into the a lake and that’s that.

This movie is… odd. There are so many little things that baffle me that putting them all into a paragraph would be a very disjointed read. So I made a top 10 list instead!

10. There’s an excess of obvious ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement), a technique where they get the actors to read lines after filming has finished and insert it into the movie. None of it was added well. Like, the neighbors at the end of The Room feel more natural.
9. When Chris and Jimmy meet, there’s a sassy waitress that gets real snotty with them. For comedic effect, I think? It goes nowhere. I love her.
8. The drug goons have a longer-than-you-would-expect conversation about Big Goon buying a nightie for his grandmother.
7. Plummer’s Underling has a longer-than-you-would-expect conversation about his guts acting up. Quote: “I need twelve cups [of coffee] just to get my bowels moving, you know?” No, I didn’t know that and I didn’t need to know that.
6. The guy Plummer’s Underling is talking about his intestinal trouble suggests eating worms. Like actual earthworms. This goes nowhere.
5. Yeah, evil people could use Chris’ dad’s antivirus for evil purposes… but… doesn’t throwing it away mean a bunch of sick people may be doomed? Like, greater good and all that, but you couldn’t do any research and find maybe a not evil person to give it to?
4. Near the beginning there’s a longer-than-you-would-expect slow motion sequence where a little girl sees Straker and drops her doll in shock. Straker picks up the doll and gives it back to her–all still in slow motion–but nothing else happens. I mean, her mom and Chris’ dad die in the elevator crash shortly after, but this particular scene is just padding and the little girl is never mentioned again.
3. Straker’s skills are because he was trained by the CIA. As a mechanic. Yup, that’ll give him the skills needed to become a notorious assassin!
2. The ending suggests that Jimmy and Chris will get together, even though the majority of their time together was either arguing or running for their lives, and associating with him got her cop father figure and her homeless friend killed. Hell, there’s a scene where they’re dancing in the rain interspersed with a montage of earlier moments, and they’re all the two arguing with each other. Mandatory heterosexuality at its finest!

And the #1 weirdest moment is Wakeman’s death. He’s gets stabbed in the neck by Straker with a pen; not the most exciting death, but whatever. However, as he bleeds on out an HIV awareness table (complete with poster board with information), the camera pans to a flier that reads, “All it takes is one prick to ruin a good thing,” in case you didn’t notice the content of the display. And the music at that moment, oh the music… As soon as he gets stabbed, a “boogie oogie woogie,” 1950’s, rock and roll styled song starts playing. The end credits say the name of the song, but I’m not going to bother because Google doesn’t think the song exists (although a friend said she recognized it without ever having seen this movie which raises even more questions). The entire sequence is just… art, I guess.

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3 thoughts on “The Conspiracy of Fear (1995)

  1. Pingback: Prey of the Jaguar (1997) | Chwineka Watches

  2. Pingback: Beginners (2010) | Chwineka Watches

  3. Pingback: The Gorilla (1939) | Chwineka Watches

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