Yes, Hollywood is Out to Get You – A review of Paranoia

Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford play rival tech giants who go head to head in the thriller Paranoia
Gary Oldman and Harrison Ford play rival tech giants who go head to head in the thriller Paranoia

Title: Paranoia

Production Company: Reliance Entertainment

Run Time: 106 minutes

Rated: PG-13

Director: Robert Luketic

Stars: Liam Hemsworth, Amber Heard, Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman

2 stars for Paranoia

Summary: What could have been an entertaining and compelling thriller instead comes across as a forced exercise in boredom. Ford and Oldman are the best reasons to see this movie.

Sixteen summers ago, Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman squared off in the hugely successful action-adventure movie Air Force One. Ford played the U.S. President and Oldman was a Russian terrorist intent on killing him.

Who can forget the famous retort just before the denouement? We all cheered as Ford kicked Oldman off the jet with the rejoinder, “Get off my plane!”

It’s telling that Ford delivers the most memorable line in this movie, too. It’s far less compelling though when he tells Oldman that he’s standing on his neck.

This movie is standing on the necks of its patrons, too. This could have been a highly successful espionage thriller that, at times, feels almost as riveting as the John Grisham thriller The Firm.

It relies too strongly, though, on the strength of the leads who just aren’t as seasoned or entertaining as their older counterparts. The emotionalism and sexual tension we’re supposed to feel between Liam Hemsworth and Amber Heard just isn’t there.

Hemsworth plays Adam Cassidy, a young protégé of Oldman’s character Nicholas Wyatt who gets sucked into the espionage plot by going to work for Jock Goddard (Ford) who is Wyatt’s rival in the cellular communications field.

Along the way, he meets Emma Jennings (Heard) who works for Goddard. Despite her original misgivings, the two start a relationship. Even when it should be going smoothly, it still feels forced and uninspired.

So too does the relationship between Cassidy and his two “employers”. Anyone with half a brain should be able to see right through his act and know that he’s double crossing both, right?

This film telegraphs its own outcome well in advance of the final frames, though. We don’t need to follow the plot. We get there long before the rest of the characters do.

And while the end of the film is uninspiring and less than believable, we can rest comfortably in knowing that everyone gets their just comeuppances. Yes even the “heroes” of the story. You can even fall for the lighter final scenes even though they totally destroy what’s left of this story’s credibility.

The only really good reason to see this movie is the caliber of acting presented by Ford and Oldman. The two can still chew the scenery with the best of them. This movie won’t win them any awards, but to watch them verbally spar is worth the price of admission just on its own merits.

But in the end, even that isn’t enough to warrant it’s viewing on the big screen. Save your money and rent the DVD. I give Paranoia (which coincidentally is rather inaptly named since there is very little overt panic in this ho-hum picture) 2-1/2 out of 5 stars.

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