Power Play (2002) Movie Review

Here’s a Guide to Screenwriting for simple-minded filmmakers that want to make a statement about the Evils of Corporate America, but lacks the talent to do it in an intelligent way. One: Evil Corporate Tycoons are always looking to screw the rest of the planet over in the quest to make money, because as we all know only Evil People want to make money. Two: Evil Corporations always have an army of Faceless Goons that wear cheap suits and dark sunglasses, because as we all know Evil Corporate types don’t hesitate to murder anyone who gets in the way of their Evil Money-Making Ways.

And last but not least: All Evil Corporate Tycoons in Evil Corporations leave around incriminating evidence on their laptop computer in their office, since it’ll be a lot easier for our Hero to sneak in and discover the foul plan. And oh, let’s not forget, if the Evil Tycoon does manage to be smart (*snicker*) and leave his computer turned on, then at the very least he’ll have it in screensaver mode and you’ll need a password. But don’t worry, being that the Evil Tycoon is Evil and hence, Dumber than our Hero, the password will be easy to figure out. Anyway, the password is probably “money” or something Evil like that.

Our movie opens with 3 teen environmentalists breaking into the Evil Corporation’s office, where the Evil Corporate Tycoon has left his Evil Plans in his laptop computer in his office, and while the computer isn’t turned off, it is on screensaver mode. But fortunately the Evil Tycoon doesn’t quite have the Evilness to password protect his computer filled with incriminating evidence. After the 3 kids (one of whom can’t seem to stop crying) discover the Evil Plans, they are found out and killed. Enter intrepid reporter Nash (Dylan Walsh), who is assigned by the L.A. Times (although in one scene someone mentions that he’s from “The Examiner” (?)) to investigate the missing environmentalists.

Although it must be said that Nash never seems to do much writing, but rather spends most of his time breaking into places and getting into situations that puts his life at risk. It’s a good thing he wears a bulletproof vest as a matter of course. Also, the movie’s Evil Corporation has the worst security known to man. After 3 white kids from the suburbs easily break into their headquarters, Nash later breaks into their main facility in Mexico. You would think that since they’re so Evil, they’d at least hire appropriate security.

As the conspiracy slowly unravels, Nash must survive about, oh, a dozen assassination attempts by way of men in cheap suits and dark sunglasses. At last, we learn that the Evil Corporation is causing earthquakes in their quest to invent a new power source. Alison Eastwood plays the improbably named Gabriella St. John, who is one of the research scientists unwittingly aiding the conspirators. The movie’s most entertaining segment is watching poor Eastwood (daughter of Clint) trying to recite the movie’s pseudo science in one breath. The poor woman had to spit out about 2 pages worth of exposition with a straight face.

As our lead, Dylan Walsh (whose name sounds familiar, but whose face isn’t) belongs as a background player. Saying that Walsh lacks screen presence is an understatement. He is literally dying onscreen. It doesn’t help that the screenplay gives him some of the most groan-inducing “witty” banter ever put to paper. Alison Eastwood seems befuddled by her appearance in this movie, and who can blame her. Tobin Bell (“Black Mask 2”), known mostly for villainous roles, continues the streak.

There isn’t much about “Power Play” to recommend. Its screenplay is tripe and devoid of intelligence and the fact that the filmmakers are so deadly serious only makes the final product all the more laughable. The one big lesson I learned from “Power Play” is this: when you see strange men in cheap suits wearing sunglasses at night, run!

Joseph Zito (director) / Adrian Fulle, Brent Huff, Douglas L. Walton (screenplay)
CAST: Dylan Walsh …. Matt Nash
Alison Eastwood …. Gabriella St.John
Tobin Bell …. Clemens
Brixton Karnes …. Travis Gentry

Buy Power Play on DVD