Bourne's identity

Film
2 out of 5 stars
Stephem Dorff in XIII: He comes in peace, shoots to kill
Photograph: XIII Television Productions, Inc. Stephem Dorff in XIII: He comes in peace, shoots to kill

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

First the President is assassinated, then her jingoistic politician brother starts making power moves—it’s time for Jason Bourne...er, some former special-forces guy named XIII (Stephen Dorff) to step up. Discovered by an elderly couple and bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds, the conveniently amnesiac XIII has only his instincts to keep him alive. Naturally, assassination conspirators, including the cold-blooded operative known only as “The Mongoose” (Val Kilmer), try to eliminate him. He is, after all, a loose end (why becomes eventually clear), and shadowy government agencies don’t tolerate loose ends—especially when they’re trained to kill dudes with aplomb. There is no telling how far up the conspiracy goes, but you can be sure that there will be a pretty huge body count by the time we find out.

Dorff and Kilmer showed some pretty decent onscreen chemistry in last year’s prison flick Felon, but this little homage to The Manchurian Candidate doesn’t really add anything to the reprogrammed-political-assassin genre. Everyone seems to be laying it on pretty thick, especially when General Carrington (Stephen McHattie) sits XIII down and explains the complicated plastic surgery that allowed him to assume the identity of a dead ex-soldier. You know things are getting too unbelievable when someone phones in a description of XIII and describes him as being “of medium height,” a pleasant fiction regarding the diminutive Dorff. It’s too silly even for a miniseries based on a first-person-shooter video game.

The first half of XIII airs Sun 8 on NBC.

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