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RATED Not Rated
STUDIO Entertainment One
RUNNING TIME 108 Minutes
• Making of Featurette
Ewan, a burnt out secret service agent must pursue and eliminate a deadly suicide bomber and dismantle a terrorist cell that is wreaking havoc on the streets of London before they strike again.
Hadi Hajaig (director), Sean Bean, Charlotte Rampling and Abhin Galeya
Homeland, if it was an action movie and Sean Bean played Claire Danes.
There are lots of questions that are left after this film ended, and not just the questions the director wanted us to have. Cleanskin attempts to cash in on the hot war on terrorism subject by way of a near 80s right wing propaganda supersoldier movie. The most unique portion of the film takes place in between the numerous headshots when the film attempts to explain how a pretentious law school yuppie joined muslim radicals from an unknown country to become a leader of a terrorist cell.
The Showtime channel has gotten a lot of attention for it’s political thriller Homeland, but their previous series dealing with terrorist cells aptly titled Sleeper Cell is more akin to the portrayal of the heart broken Ash, one of the sleeper cell ring leaders. His character organizes bombers to blow stuff up in the present time when he runs into an old flame that queues up a variety of flashbacks to their earlier days as hopeless romantics. As a law student, he schmoozed with his girl at night and verbally argued the role of the evil greedy empire against the Middle East, blaming oil as the root cause of all the intervention of Britain and the US. After his girl is identified as an unfaithful addict, he runs into a radical muslim preacher who uses his relationship issues as a foundation to turn him into a soldier.
The film dedicates a third of the time to the conversion from lawyer to terrorist, but doing so opens the doors to a lot of questions. Not all muslims are involved in this horrible war and most are not violent. We never get to see the turning point of the preacher as to when he starts to trust Ash enough to tell him the violent agenda he is part of. We get to a point where he gets promoted to assist another “soldier”, but never find out where it went from muslim support group to criminal activities. The other huge question is where is this motherland that Ash was not privy too? Which was the country of origin, as it is clearly never stated throughout the 108 minute run time.
We have so much time invested into the bad guy that the time spent with Sean Bean seams little more than we got with a lot of the Chuck Norris films of the 80s. It made First Blood look like a character study. It is apparent he is a bad ass that takes no prisoners alive. Bean carries himself with the dignified body language he is known for. Completely in control of every situation as he goes from henchman to henchman, racking up a high body count on the way. He always shoots to kill and often does just that.
He is working as a secret agent, but it still seems extremely odd that he kills many people publicly. Never once is he stopped. Even to check credentials. At one point he winds up at a large, high profile wedding where cranial matter ends up all over the bridal gown, yet with such a newsworthy event he walks right out as if nothing happened. Most of the bad deaths wind up brained. There is no shortage of headshots combined with an excessively gory back splash, and sometime even closeups.
Cleanskin has it’s inconsistencies and is Somewhat predictable (we also need another means for terror as within a single year Act of Valor, Homeland and Cleanskin all have used exploding vests/jackets), but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. Bean is always a pleasure to watch, even if most the time you know how his character will end up. His leading man charm was one of the reasons Game of Thrones has become the hit that it has. He and Abhin Galeya (Ash) have a great chemistry where Galeya plows through a range of emotions and Bean plows through a number of bad guys.
Pretty Basic on the extras, as they only have a Making of Featurette and a trailer.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars