Picks and Pans Review: The Doomsday Gun

updated 07/25/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/25/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

(HBO, Sat., July 23, 8 p.m. ET)


There's just one problem with thrillers about international intrigue. It's often hard to make them thrilling. That's certainly the case in this well-made but uninvolving cable film. It is the true tale of Gerald Bull (Frank Langella), a Canadian scientist hired by the Iraqi Army to build the most powerful artillery piece in history. A renegade CIA agent (Kevin Spacey) and an Israeli spy (Alan Arkin) are out to stop him, while U.S. and British officials quietly encourage him to continue helping Saddam Hussein.

The story is fascinating. The acting, particularly that of Spacey and Langella, is compelling. However, the entire film is nothing but one scene after another of characters standing in rooms talking to each other. Sometimes they're happy. Sometimes they're angry. But they're always explaining everything they do before they do it. This makes The Doomsday Gun a literate movie, but also one of those films where reading the script would probably be more entertaining than watching it acted.

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