Picks and Pans Review: Shadow Conspiracy

updated 02/10/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/10/1997 AT 01:00 AM EST

Charlie Sheen, Linda Hamilton

Now here's an original idea for a political thriller. Could the U.S. government be taken over from within by complete idiots? And could such a cabal ultimately be thwarted by a second team of complete idiots?

Sheen, his eyes fixed in a quizzical squint, plays special assistant to the President (Sam Waterston, who largely stays out of sight at Camp David). The murder of a prominent think-tanker tips Sheen off to a murky conspiracy within the White House, where the wily Donald Sutherland presides as Chief of Staff. In the course of his probe, Sheen links up with Hamilton, a top-notch reporter for the local newspaper.

The action consists largely of these two running breathlessly around Washington. Shadow has been so incompetently filmed, even something as basic as reaction shots are unconvincing. When Sheen and a Secret Service agent slug it out in the confines of an elevator, Hamilton looks not terrified but blankly expectant, as if she were about to witness a photo op in the Rose Garden. (R)

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