Every week Robert Saucedo shines a spotlight on a movie either so bad it’s good or just downright terrible. Today: Mega Bill vs. Giant Snark.
In Hidden Camera, the 2007 film by director Bryan Goeres and writer Michael Salort, Dean Cain plays one of the worst reporters to ever con his way in front of a camera. He’s impulsive, idiotic and delivers the news like he’s delivering a stillborn baby. It’s all right, though, because Cain’s character is on the trail of a group of criminals who may just be even worse at their job than he is.
Dean Cain, who played Superman in the ‘90s TV show Lois and Clark, has had one of the most productive careers out of all the actors who’ve played the Man of Steel. While he never played the superhero on the big screen, Cain has managed to keep busy in recent years — staring in a string of mostly straight-to-video thrillers, action films and Christmas movies. In other words, he’s doing better than Brandon Routh — who has struggled to launch his post Superman Returns career for the last four years.
In Hidden Camera, recently released to DVD, Cain plays Dan Kovacs, the aforementioned reporter who wouldn’t know journalistic procedure if it was surgically grafted onto his spine.
Kovacs is a risk-taking freelance journalist willing to put himself in all sorts of danger in order to break a story. When Kovacs’ brother is found murdered in Spain, he begins his latest investigation — one he hopes will lead him to the center of a hotel room massacre that left his brother and a gang of petty criminals lying in a pool of their own blood.
As Kovacs chips away at the mystery and discovers it involves counterfeit money, corrupt American politicians and impending nuclear war, audiences may start to think they are in for some good ol’ fashioned straight-to-DVD entertainment.
Hidden Camera is to entertainment what a holocaust is to a Bar-B-Q. The movie is an impenetrable mess of unnecessarily incomplex plot twists excruciatingly explained by characters as if the audience was a pack of inbred dogs who had just had a round of lobotomies performed on them.
As the story dripped along like urine running down from an incontinent elderly man’s leg, my attention would waver in and out — distracted by shiny objects I spotted away from my TV or thoughts on what type of self-mutilatory pastime activity I would rather be doing than watching Hidden Camera. Thankfully, every ten minutes the cast of Hidden Camera stops to catch audiences up in the action — filling them in with explicatory detail on just who’s the bad guy and why they should be stopped.
Speaking of bad guys, Arnold Vosloo plays Natas, a rascally rouge CIA agent who spends his every waking moment standing in front of a giant screen of monitors. These monitors are hooked up to “magic” cameras that have the ability to show Natas any location or person he would like to observe in the entire world.
I get that the CIA has satellites that can spot dandruff in our pubic hair but the type of technology on display in Natas’ hidden bunker is just ridiculous — but not nearly as ridiculous as the unfortunate directing Vosoloo was given for his character. Relegated to cartoon super villain, Natas watches his monitors muttering phrases like “You can run.” He might as well have been stroking a white cat and attaching lasers onto sharks.
Lucia Jimenez plays Alejandra, Kovacs’ producer and love interest. Jimenez is not given much to work with in the story — instead serving only as exposition machine and plot device rolled into one.
Jimenez also represents the film’s love affair with actors with heavy accents. Besides Cain, almost every single actor in Hidden Camera is sporting a thick accent that is almost undecipherable. Even the actor who plays the New York cop is sporting a thick Long Island accent.
Hidden Camera combines the paranoia of Eagle Eye with the plot of a bad James Bond movie. Counterfeit Mega Bills drive the action in the film — with different fractions all looking to get their hands on the nearly undetectable fake cash.
I almost wish Hidden Camera had been called Mega Bill instead. It wouldn’t have made the movie any better but at least the film’s title would have been as stupid as its plot.
Robert Saucedo wonders if the CIA is watching him right now on a screen full of monitors . Follow Robert on Twitter @robsaucedo2500.
Robert Saucedo is an avid movie watcher with seriously poor sleeping habits. The Mikey from Life cereal of film fans, Robert will watch just about anything — good, bad or ugly. He has written about film for newspapers, radio and online for the last 10 years. This has taken a toll on his sanity — of that you can be sure. Follow him on Twitter at @robsaucedo2500.