Following the death of his hugely wealthy father, Largo Winch returns from being “off the radar”, to take over his father’s business and then sell it in order to invest in a charitable foundation. But someone is not happy about this plan and Winch finds himself accused of crimes against humanity relating to the extermination of a Burmese village, from which his father seems to have benefited in securing mining rights. The prosecutor for the ICC (Sharon Stone) thinks she has him hook, line and sinker, but Winch knows he is innocent and refuses to believe that his father would have been complicit in such an atrocity. With little to go on, he sets about clearing his name and getting to the bottom of what really happened in Burma.

*****

There is the trifling but ongoing distraction when watching this film of whether it should be called The Burmese Conspiracy, but it is far from the only or biggest problem with this well-conceived but badly executed thriller. Theoretically a sequel to 2008’s Largo Winch, a thriller involving many of the same characters, this is really a stand-alone effort, reflected in the abandonment of the working title of Largo Winch II in favour of the more engaging (though perhaps grammatically incorrect) one now employed. The plot does become a little bogged down in convolution, struggling to avoid showing its hand until the final scene by burying a clear narrative under inadequately explained twists and turns. Though it is an interesting idea – corporate shenanigans giving rise to prosecution by the International Criminal Court – and clearly thought has been given to the script, in the end its narrative complexity undoes it, with too little of the acting being of a high enough calibre to support the weighty themes (corporate greed, Burmese corruption) being contemplated.

Only Sharon Stone counts as a genuinely recognisable face among the cast and although Tomer Sisley as Winch is passable, he lacks the charisma required to really elevate the film above its DTV nesting place. The rest of the cast deliver their lines and show menace or kindness when they need to, but it is not hard to imagine a more accomplished cast succeeding in making more of the raw elements of the film. That is not to say that the film never impresses; far from it. An opening car chase is thrilling and well-crafted, with geographical coherence an unexpected bonus. Similarly, there is a bathroom brawl later in the film between Winch and a pretty fearsome female mercenary that crackles with ferocity and veracity, though these two sequences do tend to show up some of the shortcomings elsewhere.

Coming in at a little under 100mins, partly due to an overburden of plot, the film’s pacing is not too bad, though some more judicious editing would have helped. As noted above, there are some impressive and engaging set pieces, but overall the impression is of a well-meaning and intelligently conceptualised film, let down by shortcomings in acting and story-telling, but not a disaster or failure by any means. You can see it on DVD from Monday, 23rd January.

[Rating:2.5/5]

Extras

Shameful. Just the trailer.

[Rating:0/5]

[yframe url=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5L9WMDcuB-Q’]

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Dave has been writing for HeyUGuys since mid-2010 and has found them to be the most intelligent, friendly, erudite and insightful bunch of film fans you could hope to work with. He's gone from ham-fisted attempts at writing the news to interviewing Lawrence Bender, Renny Harlin and Julian Glover, to writing articles about things he loves that people have actually read. He has fairly broad tastes as far as films are concerned, though given the choice he's likely to go for Con Air over Battleship Potemkin most days. He's pretty sure that 2001: A Space Odyssey is the most overrated mess in cinematic history.