Case Number 18370


Peace Arch Entertainment // 2010 // 136 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 19th, 2010

The Charge

Betrayal comes at a price.

Opening Statement

And that price? 136 minutes of your life, flushed down the toilet.

Facts of the Case

Based on the Belgian comic book (which inspired a kind of interesting first person shooter during the previous video game generation), XIII tells the story of the assassination of the first female American president and the geopolitical fallout from this event.

Who pulled the trigger? It might be a man with amnesia (Stephen Dorff) whose only clue is the "XIII" tattooed in his chest. As he struggles to figure out his identity, a shadowy conspiracy unfolds and various men with automatic weapons attempt to kill him, including another tattooed hunter (Val Kilmer).

The Evidence

You better be prepared to strap in for the long haul. XIII is the DVD presentation of a television miniseries, which means you're going to have to absorb two hours and sixteen minutes of derivative plotting, political cheap shots, predictable story twists and a small amount of serviceable action. If that's enough to satiate your digital entertainment colon then lap it up. If, however, you require a conspiracy thriller with more nuance than a substandard episode of 24 then move along.

XIII kind of hates me, I think. I don't how else to explain away the fact that it subjected to me to such a ridiculous story for such a long time. Look, XIII, I know I never got around to finishing your video game, but don't take it personally!

Anywho, here's what I learned from this long, slow slog through mediocrity:

Republicans are evil fascists.
Typically, these conspiracy flicks go out of their way to obscure the identity of political parties, going for a non-partisan tone. Heck, if you had never watched the first season of 24 you'd have no idea the political lineage of each successive president. Not with XIII. They want to make sure you know who exactly the malevolent forces behind global domination and a totalitarian overthrow of Western democracy are: the GOP of course!

As soon as you leave the Marine Corps you turn into a domestic terrorist.
I gave Avatar crap about its representation of ex-Marines as blood-thirsty, native-smiters, but XIII is even worse. The main bad guys who guard the evildoers' headquarters and the dirty-bomb-making facility are all former Marines. Of course they are, because we all know the Few and the Proud all secretly harbor and intense desire to nuke Maryland. Hey, XIII: blow me.

Stories about secret agents with amnesia never get old.
Actually, they do.

Conspiracies always involve the same people with the same ambition.
Namely, corporate executives and political retirees who have nothing better to do than kill a lot of innocent Americans in the name of patriotism or something.

No one else besides our hero knows how to use a sniper rifle.
It's pretty easy to kill the President of the United States from a safe distance, but a confused amnesiac? Impossible!

If you're intent on engaging in this disposable mission, the DVD is okay, starting with the clean 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and a 5.1 surround mix and ending with some interviews with disinterested cast members and behind-the-scenes footage.

Closing Statement

As if this ordeal wasn't long enough, the cliffhanger ending promises a sequel. Perhaps XIII will team up with the other 12 to hunt down and destroy the NRSC?

The Verdict


Review content copyright © 2010 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 85
Audio: 85
Extras: 80
Acting: 70
Story: 55
Judgment: 56

Perp Profile
Studio: Peace Arch Entertainment
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

* English (CC)
* Spanish

Running Time: 136 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Featurette
* Interviews

* IMDb