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Case Number 04636: Small Claims Court

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Target (2004)

First Look Pictures // 2004 // 87 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // June 18th, 2004

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All Rise...

Somehow you get the feeling this film is not going to make Judge David Johnson's "Best of 2004" list.

The Charge

First place winner in the "Most Generic Film Title" contest.

The Case

Charlie Snow (Stephen Baldwin, Threesome) was a highly decorated war hero, a cold-blooded sniper who never placed emotion before the mission. Except once. Providing cover for an undercover arms dealer sting operation, he was forced into a predicament, as through his scope he saw a hostage crisis unfold. The decision he made cost his fellow soldiers their lives. But he also managed to ventilate the hostage-taker something powerful.

Back in the US, Charlie is now a shell of the man he used to be. He's been ostracized from the government and his family is falling apart. His wife, who looks about 320 years older than him, is finalizing their split. He is an empty soul, as conveyed by the vacuous look in his eyes.

But Charlie's world is about to get rocked. One of the terrorists he smoked way back when has a brother who is resistant to the idea of letting grudges go. Ripping a page out of Tom Clancy's Patriot Games, placing it on the Xerox machine, pressing COPY, and inserting it into the shooting script, the movie pits Charlie and the agitated brother against each other.

Charlie's existence of lumbering around and flicking the hair out of his eyes gets body-slammed, when he learns his wife has been kidnapped, his children are in danger, and everywhere he turns he's being attacked by members of the United Federation of Eurotrash Terrorists ("proudly supplying Eastern European mercenaries since 1988.")

The former soldier must now summon all the wily tactics that made him such an effective killer and reconnect with his secret ops government links (played by MadTV veterans) to retrieve his wife and preserve his machismo.

Stephen Baldwin's stock sure has plummeted. The one-time rising Hollywood star can now be found anchoring disposable dreck like Target. This movie lies along the Spectrum of Pain somewhere between "getting stomped on the big toe by an elephant" and "swallowing a fistful of wood screws."

Top to bottom, Target is amateurish, from the low-grade film stock to the cheesy score (someone pressed the "Action Movie" button on his Fisher-Price My First Soundtrack Generator) to the stilted acting to Godforsaken, cliché-ridden dialogue ("This is between you and me! Let her go!").

Baldwin is in paycheck-cashing mode here, drifting through this mess. The big action sequences—where he evades his would-be assassins—involve him squatting in a forest while a disposable Eurotrash sniper squints through the foliage.

And the ending. Ugh. Flashing up a brief epilogue telling us of Charlie's new teaching profession, plastered on a still image of him smiling with this family. Right, because I had invested so much in the character.

The disc, a screener, sported a widescreen transfer and some previews. The end.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 40

Perp Profile

Studio: First Look Pictures
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• Spanish
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Action
• Bad
• Drama
• War

Distinguishing Marks

• Previews


• IMDb

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