Most Wanted

Most Wanted, directed by David Glenn Hogan, is not without signs of
talent, and it has one or two finely managed scenes. I especially liked the one
where Keenen Ivory Wayans in the role of James Dunn, a stock innocent con on the
lam (and boy is he innocent! he only got put in jail in the first place because
he refused a superior officer’s order
to murder a ten year old boy) takes the stock pretty woman (Jill Hennessy)
hostage and asks her if she lives alone.
she replies quickly. “I have a
boyfriend. He’s a

don’t have a
boyfriend,” says the man.

“How do you know

“Because there are five empty
cartons of Haagen Dazs in the trash, your legs are stubbly and you
haven’t touched up the grey in your

Even better, for an action movie, is the scene in which the real bad guys,
the stock millionaire industrialist (Robert Culp) and the stock out-of-control
right-wing general (Jon Voight), decide that the best way to capture the stock
innocent con on the lam (who is rapidly gathering evidence of their stock
fiendish plots) is to offer a $10 million reward. We see him being recognized on
the street by one, two, three people, and suddenly a whole mob of ordinary folk,
from kids to grannies, is chasing him down the street. It is also rather clever
that he gets out of this one by running across a busy freeway at considerable
risk to his own life but drawing the determined mob after him, causing huge
pile-ups in the process. This is the kind of thing that action movies ought to

Yet, as the careful reader may have gathered, the number of stock characters
and situations is such that it is impossible to take the film
seriously—except as yet another unfortunate indication of the growing
tolerance for sheer paranoia in the popular culture. At one point, after the
first lady has been assassinated for reasons that make no sense, the
investigating authorities call on any citizen who may have been filming or
taping the scene at the time to bring their films or tapes in.
right!” says one of the audience
watching the TV announcement. “You
know that everybody who witnessed the Kennedy assassination is dead; if I had a
tape, I’d burn

This kind of attitude seems to partake of the various conspiracy theories
with which the black community, especially, has been awash for years (such as
that AIDS was developed by government scientists specifically to kill black
people), and it is implicit in every frame of this film. What price we as a
nation shall have to pay somewhere down the road for the incessant teaching of
the popular culture that the government and the corporate world are controlled
by ruthless killers one can only guess. But in the meantime, it is up to the
voices of sanity and common sense to call the attention of people to what the
conspiracy-mongers are selling, and what shoddy goods they are, and not allow it
all to be dismissed as “just a

As the X-files puts it: “The truth
is out there.”

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