Rising of the Moon [2002]

With a screenplay partially written by John Carpenter (Halloween), a cast that includes Tommy Lee Jones in the lead, and a dream car called the Black Moon that travels up to 350 miles per hour, one should feel entitled to see a pretty good movie here. It doesn't quite work out that way, however. Jones plays a high-tech thief squeezed by the government into stealing data from a shady corporation. Under pursuit, he slips the booty into the back of the lightning-quick Black Moon, which is subsequently stolen by Robert Vaughn's hot-car operation. And so on. What could have been a smart, fast-paced action piece with some original elements and heated visuals suddenly cools after the story setup. It cools so much, in fact, that one begins to question the film's logic: why on earth, for example, would a smart, visionary villain such as Vaughn's character limit himself to stolen vehicles? Carpenter fans and other completists will want to check this out, understandably, but the rest of us will have to find points of interest in Jones's sharpened wits and supporting performances by Linda Hamilton, Lee Ving, and Richard Jaeckel. Directed by Harley Cokliss. --Tom Keogh

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