Monday, June 03, 2024

Shadow Land, Starring Jon Voight

How do ex-presidents like to spend their days? George W. Bush took up painting. Obama posts wordy tweets that try to obscure the compounding damage his foreign policy did to our national security (remember when he mockingly dismissed Romney’s concerns about Putin, quipping “the 1980s called, they want their foreign policy back?” It doesn’t sound so funny today, does it?). Painting is more productive. Maybe former President Robert Wainwright can take it up if he isn’t going crazy and he survives the shadowy assassin he suspects has been watching his ranch from the property line in James Bamford’s Shadow Land, which releases tomorrow on VOD.

President Wainwright has not been sleeping well. He has nightmares every night and suffers from that unnerving feeling that he is being watched. Of course, he still has a full Secret Service protection detail, but nobody expects any trouble at the Shadow Land ranch, not even the super-diligent Agent Nathan Malone. However, Agent Brett Cahill and his sports betting problem inspire less confidence.

Concerned for the former President, his former chief of staff calls in his former analyst, Dr. Elliot Davrow, who technically was not missing. He was just teaching at a regional state college. Sadly, Wainwright’s beloved wife Eleanor died while he was in office. Dr. Davrow helped him get past it, but at the time, he lost sight of some of the fallout from a military action in Astovia.

What the heck is Astovia? Presumably, it is the same Belarus-ish rat-hole that tried to kidnap President Edwards in Bamford’s
Air Force One Down. So, does that mean this film is part of the Astoviaverse? Regardless, Shadow Land is not nearly as successful as its predecessor, despite the credibility Jon Voight brings as the former president.

He humanizes old Wainwright to a degree that Bamford’s film probably does not deserve. Marton Csokas is also better than he needs to be as the conscientious Dr. Davrow. However, Rhona Mitra looks decidedly bored as Rachel Donnelly, who happens to be both Davrow’s ex and a leftist journalist collaborating with Wainwright on his memoir, because he has a George W. Bush-worthy notion that this will show his willingness to face the truth. However, Philip Winchester (from
Strike Back) is appropriately shifty and suspicious as Agent Cahill.

Air Force One Down
presented some solid action in a patriotic package. Unfortunately, screenwriter Ian Corson substitutes mystery-free intrigue for the beatdowns and fire-fights. Similarly, the pro-American perspective of Air Force One Down gives way to conspiracy mongering and skepticism in America’s fitness to be a global leader. Frankly, Shadow Land is a considerable disappointment, in many ways. Not recommended, Shadow Land releases tomorrow (6/4) on VOD.