Epicenter (2000) starring Traci Lords, Gary Daniels, Jeff Fahey, Daniela Nane, Constantin Cotimanis, Katie Stuart, Andrew Francis directed by Richard Pepin Movie Review

Epicenter (2000)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Gary Daniels as Nick Constantine in Epicenter

L.A. Flaw

The most memorable thing about "Epicenter" is a very brief and surprisingly visual sex scene, a sex scene which has no relation to the movie at all as "Epicenter" is not a reference to the G-spot. Nope "Epicenter" is supposedly an action drama which tries to blend together two plot lines, the FBI agent trying to take a convict to his destination whilst people want him dead with a disaster movie aspect as we have an earthquake for them to contend with as well. But let me tell you "Epicenter" is not a good movie, it is simply bad from dodgy special effects through to the cheesiest dialogue going there is little going in its favour. In fact the only thing which you could call good is at least the picture quality is sharp and that is not what you should be commending a movie for.

Having spent a year undercover FBI Agent Amanda Foster (Traci Lords) gets her hands on hacker Nick Constantine (Gary Daniels) who has stolen secret data and an encryption chip from the company he works for to sell to the Russian mafia. But as Amanda tries to transport Nick to a safe house in L.A. they learn that the Russians are not the only ones who are after Nick as a corrupt FBI Agent needs to silence him. And if that wasn't enough to contend with L.A. is hit by an earthquake which makes the danger more than just men with big guns.

Traci Lords as Agent Amanda Foster in Epicenter

Basically "Epicenter" is a movie of two halves with the first half all about Nick Constantine not only stealing important data from the company he works for but also the special computer chip needed to decode it. It's sort of entertaining as we watch him get around security at the company he works for and has a little help from a rogue FBI agent to unlock a security system. But it doesn't take long for it to become boring and seriously cheesy as continuity errors start to show themselves, watch out for the disappearing reappearing jacket.

This intro basically leads us to meeting undercover FBI agent Amanda, who in typical style is bringing up a daughter on her own and due to work doesn't spend enough time with her. But more importantly it leads to one of the longest and cheesiest chase sequences going as we have Russian Mafia chasing Nick and Amanda through the streets of San Francisco as cars leap into the air, flip over and trams crash. Usually an action sequence like this would be exciting but with corny dialogue coming from the pursuing Russians and gravity defying flipping cars it's hard not to laugh.

That is just the first half of "Epicenter" which then miraculously transfers to L.A. and we have the generic storyline of Amanda trying to escort Nick to a safe house whilst those dastardly Russians are after him as well as a rogue FBI agent who doesn't want him to blab. It would be very generic if it wasn't that we then get the earthquake to add to the danger so Amanda and Nick not only have to evade flying bullets but also falling masonry whilst saving each others lives. Oh and just for good measure Amanda's daughter is also in L.A. so Amanda has to save her as well. The most annoying thing is that this is all bad but not so bad that it becomes good for all the wrong reasons.

If the combination of these two storylines wasn't bad enough the special effects just add to the trouble especially the overlaid CGI explosions which stick out like a sore thumb. There is more trouble when it comes to the dialogue which features some exquisite gems of macho BS and to be honest there is not a good performance in the entire movie. And although I am not certain I am sure the footage used in some elevator drama, well it is a disaster movie, has come from "Speed" and the same with tram car footage looking like it's come from "Metro". Ironically for a movie which is bad on so many levels the actual picture quality is surprisingly good, maybe a little too good as the sharpness of it all often makes it feel even more fake.

What this all boils down to is that "Epicenter" is quite simply a bad movie, a movie which tries to combine the drama of a disaster movie with a thriller about a criminal being escorted by an agent through trouble. Other than the picture quality there is nothing to praise about it and sadly it doesn't reach the point of being so bad that it becomes good.