In "The Echelon Conspiracy," a technological thriller presented by Dark Castle Entertainment, a computer security expert Max Peterson (Shane West) gets strange text messages in his cell phone. The latest model cell phone is in fact an anonymous gift he receives at a Bangkok hotel, and to his great surprise, the text messages really foretell the future events like stock market prices.
The unknown sender of the messages orders Max to fly to a Prague casino, where he is offered a chance to be rich quickly. Of course, he wouldn't let this opportunity go, but some people are not very happy about that. Max is pursued by the casino's security chief John Reed (Ed Burns) and an FBI agent Dave Grant (Ving Rhames). Apparently, Max realizes, he is not the only one who had received these strange messages, and some of those who had followed the phone's suggestions are already dead.
[MILD SPOILER INCLUDED in this paragraph] I believe the similarity is accidental, but "The Echelon Conspiracy" made me feel like watching "Eagle Eye" again. And perhaps "War Game," too. The difference is that D.J. Caruso, director of the surprise hit starring Shia LaBeouf, knew how to handle the action scenes more competently. There are a car chase and a shoot-out in "Echelon Conspiracy," but the badly edited stunts lack thrills and, with all respect to those who got involved, sometimes even look amateurish.
Maybe director Greg Marcks ("11:14") is not ready for action films of this scale. Acting is not bad, but virtually nothing is done to make their characters interesting, and any attempt for adding much-needed humor is weak at best. Not a terrible film at all, but "The Echelon Conspiracy" needs originality and imagination, as well as a better title.