Project Two

If auds emerge from the relentlessly rapid-fire sci-fi thriller "Project Two" with their nerves in tatters, its makers will presumably consider it a job well done.

With:
With: Adria Collado, Lucia Jimenez, Andrew Bicknell, Alfonso Lara. (Spanish, English dialogue)

If auds emerge from the relentlessly rapid-fire sci-fi thriller “Project Two” with their nerves in tatters, its makers will presumably consider it a job well done. A cheesy B-movie storyline (including cloning and Russian thugs) welded to a dazzling display of digital wizardry, pic starts out merely flashy then proceeds to recklessly hike the excess-ometer up to 11 for visuals, sound and plot. Pic also features arguably the best car chase sequence in Spanish film history. Tailored for the video arcade generation, “Project” is well enough made to turn decent theatrical business offshore — but please leave grandma home.

Pic opens with a collage of disparate images from the mind of research scientist Diego (Adria Collado). He tells us he’s a long-term victim of vivid deja vus.

Happily married to translator Susan (Lucia Jimenez), Diego is watching TV one night with his buddy Martin (Alfonso Lara) when Diego sees a man who’s physically identical to him being killed in a Buenos Aires car accident.

Diego discovers he was adopted and, convinced that the dead man was his twin brother, he heads to Argentina in search of his biological parents. The dead man’s parents say their son, too, was adopted. They take Diego to aging, drunk Malcolm (a magnificently fruity Jose Maria Pau) in search of further answers.

But, when Malcolm asks whether Susan’s taking care of him, Diego wonders how Malcolm can know of Susan’s existence.

Back in Spain, Susan is receiving phone calls from executive type John (Andrew Bicknell), and a couple of Russian rent-a-thugs, Djanov (Bruno Squarcia) and Cherkasov (Manuel Tomas del Estal Castano), are thrown into the mix.

The script emerges from this nonsensical but enjoyable tangle more or less intact and leads into a sustained, high-intensity half-hour action sequence and a Madrid rooftop finale.

Editing is frenetic — pic features around 2,500 shots — and camera angling offbeat, to the extent that one longs for a single standard shot by way of rhythmic contrast. Electronics-based music and sound effects drone and pound away in the background virtually constantly, often unnecessarily.

Characterization is inevitably slim in a yarn which depends more on gadgets than on people, but, even so, the perfs are unconvincing. Diego’s plight is potentially heartbreaking, but a struggling Collado never comes close to suggesting that. The generally dependable Jimenez fails to unite the loving wife and the action heroine into anything coherent, and Brit thesp Bicknell appears to have been told to enunciate clearly for non-English auds (pic features some English dialogue).

Project Two

Spain - U.K.

Production: A Buena Vista Intl. release (in Spain) of a Film and Music Entertainment, Killerpic Limited (U.K.)/ Rioja Audiovisuales, Taznia Media, Filmanova Invest, Infinity Films, Nada Music (Spain) production with the participation of Antena 3. (International sales: Coach 14, Paris.) Produced by Jose Antonio Romero, Jose Miguel Juarez, Alvaro Zapata, Anton Reixa, Ibon Fernandez de Cormenzana, Rafael Portela. Directed by Guillermo Groizard. Screenplay, Groizard, Marga Varea, Manuel Valdivia, Chus Vallejo, Nacho Cabana.

Crew: Camera (color), Rafael Bolanos; editors, Jose Ramon, Lorenzo Picado; music, Daniel Sanchez; art director, Juan Jose Tello; sound (Dolby Digital), Ronald Bailey. Reviewed at Malaga Film Festival (competing), April 10, 2008. Running time: 93 MIN.

With: With: Adria Collado, Lucia Jimenez, Andrew Bicknell, Alfonso Lara. (Spanish, English dialogue)

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