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Starring Patrick Stewart and Vincent Kartheiser
Screenplay by Floyd Byars
Directed by Roger Christian
Website www.spe.sony.com

IN SHORT: This'll make a fine vid.

We all know what sixteen year old Ozzie (Vincent Kartheiser) means by a "Die Hard situation," when the elite private school he's been kicked out of gets taken over by men with big guns. The problem with Masterminds, though, is that while Die Hard was about a man trying to save his wife, Masterminds is about a kid trying to save a step-sister he actively hates. We know he hates her 'cuz the opening sequence (in which Ozzie uses a homemade hightech password cracking card to hack into a megacorporation and steal code for a new vidgame) ends with Oz cussin out his step-sister when she trips the laser beam security grid in his bedroom and screws up the DL.

Waitasec. We're talking major investment in computer power, plus laser beams in a bedroom??? Split family parental units like those in this flick are the reason that Conservatism is running rampant in this country.

Some family values group is going to go yelping about the metal music scoring the opening sequence -- and you really don't know if Ozzie is breaking the law or playing a cutting edge vidgame until later -- but not me. The metal, which shows up just about every time Ozzie does something in the first 20 minutes of the flick, is tolerable. His snot nosed attitude isn't, but at 16 it's expected.

As punishment, Ozzie has to tow -- you'll believe it when you see it -- the little bugger to the private school that kicked him out. This puts Ozzie in place to do a John McLain, as the school's security chief (Patrick Stewart) has rigged the computers to lock the police out; to let his troops in; to hold the richest kids for ransom. From there on it it's Die Hard meets Home Alone (or any of their sequels, it's a mix and match deal) with a gentle, final nod to the toilet bowl diving sequence of Trainspotting, albeit on a much grander scale.

Problems abound. For a pair of "masterminds" the lead characters in this flick are sorely lacking in the 'mind' department. Security Chief Stewart never locks doors. Ozzie hacks into the schools computer and can save the day by opening the doors (he does), shutting down the system (he doesn't) and changing the password (nope), all of which he has time to do before the bad guys shoot the locked door -- Ozzie was smart enough to do that - - off its hinges.

If I was 14, I probably would've gotten a good rush out of Masterminds, a teen targeted action flick that will leave those outside the demo going "huh?" The plus for us old fogeys is Patrick Stewart, who plays his character just as much for laughs as for villainy. But that's about it.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Masterminds, he would have paid . . .


It's action packed, but strictly vid stuff for old man Cranky. Add Much much more, if you're a teen.

Click to buy films starring Patrick Stewart
Click to buy films starring Vincent Kartheiser

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