Monday, 30 May 2011

The Echlon Conspiracy aka The Gift

The Echelon Conspiracy was called the Gift but changed the title after the appearance of another film with the title of the Gift. The film includes some big names with Jonathan Pryce and Martin Sheen.

Shane West, played by Max Petersen is a top notch computer security engineer whose abilities include the ability to restore a computer after a major electrical failure as well as protecting it from digital attack. After the assignment is completed he receives the gift of a mobile phone which advises him to buy certain stock which has a sudden increase in value of 300% and then to bet at particular slot machines and then at the blackjack table winning huge amounts and alerting security. On his way back to his room he encounters what appears to be a girl having a physical row with her boyfriend and after intervening he is knocked out and we see his phone chip is copied. When he recovers the woman, Kamila (Tamara Feldman) is helping him. He suggests a drink and she says later.

Because of his gambling success and being observed with the mobile phone he is prevented from using it while in the gambling area of he hotel, so he contacts the Russian taxi driver who had given him hid card after mentioning that he too was also an electronic specialist as a hobby (of course) and he fixes up an ear piece to take messages from the switched off mobile phone. He increases his winning to 3 million euros from a slot machine but before he can claim his winnings he is pursued by the security and then falls into the hands of a FBI (CIA?) agent who interrogates him with violence threats about the phone.

The agent contacts Martin Sheen who appears to be the head of the National Space Authority in control of a monster satellite computer surveillance system which we later learn has access to every surveillance camera I operation throughout the world. We are led to believe that Max is the latest of several individuals who have received phones and made money from insider information and who are then killed; The suggestion is made is that the system has been comprised and needs to be upgraded something which the USA Congress has recently vetoed.

Max has met the Kamila for drinks and they have become lovers but he then finds that she is an FBI agent after an attempt is made to assassinate both of them. It at this point that he teams up with the Casino Security chief who is an ex FBI agent and they go to Russia to meet up with the Taxi driver well connected tech officer to find out who is sending the messages, and this turns out to be the computer system Echelon where Max was employed to provide its security system. At this point it becomes evident that Sheen as the NSA controller wants Max killed and the FBI agent and the Casino security chief join forces and take a military aircraft to Omaha Nebraska Max as received a request from the computer. It also found that the person on whose property the computer is established has also been killed and was responsible for sending Max the phone. It is only after the film that can work out some of moves and relationships. I note the Wikipedia notes have got the situation wrong which is rare. The first course from action for Max is to try and stop Echelon killing people by altering traffic light systems is one example I remember. He now finds that although Congress vetoed the expenditure for the upgrade the machine is upgrading itself and migrating to Alaska in the process. The purpose of the upgrade is to take have access and therefore take control of all digital technology. Sheen has sent forces to stop Max from interfering in this project. As the countdown to the upgrade and transfer moves to conclusion and as the forces arrives Max uses the same approach as was used in War Games to get the computer to work out what/who is the greatest risk to peace and eventually after a brainstorm the machine works out that it is the problem and shuts itself down. The adventurers who saved the world go off on a trip to Paris where Max is joined by Kamila and the NSA chief is off to appear before a Senate Intelligence Committee, although we know he claimed he had the approval of the President for what he was doing. In the final scene we discover that the taxi driver Yuri is in fact a Captain in he Russian security forces who is being rewarded for his recent services. Yuri comments that he is concerned that the Americans will attempt to start the machine up again but at least they had been helped to make the right decision for today. This suggests another film but the box office said differently

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