Since Jason Bourne effectively re-wrote the thriller mould, there have been numerous imitators aiming to capitalise on the successful formula. The Burma Conspiracy is one of these attempts, though it does not feature any amnesiac spies or government black ops. It strives for a similar tone, one which has proved lucrative in film and literature (Jack Higgins, Dan Brown and Bourne’s own Robert Ludlum have all made millions effectively writing the same book over and over). Unfortunately, The Burma Conspiracy will forever be relegated to the lower echelons of the thriller genre.
Its title is fairly self explanatory: there’s a conspiracy and it prominently takes place in Burma (whilst finding the time to jet off to Switzerland, Hong Kong and pretty much everywhere else). Said conspiracy involves our hero, Largo Winch (Tomer Sisley), inheriting his father’s multibillion dollar empire, only to find himself at the head of a plot to frame him for war crimes in Burma of which he may or may not have had knowledge of. It’s up to him to clear his name, save the woman he loves, and avoid the wrath of those who are out to frame him and put him in prison.
To say this all sounds generic is stating the obvious yet the problem with The Burma Conspiracy is its lack of punch. The film strives to be engaging from the off (there’s a shaky-cam car chase a mere five minutes in), yet there is rarely a moment one could say they were ever, you know, engaged. For a thriller the thrills are sparse, opting for scenes of heated conspiratorial discussions that repeatedly fall flat due to any lack of caring who the key players and their motivations are.
But it’s the film as a whole more than any specific moments that ultimately cause it to fail. It feels as though the film makers were not really trying or didn’t care, so pedestrian is this effort. The actors look bored, including a past-it Sharon Stone (yes, THAT Sharon Stone), the narrative is lifted from every second thriller out there and the set-pieces are uninspired and almost unwatchable at times due primarily to the cameras seldom remaining still for more than half a second and ADD editing.
The Burma Conspiracy is just below average, mediocre, run of the mill. It’s certainly not the worst film ever but it fails to justify its own existence. It’s a paint by numbers in movie form.