Wednesday, 8 May 2013

No.96 : The Diplomat

The Diplomat at the IMDb
The title of this made for TV but repackaged as a movie thriller is a bit misleading - there is no diplomacy going on at all just some running about and some solid work for the Australian tourist board.

Dougray Scott stars as the titular official who on returning home from his posting in Turkmenistan is arrested for having a stash of souvenir guitars stuffed with heroin in his diplomatic bag. He was undone when his scam was uncovered by a police raid that had some minor gunplay and a broken window.

Scott’s arrest causes a bit of upset in the higher echelons of Government as Richard Roxburgh tries to minimise the fall out. We aren’t sure if Roxburgh is bent and he and Scott are working a scam - or is this a secret mission to entrap those darn Russkies? We think it’s probably the latter as Scott is so damn hunky but he’s such an arrogant prick that it’s hard to decide.

Back in Turkmenistan the bad guys plan to free Scott and his mysterious key. They obviously think he’s working with them but is it a trap or is Scott playing one side off the other? Soon a deal with the Aussie tourist board kicks in and Scott and his lovely ex-wife are transported to Australia to stay in a variety of fancy houses that are no doubt available to rent. The English police woman who is pursuing the case, who is in fact an Australian, heads East to confront the bad guys. After this turns out to be a waste of time she too heads to Oz and stays in a hotel overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge - if they put up holiday prices it wouldn’t be more blatant!

We learn that Scott and his ex-wife broke up when their son drowned but slowly they start to heal the wounds and get back in bed as a bunch of henchmen get shot in some poorly planned rescue/assassination/hostage taking raids. As the bad guys start to load a bunch of ‘suitcase bombs’ onto an Australia bound plain and the Government gets nervous - can Scott save the day and clear his name?

This was an OK film but it’s TV origins were plain to see with it’s ‘Co-Production with Australian TV’ credentials obvious from the off. The three sites for the action watered down any tension there could have been and it does seem that plenty was lost in the edit when it became a movie from a TV mini series

Scott can shout and swear and drink all he likes but he doesn’t convince as a leading man. He tries to play it cool and enigmatic from the off but just comes across as a complete tool. He lacked any empathy whatsoever and the character development of the dead son did nothing to soften our approach towards him. Scott’s real life partner Claire Forlani played his ex-wife and although she did oblige by running about in her skimpies her duck face expression but her limited range did nothing to add to the couple’s appeal. I’m sure they are lovely in real life!

The background activities of the scheming Government officials and the police doing a hapless investigation were intended to add some layers of sophistication but the film only really worked when the bad guys and the coppers had one of their numerous shootouts.

I think if you caught this over three nights on ITV you’d feel it a decent offering, but if you chanced upon the Blu-Ray you’ll feel as swizzled as someone who bought a souvenir guitar from a Turkmenistan gift shop.

THE Tag Line - Plead Diplomatic Immunity From This One  51%

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