Inspired by the original Jason Bourne novel, The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum, the Franco-Belgian comics by Jean Van Hamme and William Vance entitled XIII took things to an entirely new level by amping up the action by layering mystery, conspiracy, and mistaken identity on top of each other until no one knew who exactly the main character really was, even the readers.
I’m a fan of the comic and this TV mini-series, despite a couple of changes to the story, does a pretty good job making sense out of the Byzantine plot of the comic. Stephen Dorff stars as a man with a unique set of skills, suffering from amnesia, and with an appearance and wounds that match that of the assassin who killed the President of the United States (Mimi Kuzyk). The only clue to his identity is a roman numeral tattoo of XIII on his chest.
Hunted by police, the Secret Service, the NSA, and a secret shadow organization of assassins led by Val Kilmer, XIII attempts to piece together his life only to uncover more questions than answers as well as an organized plot to overthrow the American Government.
Although the budget is a little small, and the amount of story sometimes feels a bit cramped in the three-hour running time, the movie hits the right notes and Dorff works well as a man searching for truth but finding only more questions, deception, and lies.
The one-disc Blu-ray includes a short collection of extras including interviews with both Dorff and Kilmer, the trailer, and a collection of behind-the-scenes featurettes focused on three different sequences in the film involving Caterina Murino‘s character, an action sequence, and a stunt sequence using a green screen. None are all that illuminating, but it’s nice to see some effort was made to include a few special features for this edition.
If your a fan of Ludlum, the current Bourne films, or tales that involve mysteries with seemingly no end, you could do far worse than XIII: The Conspiracy. And if you like it, I’d recommend tracking down the comic which is worth a read as well.