This review was originally written in 2000.
by Bret W.
Well, I have to tell you, I was more than a little disappointed in this film. First of all, the action wasn’t nearly as good as I expected. It seems like they used up all the good scenes in the trailer. Plus, the story and the incidentals of it were neither compelling nor very believable The main character was supposed to be a kid who came from a seedy background, who was trying to better himself by going to law school. I think that they made him a product of a working class family and an orphan so that the regular people could identify with him. Well, I’m regular people and I just couldn’t identify. Here’s this guy who works very hard, and that’s admirable. We’re supposed to see him and say to ourselves, hard work can improve your station in life. Well, sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. Regardless, when he is invited to join the elite secret society called The Skulls, he more or less turns his back on his friends and puts all of his loyalty into this new group. Right away I felt more disdain for the character than sympathy.
As the story trudged on, and toiled on, and slogged on, little parts of the plot disturbed me and left me with more questions than the film was answering. I don’t know if that was the intention of the film makers, but when the film is done, I’d like at least most of the loose ends tied up. In the case of The Skulls, there were more uncertainties at the end of the film than at any other time, and I just couldn’t figure out what the end was supposed to mean. And then there’s the beneficent Senator, the elder member of The Skulls, who is supposed to be helping Our Hero, and I could never tell if the Senator was on the student’s side or not. In fact, the whole thing was just plain confusing, and finished up very confused indeed.
Now, on to the acting. Well, the acting was not bad, but it wasn’t very convincing either. Craig T. Nelson was not very good at all. His best work was done in the first Poltergeist film, and it’s all been downhill from there, although I have to say I used to like him in Coach as well. But serious roles don’t suit him, or he can’t pull them off, one or the other. The rest of the cast was OK, and that’s all they were.
As a whole, I was very disappointed it what could have been a very good action/suspense film. This was better than a B-grade film, and that’s actually what made it even worse. At least a B-grade film would make no excuses for itself or try to pass itself off as better than it is. As it was, The Skulls was not painfully bad, but it was a very flat film, and I certainly won’t be renting it again.