starring Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Liam Hemsforth and Amber Heard and Richard Dreyfuss
screenplay by Jason Hall and Barry L. Levy
directed by Robert Luketic
Called “Power Game” in Japan - a good name for it, as it turns out - Paranoia is based on a novel by John Finder. Basically it is a retelling of Wall Street (1987, starring Charlie Sheen and Michael Douglas, directed by Oliver Stone). But whereas Wall Street was about espionage and greed among Wall Street financiers, Paranoia is about espionage and greed among high technology companies in New York. Specifically in this case, smart phone companies. In the 1980s Wall Street shenanigans were the topic of the day. Today it’s smart phones. In the 2020s it will be something else. How many times will Hollywood have to remake the same story?
Liam Hemsforth plays Adam Cassidy, the same role that Charlie Sheen played in 1987. He’s the son of an honest but poor working class guy, in this case a retired security guard played by Richard Dreyfuss. (Martin Sheen played the salt-of-the-earth factory worker father to Charlie Sheen in Wall Street). Adam is a low-level inventor in the Wyatt Corporation technology conglomerate, sent by his boss, Gary Oldman, to spy on his competitor, Harrison Ford of Eicorp, for whom Gary Oldman used to work when he started out in the business. Eicorp has a revolutionary new smart phone that will change the world and Wyatt Corp. wants it. Adam’s job is to steal it: present himself to the enemy as a disgruntled Wyatt employee, like Luca Brasi in The Godfather (1972, starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, directed by Francis Ford Coppola). (“Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”)
It turns out, though, that there is a double cross going on. Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford) knows what Adam and Wyatt (Gary Oldman) are up to and he plays them in a finely-honed game. It turns out that Goddard knows his phone model is superior hardware, but Wyatt has the superior software. So Goddard plays Adam in order to secretly acquire not only Goddard’s software but his entire company. It’s a hostile takeover. Wow! Where have I seen this before? Do you remember The Secret of My Success (1987, starring Michael J. Fox, directed by Herbert Ross)?
In the end everyone is arrested. It was an okay movie, barely.