Plot summary (from the studio): After his latest mission goes disastrously wrong, veteran CIA black ops agent Emerson Kent (John Cusack) is given one last chance to prove he still has what it takes to do his job. His new assignment: guarding Katherine (Malin Akerman), a code operator at a top-secret remote CIA “Numbers Station” where encrypted messages are sent and received. When an elite team of heavily armed assailants lays siege to the station, Emerson and Katherine suddenly find themselves in a life-or-death struggle against an unknown enemy. With the station compromised and innocent lives at stake, they must stop the deadly plot before it’s too late.
Warning: Spoilers below!
- Numbers stations are inherently interesting (in a creepy sort of way), so I was predisposed to be intrigued in this story. I liked that aspect of the plot, and wish more had been done with that angle beyond the transmission of a hit list.
- John Cusack was his usual likable self in this film. It was a bit odd to see him as a cold-blooded killer at the beginning (yeah, he was CIA, but still…). Luckily he grew a conscience in time to save his partner.
- The movie chugged right along without many extraneous scenes or filler.
- This whole film was just gloomy and lifeless from beginning to end. There was, what, one single joke (when Katherine pretended not to be on the train) the entire way? I wasn’t looking for a chuckle a minute, but come on. Spice things up a bit!
- The plot felt kind of pointless most of the time. It just didn’t seem like the stakes were high enough. Yeah, Emerson and Katherine were fighting for their lives, but the “enemy” was largely unseen. And just saying that the message transmission would out black ops agents and destroy international relations wasn’t enough to generate suspense. Something more needed to be done there.
I’m not sure what to say about The Numbers Station. It was’t great by a long shot — or even very entertaining. But at the same time, it didn’t annoy me too much and I managed to watch the whole thing in one sitting. I guess I feel that it was a fairly average movie, so I’ll give it 3 stars out of 5.