"If it's secret and elite, it can't be good."
The Skulls
Review by Ross Anthony

Would you swear your allegiance to some stealth secret society seducing you with insurmountable sums, slick sports cars, sexy slender sisters, scholarships to study law at several esteemed schools essentially securing your prospective professional success? Struggling to pay the bills at his Ivy League University, city-kid Joshua Jackson sighs, "My future's killing me," then succumbs to the seduction as the price to calm the side effects of entry into the Skulls skyrockets.

The SkullsA group of ten recruited college studs (only 2 of which matter) stumble in the dark through a mysterious and spooky initiation process. The two: our hero Joshua and the typecast teen jerk Paul Walker.

There's actually a very exciting long boat race earlier on. Meant to endear us to the main character (which admittedly, it does), the race itself is more climactic than the picture's climax. The film is still intriguing as we (along with Josh) learn about this elite secret society membering members of congress etc. Why the club is called "Skulls," is never revealed - probably it just sounds cool. To celebrate the new groups "rebirth," dressed in expensive duds and rubbing shoulders with senators and judges, the music rolls over to rock, a flock of gorgeous babes slow-mo into the room, and the young new talent leave the party in $50,000 sports car of their choice. It's a very slick sequence.

Not too long after, however, the film takes a dive into "Starsky and Hutchdom," with a TV 70's bad guy pursues good guy into a fenced in alley staple, that detours into a car chase worthy of "Dukes of Hazard." Oh sure that can be fun, but in a film that sets itself up as clever, darkly sinister and proudly bares the name "Skulls?" It's hardly stately. The good old fashion duel at then end doesn't vindicate it in the least, nor is it unpredictable.

Joshua Jackson pulls down a strong performance as does Paul Walker, but the uneven dialogue dips into the silly. Despite it's excellent cinematography, "Skulls" fails to "flesh out" a good premise.

  • The Skulls. Copyright © 2000. Rated R.
  • Starring Joshua Jackson, Paul Walker, Hill Harper, Leslie Bibb, Christopher McDonald, Steve Harris, William Petersen, Craig T. Nelson.
  • Directed by Rob Cohen.
  • Written by John Pogue.
  • Produced by Neal H. Moritz, John Pogue at Universal/Original/NewMarket Captial.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:53:55 PDT