The Thirteenth Floor

on May 28, 1999 by Dwayne E. Leslie
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   Based on the novel "Simulacron-3" by Daniel F. Galouye, "The Thirteenth Floor" takes audiences to the past and future via virtual time-travel. When Douglas Hall ("The Long Kiss Goodnight's" Craig Bierko) is blamed for the murder of his boss ("The X-Files'" Armin Mueller-Stahl), he must jack into a $2 billion dollar computer-simulated world he helped create to find the only clue that will prove his innocence.
   If "The Thirteenth Floor" had been able to sustain the awe of Douglas' first virtual experience, it could have been a sci-fi masterwork. But at the midway point, the plot shifts and the link between the film and the audience is broken; the metaphorical "man behind the curtain" is revealed and the fantasy is gone. Spiraling from fantasy thriller to cliché-riddled whodunnit, the plot quickly unravels to a predictable ending.
   The film's couple of twists and eyefuls of visuals make it entertaining fun, but it leaves one's intellect and imagination unfulfilled. Like an insufficiently developed computer program, "The Thirteenth Floor's" pervasive bugs cause it to crash.    Starring Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Armin Mueller-Stahl and Vincent D'Onofrio. Directed by Josef Rusnak. Written by Josef Rusnak and Ravel Centeno-Rodriguez. Produced by Ute Emmerich, Roland Emmerich and Marco Weber. A Columbia release. Sci-fi/Thriller. Rated R for violence and language. Running time: 100 min.
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