Whether she's marrying her co-stars or adopting babies on location, Angelina Jolie has a habit of taking her work home. But this time she's gone too far by attempting to combine her screen image as a can-do action babe with her off-camera consciousness-raising.
As Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Jolie has seen her fair share of Third World strife. And now we can too, thanks to Martin Campbell's tour of the Earth's most perilous hot spots. Who knows what this film would have been had Oliver Stone made it as planned, with Kevin Costner and Catherine Zeta-Jones? Certainly more interesting than Campbell's effort, which plays like an excuse for the Tomb Raider star to parade her bleeding heart under the guise of a globe-trotting romantic weepie.
The romance is provided by Clive Owen's volatile relief worker, who makes a dramatic, Bob Geldof-style entrance by gatecrashing an exclusive charity ball with a starving orphan in tow. It's enough to get Jolie on his side, even if he does spend the first half of the movie taking the piss. ("You're wearing perfume in the middle ofthe desert!" he sneers as she turns up at his famine camp with a convoy of supplies.) Soon, though, old tombstone features has a change of heart, allowing love to blossom as they lead a mercy mission to protect a village from the Khmer Rouge.
Any film spanning 11 years and three continents was always going to have problems with focus, but there are other flaws here, too. It's hard to avoid charges of insensitivity when you show a Cambodian baby playing with a hand grenade or use CGI to fabricate a starving Ethiopian infant - especially when the result looks like Dobby's undernourished cousin. And no matter which war zone Angelina fetches up in, she always has the perfect outfit. But hey, why let ethnic cleansing get in the way of fashion?