Tuesday, April 4, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 125

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About the Cougar

The Skulls features adventurous plot despite cheesy dialogue

The Skulls

Starring: Joshua Jackson, Paul Walker, Craig T. Nelson
Rated: PG-13
Universal Pictures

Grade: B-

By Rattaya Nimibutr
Daily Cougar Staff

Like fraternities, secret societies often conceal their actions and walk with pride. These societies usually exist among Ivy League college organizations. Members are the best and brightest of the rich and powerful. Or so the Universal Pictures release The Skulls would have us believe.

For Luke McNamara (Joshua Jackson), in order to simply be noticed by the prestigious society The Skulls, he must work hard at school, work hard to pay off his loans and maintain his status as the captain of the varsity crew team.

George Kraychyk/Universal Pictures

Luke McNamara (Joshua Jackson) and Caleb Mandrake (Paul Walker) are soulmates in a secret organization in the new film The Skulls, in theaters now.

After being invited to join the highly selective society, Luke finds himself getting involved more than he expected. The rituals and ceremonies strengthen his brotherhood with the society, but he soon discovers its true nature under all that glamour and wealth.

The Skulls is a thriller that attracts those who like to see good things gone bad. The film has an interesting twist and succeeds in bringing the audience through an adventurous ride.

Though this movie can be predictable at times, director Rob Cohen (The Rat Pack) develops the picture into a thrill that makes it all a fun and fair game. Don't expect some high-budget film that will blow you away, but rather a simple and unique picture that makes the moviegoing experience a bit more enjoyable.

Jackson (from television's Dawson's Creek) is powerful as Luke, the ambitious candidate who finds The Skulls' secrets a little shaky. His performance is top notch and his portrayal is perfect for the role writer John Pogue (U.S. Marshals) hoped for.

Paul Walker (She's All That) puts in another strong performance, portraying Caleb Mandrake, another Skull initiate whose father (Craig T. Nelson) is one of the highest members in the Skulls council.

Caleb is assigned as Luke's "soulmate" in the brotherhood tradition and the film mainly focuses on these two leads.

Perhaps this secret society thing will become the next trend of Hollywood. This type of film was seen first in Fight Club, where rule No. 1 was "You do not talk about Fight Club." In The Skulls, Luke is not allowed to acknowledge his involvement, which is ironic because the skull logo is everywhere, but no one is supposed to know about it ...

The Skulls comes off as a WB original picture at times with actors spitting out cheesy dialogue. While most people don't care too much for these high-class traditions, it is still a joyous ride to see an interesting turn of a stimulating plot. It will not be a waste of money if you go in not expecting too much. 

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