Yeah, yeah, shut up. Call it guilty pleasure, brain fade or whatever, but this film worked out for me, and I liked it a lot. Why, you say? Well probably because I dig sci-fi a lot, or probably because the idea was way interesting that it hooked me, or probably was seeing how Russell Crowe managed to portray the villain SID 6.7 in such an impressive and riveting way.So were here in L.A. in 1999, Virtual Reality has been fully developed to the point of using it to train the LAPD’s rookies. The place is called the Law Enforcement Technology Advancement Centre, and to train the rookies, the LATEC has developed a Sadistic, Intelligent, and Dangerous entity, version 6.7 (Crowe), but they must first test it, so instead of risking it with real Police Officers, they pull out two fucks out of prison, one of them being Parker Barnes (Denzel Washington). But then the program is being threatened to be shut off, and soon, SID’s creator, Dr. Darren Lindenmeyer (Stephen Spinella) decides to make a deal with the devil, and thanks to nanotechnology, he brings SID out too the real world as a silicone nano-machine android, and all hell breaks loose. SID is a program containing over 200 killers in one, which include Charles Manson, Adolf Hitler, and Mathew Grimes, the last one being the one that killed Parker’s wife and daughter. So Parker, who is in the brick for shooting two innocent bystanders, gets his chance at freedom when they assign him the task of catching SID, that is if he can. Since, the longer SID is in the real world, the more he learns and the more dangerous he becomes.
Ok, it’s formula all around, since we see again the case of a killer that can be stopped by only one man, all over again. Plus, it borrows from many movies like Terminator 2, which the T-1000 villain has certain assimilation to SID’s character. And there’s little character development, like Kelly Lynch as Dr. Madison Carter, whom becomes Parker’s sidekick. Her character is completely useless, like a piece of paper stuck in a car, and it’s only there to point out or back up whatever Parker has in his mind. Oh, and Louise Fletcher, what the hell was she doing here? Completely wasted in a role ANY extra would’ve taken. Denzel Washington’s casting of the hero Parker Barnes seems a little off to me. The role would’ve needed some one with more agility and ability, and Denzel doesn’t bring too much of it since he looks a little bored with the role. I’m not saying that Denzel is a bad actor, I’m just saying that it didn’t seem right to me for him to be cast as an action hero.
Ok, so with all that shit posted up there, you’re thinking that what we have here is just another dud of a film. Not entirely true. What saves the film are three important things: Idea, Message, and Russell Crowe. The idea is interesting, since we’re talking about big-shit technology, computer programs that can simulate things with such realism, and technology that can build an android like if it were a living thing. My dad says that movies also serve as documentaries on how technology is advancing and what new stuff has just been developed, or what new theories have come out. This is one hell of a theory, though Virtual Reality became reality a while back. The message is also important. I’ve heard many people complaining on how sadistic and disturbing this film tends to be. Well, that’s the whole point, fuckos. This film shows us a mirror image at our sadistic selves. A fine example is how many people like blood, guts and gore in movies, and how they get excited how people get their shit blown off by bombs or guns. The portrayal of SID and his liking to be filmed whenever he’s terrorizing people, plus the ever memorable “DEATH TV” scene with all the TV ratings soaring sky-high after a live murder, is a clear mirror image on how people can be as sadistic and as grotesque as the killers themselves (something I similarly discussed in Badlands), and how fucked up our society can turn out to be, when induced to this kind of shit. And last but not least, Russell Crowe’s performance is the highlight of the movie, and we’re not talking about the already established Russell Crowe the movie star today. We’re talking about the old Russell Crowe, the aspiring, rising star from Australia, who back then was seen as one of the most promising actors in the business. Crowe adds a sly sense of humor which makes his character seem like your average bystander, but when the time comes, he just flips the switch and becomes an ultra-cool, ultra-sadistic, crazy-ass motherfucker, but its just the way he does it, and the way he enjoys his role that we just end up enjoying the shit out of this guy. Crowe steals the movie, and overshadows almost completely Washington’s leading role, and is almost the main factor that saves this movie from being another formulaic, sci-fi dud.In the end, I don’t expect you to REALLY like this movie, but I still recommend it. This is one of those flicks where in my opinion; have at least some great ideas pumping through that demand your utmost attention. It isn’t great, that’s for sure, but it sure is one interesting experience. Guilty pleasure? Maybe.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5973&reviewer=235
originally posted: 06/29/02 15:18:19