Julien Neaves – Editor
When I saw the trailer for this film I was admittedly excited. It mixed two things I love – dystopias and super powers – and featured Stephen “Arrow” Amell and his younger cousin Robbie (The Flash). But I have been burned with Netflix original Sci Fi movies before (I am looking at you The Titan) so I always temper my expectations. Here’s my review with mild spoilers:
The younger Amell plays Connor Reed, an out of work guy with electrical powers in a world where super powered people are treated like second-class citizens; there is a scene where we see him and other powered people waiting for a truck to bring them jobs, slapping the whole immigrant/minority allusion right in your face. When Connor’s mother (played by a sympathetic Kari Matchett of Covert Affairs) takes ill he joins up with a super criminal gang led by the stoic Garrett (bigger Amell) and funded by seedy crime boss Marcus Suttcliffe (Greg Bryk). The gang is pursued by cops, including Detective Park (Sung Kang of the Fast franchise) and armed police androids called Guardians.
The film may be in the Sci Fi genre but it is closer to crime drama Heat (though nowhere near as good) than powered fantasy Push. Yes you have superpowers but there is much more gun play than power play, and the abilities really feel secondary. There are a couple of scenes where you will say “hey, that’s cool” but I think budget restraints may have also restrained the use of special effects.
Also quite secondary is character development. As Reed the younger Amell is so aggressive and unlikable and undeveloped that you will not give two hoots about him. And as Garrett the elder Amell plays the one-note tough guy from start to finish and we never know why he is doing what he is doing, nor will you care. The plot is also very paint by numbers.
Code 8 suffers from the same main issue as Netflix fantasy action Bright where you have an interesting setting and world but you don’t take the time to explore it and flesh it out. The whole power discrimination theme is interesting but the story just dips its toe into it and then runs away to the next plot point. Thankfully Code 8 has some decent action scenes which make it worth watching, unlike the abysmal Bright. But still, they could have done a whole lot more to lift the film from “meh” to “yeah!”
Score: 5 out of 10
For a Quick Bite review of the Sci Fi film Vivarium you can click here.
Julien Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. Also loves promoting Caribbean film, creating board games and is an aspiring author. Says things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Can also be found talking about TV and movie stuff on Instagram as redmanwriter and on Facebook at Movieville