Monday, February 2, 2015

Review of VICE: Stale SciFi

February 1, 2015

VICE is a resort where members can indulge freely in any psychologically or sociologically sick fantasy of their choice. Owned and designed by Julian Michaels. Vice boasts of having "artificials", humanoid staff who act, think and feel like real humans. Clients can do anything he wants with these artificials, going to the extremes of sex and violence that are unacceptable in real life.

One day, a pretty resident artificial named Kelly suffers a glitch in her programming and was becoming aware of past acts of violence done on her. Confused, she wants to escape her predestined fate. She encounters A.I. genetic designer Evan Lund and a crusading policeman Detective Roy Tedeschi on her flight out of Vice. Can they beat the powerful Mr. Michaels at his own game?

Bruce Willis headlines this film as the debonair Julian Michaels. However, despite the prominent billing, he is not the main character here. Willis only brings his cool presence and name into the project, and nothing else. His performance is quite bland. To begin with, there is nothing much that his character had to do, so he probably just spent only a day shooting all his parts.

Most of the story revolved around lesser-known actors in the cast. Thomas Jane is over-the-top as the loud, unkempt, tough cop Roy, who was against the "untouchable" operations of Vice. Bryan Greenberg brings in the sensitive dramatic aspects of the film in his role as Evan, who designed Kelly out of his recently-departed wife Michelle. 

The central character in all this is Kelly, brought to life by Ambyr Childers. Childers had this blond bimbo make-up which made her look like a young and generic-looking Denise Richards or Heather Graham. She just had that blank stare look on her face which does not show much emotion. Despite being in the lead role, I don't think Ms. Childers would get much positive career mileage from her performance here.

The basic sci-fi concepts behind this film's story was actually very good and interesting. On paper, the integration of real human DNA into androids had the potential for a sophisticated film which could match "Blade Runner." Unfortunately, in the hands of writers Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore and director Brian A Miller, "Vice" ended up an ordinary forgettable B-rate action flick. The first scenes alone screamed B-movie. 

The ending even seemed to promise a sequel. Unless they can come up with a much better way to showcase their slick sci-fi ideas, no thanks. 2/10.

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