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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Protracted Distraction
by Richard Jack Smith

Code 8 began life as a short film with the participation of cousins Robbie and Stephen Amell. The latter will be known to television audiences for his role as Oliver Queen in Arrow. Mostly crowdfunded, Code 8 offers a low-tech alternative to those CGI saturated movies. The short film, which can be seen on YouTube, was pretty good. The only effects in evidence were drones and some cyber crime fighters with fancy dancy vision. 

Regarding plot and character, the film reveals that human beings have evolved along parallel lines. The average sort go about their jobs, get paid and have kids. As for the others, they have superpowers -- the ability to make objects float, control electricity and melt metals etc. The latter have become outlawed, unable to use their abilities even on construction jobs. Hence the reason for those drones. Desperate and underpaid, Connor Reed (Robbie Amell) turns to crime, only he gets more than he bargained for. 

Admittedly, Code 8 carries a subplot too many, namely in the form of Nia (Kyla Kane). I won't reveal the particulars of her gift except to say an uninspired actress was cast in the role. She makes the whole thing feel protracted and distracted.

Otherwise, the film plays relatively well during the first hour, ultimately succumbing to sentimentality and a dodgy denouement. It's not all funereal because Stephen Amell brings his A game to the part of Garrett. He's charismatic where his cousin Robbie comes across as average and unspectacular. 

Meanwhile, the special effects rarely stretch the budget, Jeff Chan's direction seems stiff and workmanlike, while Chris Pare's screenplay barely manages a memorable quote. Actually, I forgot the dialogue as soon as the film was over.

(Released by Vertical Entertainment. Not rated by MPAA.)


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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