THE CALL UP

War Game

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

re­leased 23 May 2016 | TBC | DVD

Di­rec­tor Charles Barker Cast Max Dea­con, Morfydd Clark, Ali Cook, Tom Bene­dict- Knight

If you know your Star Trek: The Next Gen­er­a­tion, then all we need to say is this is a “holodeck goes wrong” story dragged out to mo­not­o­nous length. If you don’t know Next Gen, you’ll still prob­a­bly recog­nise this as an ex­tremely schematic “VR com­puter game starts killing its play­ers” story with­out any in­ter­est­ing twists.

Eight gamers – six men, two women – are in­vited to test a cut­ting- edge com­bat game, don­ning body ar­mour and VR hel­mets and shoot­ing their way down the floors of a high- rise build­ing. Nat­u­rally they find the dig­i­tal ter­ror­ists they’re fight­ing are jolly re­al­is­tic. Equally nat­u­rally, they learn the game is harsh on losers and that there are no save or quit but­tons.

It’s the SF equiv­a­lent of a pre- Scream slasher film, where the for­mula is pretty much the whole of the film. The char­ac­ters have no in­ter­est­ing dy­nam­ics, and the func­tional tower- block set­ting re­minds you of umpteen more vi­tal ac­tion films. Gamers will find the tone pa­tro­n­is­ing ( play­ers have no friends; com­bat games bring out our worst im­pulses). It’s a film which cries out for the sar­donic bite of Black Mir­ror – surely Char­lie Brooker could have fun with this sce­nario – or the in­ven­tion of Wreck- It Ralph.

Ex­tras None. An­drew Os­mond

Much of the film was shot on a sin­gle floor of a Birm­ing­ham tower block, which was re- dressed mul­ti­ple times.

Su­san looked at her four speed- dates and sighed sadly.

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