Joined at the chip
released 7 JaNUary 2018 | 15 | dVd Creator leigh Whannell Cast logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson, Melanie Vallejo
Saw writer Leigh Whannell’s SF/horror actioner didn’t exactly set the box office alight; saddling it with a title associated with the white-knuckle thrill of clicking “No thanks” on iTunes alerts surely can’t have helped. At the time of writing it ranks 120th of the movies released in the last year. But it deserves to do better in the long term.
It comes across like a slice of direct-to-video ’90s cyberpunk, except done really well. In the old days, Arnold Schwarzenegger would have been a shoe-in for the role of Grey (own-brand-Tom Hardy Logan Marshall-Green), a mechanic who’s left quadriplegic and widowed after a self-driving car crashes and mysterious goons pump bullets into both him and his wife. Implanted with STEM, a revolutionary AI chip, by a tech-billionaire client, the Six Million Dollar Man-ed grease monkey then goes gunning for revenge, with the AI’s voice in his head acting as a kind of superpowergranting wingman/accomplice.
The script is crammed with absurdities – the willingness of the cops to hand over records; the length of time it takes the investigating officer (Get Out’s Betty Gabriel) to tail Grey – even before we factor in its outlandish near-future tech: literal hand-guns, with crims blasting bullets from weapons implanted in their arms; deadly nanites you sneeze in a victim’s face. Expect regular guffaws. But the film’s pulpy, pacy, gory, grungy, darkly funny and utterly preposterous mash-up of Philip K Dick, David Cronenberg and Death Wish is so much damn fun that you may also feel the urge to punch the air. A nailed-on cert for future cult status.
Extras Not a sausage. Boo! Ian Berriman
Pulpy, pacy, gory, grungy and darkly funny
When Grey visits an apartment building to find a hacker, one buzzer’s labelled “J Wan”, after Saw director James Wan.
This game of five finger fillet was off to a bad start.