Synopsis: A desperate young man possessing special powers clashes with a militarized police force after committing a petty crime.
Review: Before I discuss the film itself, I’d like to thank the 27,000 Indiegogo backers who contributed $2.4 million to transition Code 8 from short film to feature-length. Yes, you read that right. Clearly, the crowdfunding model is the future of the entertainment industry. That said, a million dollars or even several million dollars won’t buy everything audiences want when even productions with massive corporate budgets have to cut corners these days. The fact is that entertainment is becoming prohibitively expensive all around, and audiences have to meet creatives halfway by learning to accept lower budget productions as the norm, or the bottom is going to fall out. Code 8 represents the middle ground between audience expectations and production realities, giving us all a way forward.
Code 8 stars Stephen Amell and Robbie Amell in a super-powered heist story with real stakes and emotional depth. Writers Chris Pare and Jeff Chan combine Arrow’s grittiness with characters reminiscent of The Flash’s Rogues. Stephen Amell plays Garrett, the telekinetic leader of the film’s criminal crew. Robbie Amell plays Connor Reed, the newbie “Electric.” with a mountain of medical bills to pay. Their characters are similar enough to their DC roles to attract those fans while being different enough not to be stale. It’s a fine line to walk, and they each walk it with finesse.
The Amells are ably supported with performances by Kari Matchett, Greg Bryk, and Sung Kang. They and the rest of the excellent cast provide focal points within the really solid world-building. That world-building aids thematic exploration and character growth. Nothing in the story is random or gratuitous.
That said, the film feels open-ended for a very good reason. The production team is expanding the story on short-form digital platform Quibi. Both Connor and Garrett have room to grow. Hopefully, the shorter installments will force the writers to truly focus the story, keeping things as cohesive and coherent as they do in the film.
Code 8 is available on V.O.D. now.
Director: Jeff Chan
Writers: Chris Pare, Jeff Chan
Cast: Stephen Amell, Greg Bryk, Robbie Amell, Peter Outerbridge, Kari Matchett, Laysla De Oliveira, Sung Kang, Kyla Kane |