Are you ready for some good old fashioned nineties fun? Virtuosity is quite a strange film, starring young Denzel and young Russel with a bonus of a very young Kaley Cuoco (Penny from Big Bang Theory). It didn’t make much money and was generally received with negative reviews. I have to agree with most of those complaints, as Virtuosity has a very loose understanding of reality. Too often it chose easy shortcuts to get the story going, instead of developing it properly.
Most of the complaints are stemming from only one character: Lindenmeyer. He’s a programmer who is responsible for the entire virtual reality system. Clichéd as they come, after all these years, it’s starting to look more entertaining as a part of the campy and trashy nineties. However it’s still nowhere near close to the Demolition Man or Judge Dredd. I just wonder how many wives and daughters lost their lives during the nineties… It also paved the way for one of the most influential movies of the nineties, Matrix.
Somewhere in the near future (I guess that’s now), programmers have designed a huge Virtual Reality system. The idea is that by practicing in it, police officers could gain the experience and expertise necessary to catch modern criminals. Of course, the testing of the system is not complete, so they decide to use prisoners to see if it all works. Parker Barnes, an ex-cop, now a prisoner is one of the first to test its skills in VR against SID. An acronym for Sadistic, Intelligent, and Dangerous, a mish-mash of the greatest killers that have ever existed. One can only wonder what would happen if a killer like this could somehow transfer to the real world…
Directed by Brett Leonard, who got the job thanks to the huge success of a cult classic The Lawnmower Man , Virtuosity had a chance to do exactly the same. If they only concentrated more on the technicalities and the visions of the future that they had instead of the classic action movie scenes, this would be a movie to be remembered. I kept wanting to bring up the fact that in the simulation police wear all leather suits, looking like post-apocalyptic sadomasochistic postmen, but I guess now’s a good time as any. No life ’till leather!
One thing is for sure, it had great ideas, especially about the nanobots. And those ideas were accompanied by some really good special effects that even now after all these years look good. An additional feature is that GTA look, feel, and vibe, especially in the opening scenes. So if you like games like GTA, Saints Row, or Sleeping Dogs, there’s an extra reason to check it out.
Director: Brett Leonard
Writer: Eric Bernt
Cast: Denzel Washington, Kelly Lynch, Russell Crowe, William Forsythe, William Fichtner, Kaley Cuoco
Fun Facts: According to Kelly Lynch, there was a planned scene with her and Denzel kissing. However, Denzel wanted the scene dropped because he felt an interracial love scene would hurt the film box-office chances