Code 8 is an Indiegogo funded passion project from actors Robbie and Stephen Amell that raised over $3,000,000 (Canadian) crushing the campaign’s $200,000 goal – that’s impressive. I learned about the crowdfunding after watching the movie, which made my appreciation for the film grow. But, I still think Code 8 is both a tedious action/thriller and a mishmash of too many observational social commentaries.
My problem with Code 8 began early on with a montage establishing the film’s concept and the sci-fi environments movie goers are about to be immersed in. The busy montage takes us through the history of a “power-enabled” society, where viewers are given information about a slim community of superpowered individuals who were helpful in blue-collar industries only to be phased out when machines were proven to be more effective. With unemployment increasing and the “power-enabled” being linked to a high-demand street drug named “Psyke”, this minority of people try to survive on the fringe of their livelihoods.
If you lose track during this montage, you might feel lost during Code 8. A lot of background is packed into a short amount of time. However, director Jeff Chan and screenwriter Chris Paré use every opportunity they can to draw parallels to real-life issues; making Code 8 feel very current despite its convoluted dystopia. But while the filmmakers are efficient at connecting the dots for viewers, Code 8’s social commentary is often heavy-handed and weighed down by too many character threads.
The filmmakers eventually take a break from making social statements and lean on the broader qualities of Code 8’s genre, which involve several heists with spiffy special effects and well-choreographed fights. Unfortunately, the filmmakers get too comfortable making a flashy action film. Misinterpreting mundane qualities for a different change in pace, Code 8 loses its unique identity that attracted audiences in the first place.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie