We follow Grey Trace (Logan Marshall-Green), who, despite, living in a highly futuristic & automated world, likes to do the work himself. He's a mechanic. He still get's his hands dirty fixing up his beat up old car while others such as his wife (Melanie Vallejo) would rather head to work in a fancy, self driving car. However, after a brutal mugging leaves his innocent wife murdered and his body completely paralyzed, Grey must (literally) make friends with technology; Grey is offered an experimental implant that will use artificial intelligence to move his body, with Grey in full control. The A.I. dubbed "Stem" also acts as a voice in Grey's head, and once this voice informs Grey of potential suspects of his wife's murderers, Stem convinces Grey to give it full control over his body to become a bad-ass, vigilante hell bent on brutal, bloody revenge.
The core plot, however, is what gets pushed aside until the end of the first act. A lot of the building blocks of later revelations and some crucial information is blown past. The biggest issue I have with the film is that, unless I missed the line of dialogue explaining it, I have no idea how Grey is associated with the mastermind behind "Stem" in the first place. The leads sort of just show up at the man's house, we get some exposition, and then we move on. This left me a bit confused when this man (seemingly randomly) shows up to Grey's hospital and offers the procedure in the first place. Sure, we get more contexts in the film's climax, but in the moment, it really felt like lazy writing.
The action in this film is so inventive, using a camera trick that locks onto and tracks specific movements within the frame. The first time it happened I was so utterly delighted. It's the type of experimental filmmaking the action genre needs. It gives every action scene this kinetic pace, so when the gory finishing blows arrive (and BOY do they) they act almost as a release of tension we the audience experiences watching the carnage ensue. The film also does not over do it, once the second act hits, it is paced so well that the four or five action set pieces we see are more memorable. Leigh Whannell got his start with inventive horror, and while I don't think this will jolt the action genre the way Saw did the horror genre, Whannell proves he is not a one trick pony.
I never have been huge on Mr. Logan Marshall-Green, even in Spider-Man Homecoming I found him stale and dry, but here, he hits his stride. He has fun with the role, but still knows when to take it seriously. He gives a great physical and emotional performance. A highlight is any time Stem takes over, because while Stem is using Grey's body to fight, Grey is reacting in amazement, shock and horror, It's great stuff. Unfortunately, a lot of the side cast has neither anything exciting to do or say, and actors doing a fine job don't particularly stand out. Especially evident in the lackluster villain character Fisk. played by Benedict Hardie.
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