Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sundance - Virtually Heroes - 2 1/2 stars

From A sarcastic, self-aware character in a video game, Sgt. Books, becomes frustrated by the screwy logic of his universe: the pointless battles, superpowerful bosses, and an endless supply of virtual Vietcong. He can’t get the girl who appears at the end of each level, and he can’t get through to his gung-ho partner. To find answers to the questions posed by his odd existence, Books abandons his mission and seeks help from a straight-talking monk, delightfully played by another onscreen hero who also once received words of wisdom from a man in a robe.

This is a very clever premise.  The character fights until he is killed, then the words "Press fire to continue" flash on the screen.  Then the game starts over.  As the player keeps starting the game over and over again, we see the same scene played out several times.  But the character in the game is aware he's in a game.  

This movie should have been a lot more fun than it is.  There are moments that made me laugh, like when we find out that a bridge is the boss of a level.  It makes sense if you're ever played a first person shooter arcade game.  Or the main villain who has a pet pig.  The Mark Hamill cameo is cute, but he's only in the movie for about 5 minutes.

This is definitely a B movie, and while the idea of seeing a Roger Corman movie at Sundance sounds intriguing, it's not much different from watching a Roger Corman movie on cable.  

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