Hey buddy! How are the wife and kid? Still dead, huh? – SID 6.7
In the 90’s after TERMINATOR II owned all, a couple of parallel projects arose in terms of basic premise (hero vs. unstoppable killer). We had UNIVERSAL SOLDIER, SOLO, EVE OF DESTRUCTION and the less obvious VIRTUOSITY. I actually caught the latter on the big screen upon its initial release and had a freaking blast. The critics killed it at the time (of course… its fun), I didn’t get the bad joo-joo then, I still don’t get it now. So I tapped it again recently and you know what… it still holds up.
Let me put it this way; if you’re looking for a layered, depth filled and quasi existential take on an android walking among us – seek out Blade Runner; because VIRTUOSITY is not about that. Sure the flick did display some heart via the lead’s bleak past and the guilt he carried with him; but it didn’t really go further than that. This bad boy tossed the “to be or not to be” shit out of the window and embraced; “to kill, to shoot, to maim and to destroy” instead. Music to my motherf*cking ears. The best way to describe VIRTUOSITY is to compare it to a heavy metal song. Its fast, its loud, its aggressive and its brash. Filled with well shot action scenes, moments of unrepentant violence, enthralling shootouts, fist fights and chase sequences; nobody can accuse this mofo of being boring.
The novel costume and production designs also kicked in hard to make this eye popper stand out. Lots of work went into the cosmetics of the film and I for (or two, all depending if I took my medication or not) mucho dug it. Another plus here was the stronger than the norm (for this kind of flick) actors on hand. I mean lets face it, at the end of the neck snap, this is a B-Movie that was given a budget for some reason. So having Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in the mix on top of that elevated the whole to a higher plane of class. The big D brought heart and credibility to his role while the Aussie bruiser went buck wild with his part, much to my enjoyment. Add to all that some knee hopping tunes, Tracy Lord showing up long enough to evoke boners, groovy special effects (loved how SID rebuilt himself), circumstantial humor that worked me good and an uber polished visual look courtesy of Mr. Brett Leonard and you get easy kicks for the whole Manson Family.
With that vomited on the page; it has to be said, this isn’t the smartest of films. I mean plot holes/convenient plot turns were in the house and explanations as to the neato sci-fi concepts put out (loved the 200 killers in one shtick) were pretty much non existent. We’re asked to accept the rules of the film with nothing concrete to back them up. I can’t speak for yall, but I actually managed to do that effortlessly. The exploitation elements gunned my way made me say “fuck substance – I just wanna be entertained”. My last beef with the flick was it missing an ideal opportunity for major carnage - yes the club scene. I always felt that bit didn’t go as far as it should’ve. But hey, what do I know?
So you going to enter this reality or what?