REVIEW: I can’t say I expected all that much from Pierce Brosnan’s latest vehicle, I.T. The trailers seemed pretty goofy, positioning this as a kind of ‘Mr. Robot’ vs TAKEN, and I was especially wary of John Moore directing in the wake of MAX PAYNE and A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD. Imagine my surprise when I.T., rather than being the absolute disaster I was expecting, turned-out to be a fun thriller. While nothing exceptional, it’s an efficiently made little VOD actioner, with a good performance by Brosnan and surprisingly stylish direction by Moore, who probably hasn’t made a film this good since BEHIND ENEMY LINES.
Brosnan’s trying to play an everyman here, being an Irish tycoon (his accent is ramped-up to eleven) whose company is on the verge of bankruptcy, with only his idea of making an “Uber for Private Jets” capable of saving the day. On the day of his big presentation, his network goes on the fritz – enter James Frecheville’s young I.T. guy, who saves the day, earning Brosnan’s affection. To return the favor, Brosnan invites him over for a beer and introduces him to his down-to-earth wife (Anna Friel) and daughter (Stefanie Scott), which turns out to be a big mistake as Frecheville immediately thinks the two are BFF’s. When Brosnan doesn’t invite him to a dinner party, Frecheville, who worships his massive computer set-up in the nude, starts doing all sorts of crazy things, including leaking erotic videos of Brosnan’s daughter to Facebook, fudging a faux cancer diagnosis for his wife, and trying to kill Pierce by hacking into his car computer.
Of course, this winds up being a mistake because – duh – he’s screwing with James Bond. While playing a fella that’s supposed to be ordinary, Brosnan looks anything but, dominating Frecheville physically in the fights, wearing a cool leather jacket throughout, and having the huge cash resources to hire a rival hacker (Michael Nyqvist in a neat extended cameo) – to the point the villain almost seems over-matched, usually not a good thing in a thriller.
It can’t be denied that it’s still really fun to watch Brosnan do his thing, and being a real-life family man himself, Brosnan is convincing as a doting dad and husband. There’s always been something very personable about him, even as 007, and this is probably the best lead vehicle he’s had in a while – and definitely better than his recent NOVEMBER MAN. While I still think he could lead a major action film (he looks great) this is far superior to his recent DTV yarns, and Moore gives it a nice, polished look. The action scenes are low-key, but the movie still seems to have had a healthy budget, with the production design of Brosnan’s “smart house” being cool, and even some interesting bits of lunacy for Frechevile, like when he grooves along to a ‘Missing Persons’ song in his car.
I.T. looks good enough that a studio could have picked it up and put it out in theaters and it would have played fine. For DTV, it’s way above average and a decent programmer. It’s a good watch for Brosnan fans and a well-produced little package.