April 22, 2022

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Code 8 Movie Review: A Low-Ambitious Effort, Low-Risk, Nothing Special

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Code 8 is a movie just out in the cinema and it isn’t exactly setting the world ablaze. It wasn’t made to set the world ablaze, in fact just the fact that it was made was enough. Now, this is how Code 8 started. In 2016, actor and producer Robbie Amell and his cousins, Stephen Amell made a short movie. The movie made was well-received by the few that were opportune to see it so the makers of the movie decided they needed more money to make a feature-length movie and started a fundraiser and were able to raise two million dollars within a year. They got more than this, they got investors and the movie was made with 29.2 million dollars.

Code 8: The concept

The film takes place in called Lincoln City. There, a small percentage of the people have electric supernatural powers. They can open a wall with their fingers, open a gate, disable security systems, disarm people, hurt people, plus some even have the power to heal. But there is a ban on the use of this power by the authorities who have drones and no-nonsense commando-like police keeping the eye on the electric carriers and making sure they don’t use these powers and punish them when they do.

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One of the electric-power holder Connor Reed played by Robbie Amell is facing troubles at home. He can’t pay his bills, his mother (Carrie Matchett) has cancer and needs treatment which he can’t afford. To make matters worse, both he and his mother are thrown out of work. There is only one way for Reed (or so it seems) crime using his special powers. He starts working for the drug lord and his sidekick Marcus (Greg Bryk) and Cumbo (Peter Outerbridge).

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The money starts coming in but his mother won’t touch them because she knows he is crooked and will rather die than be saved with dirty money. Meanwhile, the police led by Agent Park (Sung Kang) is on his trail. They bring him in for questioning where Reed is largely quiet and evasive, yet the police let him leave despite been sure he is part of the robbers. In Agent Park’s words, “What you know is not the same with what you can prove” or something to that effect.

(Aside: You should know Sung Kang as one of the prosecutors in Starz Powers who framed Ghost for murder and was willing to do anything to make the rap stick. Ghost somehow wriggled out but Kang and co won’t stop pursuing him until Kang reached his breaking point and just pack his things and asked Ghost and the US Attorney Office in Eastern District of New York to go screw themselves or one another. Watching Kang again, a part of me expected Kang to be crooked or inefficient, he turns out worse – he has no clue despite having all clues. Well, I can’t go into that now – this is an aside by the way. This is the end.)

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But another robbery that caused the death of four police officers changes anything. On gunpoint, Reed tells Agent Park where he can find the drug lord and his cohorts. The police storm the place and a shoot-out ensues. Meanwhile, there is a healer Nia played by Kyla Kane who is being held hostage by the gang of robbers and drug dealers because her parent owe the mob and she won’t leave until he pays up. Reed has befriended her while he is with the mob. After the mobsters are either killed or arrested and Park is honored by the city, Reed takes Nia to heal his mother and they live happy thereafter.

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What else about the movie?

Well, that is the movie for you. Considering its small budget, this movie directed by Jeff Chan was a good way to spend your 90 minutes. Can there be a better way to spend your 90 minutes? Yes. In the beginning, I was enthused by the bond between mother and son and I was looking forward to how the movie would build on it into creating a strong and emotive show. It turns out that the bond is a temporary thing, something the writers put in there as an excuse to get the movie going to the direction of the plot in their mind – the robberies and the display of electric superpowers. It would have made for a stronger show if the robberies and displays of power were used to complement the bond between mother and son and not to set it aside and swallow it.

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The fight scenes and the electric power antics weren’t spectacular in any way. There were okayish. Maybe the dialogue would have offered something to hold on to. It didn’t. I don’t know what else I could say about this movie. Well, I could talk about the bravery and the business acumen that got the movie made by the Amell cousins. This is not a bad start; if anything it is a pointer of the great things the Amell boys can do in the movie industry in Canada and also in Hollywood.

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Should you watch “Code 8”? Read the plot-concept I wrote about. If you find it intriguing enough, why not, go on and see the movie. I will not discourage you. If anything, I will encourage you to watch it. It will go a long way to help the cause of the Amell cousins. You may end up finding the film more interesting than I did. I watched the movie, all 90-minutes of it, I am a reviewer; and as the good reviewer I am, I went in first to take the bullet for you. If you want to go see for yourself, do so, your call.

Image source: Nerd Reactor


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