Ready to jump into the review of this movie again? If not, go read Part 1! Considering the crazy amount of explanation there is to do in this film, I prefer not to waste your time with a long intro. Let’s go!
|A long time ago, two astronauts tried the same trick|
to escape the listening ears of a machine. It failed there
|Ah yes, those cold Canadian winters...|
|Gosh, this thing belongs in a museum.|
At Homeland Security, Hassert states that bioweapon prototypes have been found in the terrorist cell in Damascus (the one Will and *sigh* Dennis took money from) corresponding with the chemical samples found in the Farmers’ household, and that there might well be a dormant terrorist cell in Philadelphia. RIPLEY, listening in, decides to raise the threat alerts to a maximum and cuts off all the power in Philadelphia, with a countdown towards “decontamination” starting at 12 hours. Holy shit, RIPLEY is planning to nuke the goddamn city!
|It's a gaming overload!!!|
|Well, we didn't get a Philadelphia-shattering kaboom, but we did get a|
Falken-shattering kaboom. ...Oh WOW, that was NASTY from me.
Brought to a room near the main control center of RIPLEY, Will and Annie (who’ve been given a laptop) devise a plan and contact Dennis to help them. They’ll be launching a DDoS attack on the machine’s servers, to slow RIPLEY down considerably. You know, this might be one of the first times in fiction that they portray such a technique. And at least, this time around, it’s used against a real threat. (Plus, for once, Dennis does something useful, it was about time…) And it works, as RIPLEY drops some of her control over Philadelphia as more and more people connect themselves to RIPLEY’s game. But she reboots again to negate most of the effects of the DDoS attack. However, Will accesses JOSHUA, which has been sent by Falken through e-mail. JOSHUA’s methods are still insufficient, though, so they convince the agents of Homeland Security to boost the prize rewards for RIPLEY’s game from 25,000$ to 100 million and advertise it everywhere to cause maximum traffic. After all, if there’s one thing we can count on in this world, it’s greedy people attempting to win it big with minimal effort, right?
|In the background: All the player accounts opening in the hopes of winning|
the promised 100 million $. In the foreground: An old Colm Feore who's
playing his role far too seriously for such a silly script.
|So RIPLEY absolutely had to wish to self-destruct?|
Sigh, those damned machines sometimes...
|You know you've fallen low if you're desperate for a|
machine to get a clue...
|Well... in this ending's defense, they're two computer|
nerds. They know they're compatible.
Bleh. Can’t say I outright hated it, but it’s still a rather mediocre film. Then again, what else was I to expect from a direct-to-DVD film?
I mean, I could say I’m happy that the film is set, for half of its duration, in Quebec, and that it features mostly Canadian actors. There’s also that, for all the flak I could give it, the movie at least treats hacking with more serious than most films, in that it uses real techniques that take time, and the machines (especially RIPLEY) show exactly what kind of dangers await those who put too much faith in a learning AI… not that we needed another reminder anyway. There is not a danger of a third World War (not until the final “duel” between JOSHUA and RIPLEY, anyway), but this whole mess ends up causing different kinds of problems to the American infrastructure.
However, despite whatever little praise I could give, the film gets taken down by a number of issues. The passable acting, the terrible CGI special effects and the nonsensical story. I made jokes about it in Part 1, there are so many coincidences in this plot that it’s pretty much impossible to believe. What’s worse, for this plot to work, it needs those coincidences. This story is just a mess, and it’s so blatantly obvious which way it’s going to go that you’ll see it coming from miles away. Stephen Falken returning? Seen it. JOSHUA appearing? Seen it. RIPLEY turning on its masters? Totally unexpected! Oh, who am I kidding… SEEN IT! Annie bringing up a variant of chess to help defeat RIPLEY? I mean, that scene at the chess club had to have a purpose, right? Need I go on?
For a movie that tries to depict neither side as a villain, the agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sure do a lot of dangerous things, like relying on RIPLEY (programming her with defects that make her a threat to anyone, including themselves), or chasing after Will and Annie and almost running them over. Their plan, as a whole, is idiotic. Using an online video game to detect potential instances of domestic terrorism? Gee, what can go wrong with that plan? The only way to play that stupid Dead Code game is to bet money, so for one, those potential “terrorists” who don’t have money to waste on online games won’t go detected. And what about totally innocent gamers who somehow reach that game, beat it (after multiple attempts) and get falsely accused of terrorism? No video game can be used to properly judge if someone is dangerous, nor can video games cause violence in real life. One’s attitude in a game can and will differ greatly from what they are in real life, especially when the potential for cruelty in-game is at a maximum.
|Never forget this.|
In the end, War Games: The Dead Code is a poor movie, a sequel no one asked to a movie that was never meant to be a franchise. Don’t bother with it. It’s not entirely terrible, but it’s definitely not worth actively seeking it out. Hell, I only paid my copy of it 3 dollars, and that’s enough. I don’t think I’m going to watch it again. The worst part is that MGM thought, for a moment, that there could be more direct-to-DVD films based around War Games, but thankfully this plan doesn’t seem to have carried through. Guess they didn’t make enough money.
You know what? Go play chess instead. Though, I’ve also seen my fair share of crazy chess players…
Next week? Oh, time to continue looking at the Kirby games in the Dream Collection, with Kirby’s Dream Land 2!