In the future, a resort (which resembles a metropolis to me) exists, built to accommodate any avarice or violent fantasy (sexual or otherwise) your heart desires, with cybernetic beings (using human tissue and organs, as well as, robotics) replacing humans so that clients could do whatever they want with or to them.
This is called Vice and Bruce Willis portrays its creator, Julian, with Johnathon Schaech as his right hand man. Thomas Jane also stars as a cop in the city where Vice is centered, totally against the place because of the variety of scumbags who go there to satiate their latent, sick fantasies.
One of the androids, Kelly (Ambyr Childers) becomes aware that something is wrong when memories (considered deleted “files” that aren’t altogether obliterated) surface, leading her to flee from Vice as Julian sends out his hired guns to find her before she does something that could undermine his success. Jane’s Roy sees her as an opportunity to bring down Vice. Childers is pretty, but she lacks the right kind of charisma for a film to be centered around her.
Willis still has the hit on occasion, but Vice is really a B-movie made for 15 million…and in times past he would have been in the Jane role. He is sleepwalking through this film. I felt while watching him, Bruce could care less about the film.
Fold the paycheck and pass it over across the table to Bruce. His association with the film may perhaps draw your attention when it pops up on a movie channel, or if you see a cheap DVD copy in the bargain bin.
Jane is fun as this rebellious cop that defies his superiors at the department (many of whom are practically in the pocket of Julian considering his business brings in revenue for the city), dedicated to seeing Vice fall due to the number of violent incidents that happen in the city because of how the fantasy of murder and sexual deviance makes its way out of the resort and into the streets (he finds a rapist/psycho in Vice beating a tied woman (AI robot) tied to a bed).
Kelly finds a scientist, Evan (Bryan Greenberg), who knows her in a different incarnation. Kelly and Evan will go on the run as he tries to help her start over with a new life.
Essentially, Willis and Jane are on opposing sides with Childers in the middle of their dispute. The film looks like it was shot digital and has this lighting scheme that is rather unflattering for what appeared to be, in story, an ambitious sci-fi film.
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But Westworld this is not. The cold-blooded execution of Kelly’s AI pal is startling, while she is strangled by the shooter (this creep who had been harassing them, just shoots her down then moves to Kelly while people in the general vicinity could care less!) on the hood of a car…it is indeed a good go-for-the-jugular scene to get the ball rolling. Jane’s trick with a toothpick due to his kicking the smokes is a nice touch that adds a bit of a quirk to the character.
The film looks like those 80s B-movies that tried to advance the story of a class A Hollywood Blockbuster (like Surrogates), without the financial standing (most of the money budgeted to Vice must have went to computer graphic designs in Willis’ command center) available to do so.
Of course, I enjoyed Vice a hell of a lot more than Jupiter Ascending so maybe too much money afforded to filmmakers isn’t always the problem. I think the Westworld formula has potential, but Vice just doesn’t seem to have the proper monetary backing or writing prowess to make it work to its fullest.
There’s black-suited, black helmet machine-gun mercenaries sent out to cause Jane and Childers a significant amount of trouble, and the requisite car chases, but they are rather PG-13 in execution. I would say watch Willis’ excellent underrated Surrogates instead. The grizzled Jane act I will admittedly flock to time and again…he’s an entertaining actor to me.
Source: Scarecrow-88 – imdb