Friday, January 29, 2021

Wetware Review: A Neon Setting and Interesting Ideas

Release date: December 10, 2020
Running time: 83 minutes
Starring: Jerry O'Connell, Cameron Scoggins, Bret Lada, Morgan Wolk
Writers: Joan McCall, David Sheldon 

Wetware is set in a near future where there are tough and tedious jobs no one wants to do, and people down on their luck who volunteer for genetic modifications to make them right for this work.  With business booming, programmers at Galapagos Wetware up the stakes by producing high-end prototypes, Jack (Bret Lada) and Kay (Morgan Wolk), for more sensitive jobs like space travel, deep cover espionage, or boots on the ground for climate or resource conflicts.  Galapagos genetic programmer Hal Briggs (Cameron Scoggins) improvises in his gene splicing for Jack and.  Then word gets out that Jack and Kay have escaped, before Briggs has completed his work. As Briggs scrambles to track his fugitive prototypes, he makes a provocative discovery that changes everything.

Wetware is an interesting idea that makes the most of its limited budget.  I liked the premise of the film, that there are those who are so down on their luck or sad at life that they would want to essentially become robots to better their situation or forget about their current troubles.  You can tell the film is low budget and indie but they definitely do a good job creating this future city.  Well thought out shots and nice neon style make this film feel like a near future experience.  And the story itself has some interesting beats, looking into what it means to be human and where love and desire come from.  And they also were able to gather a great cast given the limited budget.  I was happy to see Jerry O'Connell back on the big screen, but the biggest surprise was Morgan Wolk.  Her cyborg portrayal was intriguing to watch and she definitely towed the line between person and machine.  

That being said, despite the good setting there are some hit or miss effects and less than stellar CG.  The film does the setting very well but some of the effects do feel like they could have either been spruced up or dropped.  And the story itself is interesting but also feels overly dramatic.  The motivations of Hal are not explored as much as I would have hoped, and the characters have a few too many coincidental encounters for my liking.  I really loved the subject matter and the overall setting, but the film just didn't have enough nuance to really explore these topics.  That being said, I did like a lot of the characters and the actors did a good job creating this world.  And, as I mentioned, the film did a good job with its limited budget, creating a cyberpunk style world that is visually appealing. 

Wetware explores what makes us human with a well done setting and interesting characters in this near future neon world. 

Rent it.

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Wetware is available digitally and on demand December 10, 2020.

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