2 January 2010 | Cardcaptor_Jim
Kiss Your Overblown Hollywood Expectations Goodbye!
The newest video game sensation is "Arcade", a virtual reality game that one must win....or lose your mind and forever be part of the game. Alex (Megan Ward) and her friends try the game, but Alex's boyfriend loses and disappears. One of Alex's friends tries a home version of the game and disappears before her eyes. Determined to get their friends back, Alex and her friend Nick (Peter Billingsley) take on the mind-reading Arcade!
While the plot may be familiar to anyone who's seen TRON, this is a decent low-budget sci-fi film. Many of the actors are now familiar faces: Seth Green, A.J. Langer and John DeLancie among them. Although director Albert Pyun usually directs low-budget boredom (DOLLMAN, CYBORG, etc.), this movie actually has a good story and some pretty good actors. The pace is somewhat slow, and the CGI F/X won't impress today's kids accustomed to video game-like movies with endless amounts of special effects, explosions and loud music, but fans of movies that actually have a plot and characterization will find it entertaining. I'd place this with Pyun's better movies such as RADIOACTIVE DREAMS and THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER.
Charles Band, the film's producer and CEO of Full Moon Pictures, held this movie's release back for a year in order to redo the CGI F/X. For those curious to what they originally looked like, watch the 10 minute "Videozone" featurette included on the DVD. I think it was a wise move, and the movie benefits greatly because of it. The only complaint I really have is that the DVD didn't include the full "Videozone" segment, which included this film's trailer. (This DVD was part of a import boxed set of region-free DVDs.)