19 April 2006 | bob the moo
Not as interesting as it should have been but works well enough to be a distracting tvm
James Gabriel is a construction worker desperately trying to earn sufficient money to pay the hospital bills of his critically ill son Bobby. When a major safety incident sees him confront his supervisor, he is fired and left with no job. Unfortunately, the same day, he learns that his son's condition has worsened and, unless he gets a very expensive vaccination, he will die within 12 hours, a day at absolute most. With no other option James signs an agreement with company Lifecorps to sell his body for harvesting for organ transplants a year from now in exchange for $300,000. However when his son dies due to Lifecorps refusal to give him the vaccine ahead of payment, James returns the money and tells them where to put their contract. The Corporation takes this as a verbal refusal of contract and gets a court order to complete early setting Burke and his men on him to bring him in.
Despite the mostly low-rent cast (no offence Roberts, Elwes, Wynter and Vendora but you're hardly A-list are you?), TVM status, afternoon scheduling and the fact that channel 5 was showing it, I decided to give this a go anyway. The plot offers a simple set-up to basically create a Running Man situation where a Corporation chases down its "property". The film offers plenty of potential for commentary on the future of Corporations, the commercialisation of health care and the role of individuals within this corporate world and I was hoping for the film to bring that out. It seems to lack the intelligence to go much beyond the surface but the concept and world set-up are interesting enough. The plot is reasonable simply but perhaps has too many leaps of logic and action-movie style silliness to allow me to take it too seriously. It moves with a nice slick pace though and, although I knew where it was going, I still quite enjoyed it as it moved along. Towards the end it starts to get sillier and more unlikely even within its own frame but again it worked at the level I was watching it at (even if it could have been better).
The cast are so-so for the most part but do OK considering the material and budget. For all his faults, Roberts always gives the impression that he is trying hard, even if he knows the film is weak. He makes a solid leading man here and is good value for this film. Elwes is hardly inspiring but he produces a serviceable villain. Sarandon and Vendora are not used as well as I would have liked, which was a shame as both seemed up for it. Wynter (who I only know from 24) was good enough but severely hampered by the fact that her character made very little sense she quickly resorts to running, shooting and shouting in favour of anything more interesting to do.
Overall a so-so sci-fi that I enjoyed even though it gradually loses touch with the interesting material and just becomes a silly action movie towards the end. The cast help cover up the lack of budget but it never really gets above the level of TVM, although it works on that level.