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Saturday, April 9, 2016

WEAPONiZED 2016 * 1/2 Stars

WEAPONiZEDDirector: Timothy Woodward Jr.
Year: 2016
Rated NR
Rating: * 1/2 Stars
Cast: Tom Sizemore, Mickey Rourke, Johnny Messner

2014 had The Prince, 2015 had Vice, and now 2016 has WEAPONiZED (my latest review). What's the world coming to? I mean are well known actors still defacing their own integrity? It certainly appears so.

With its all caps title and unvarying combat scenes, "WEAPON" is the ultimate B movie, the ultimate sci-fi cattle prod. Its stars consist of a veteran trouper trudging his way out of rehab (Tom Sizemore), a Hugh Jackman wannabe (Johnny Messner), and Mickey Rourke in his most weathered state. In terms of direction, well Timothy Woodward Jr. fills the screen with tons of flashy, unnecessary cinematic techniques. He uses lots of close-ups, lots of slow-mo sequences, some jittery flashbacks, and an overuse of contrast lighting. Added to that, Sid De La Cruz's musical score is forcefully repetitive and "WEAPON'S" cop movie cliches are more than evident. There's stuff like the pissed off captain, the detective who ignores advice to stay out of harm's way, the same detective who gets framed for murder, and the protagonist who vows to protect his only child. WEAPONiZED distributed by Cinedigm Entertainment Group, was only put into circulation by way of DVD. That by hook or by crook, should've have never really happened.

What we have here is a silly actioner, a techy misfire that's plotless in its concepts. Mounds of tired, computer speak and middling acting are in bunches. And oh yeah, there's an out of place, destructive robot to boot. I guess "WEAPON" is a body-swapping pic but basically, I threw my hands up in the air and at times said, "what is this thing really about?".

The story (or what I barely gathered from it) is a conundrum, something about a damaged father losing his son to unhinged, terrorist activity. Said father (Kyle Norris played by Tom Sizemore) is a military contractor and his chief motivation is to develop a "robotic virus" capable of inhabiting any human being at any time. He wants to avenge his son's death all the while putting the U.S. in danger with his untested, dangerous technology. Walker (played by Johnny Messner) is the scruffy homicide detective bent on stopping Norris from his intentions. Taylor Cole (as Angela) plays Walker's sultry wife, Michael Pare (as Captain Doug Rice) plays Walker's salty superior, and Mickey Rourke (as Clarence Peterson) plays a professor hesitant on helping Norris with the savage Trojan Horse. Rourke's character is confined to a wheelchair, sports some nappy facial hair, and carries his fugly-looking dog around with him. Just think Ernst Stavro Blofeld without the Mao suit.

Now the L.A. environment here is more congested than anything else. The special effects are shoddy even for a film about body swapping (this ain't no Matrix or Terminator 2 I tell you). And I think it's laughable how "WEAPON" takes place in the future but only a couple of years from now (like 2017 and 2018). If you're gonna shoot a movie in a futuristic setting, why not go with 2025 or 2026. The technological imagery in WEAPONiZED (just imagine the first thirty minutes of Minority Report) isn't gonna be on our radar two to three years from now. That much I can tell you.

Having its original title being called Swap, "WEAPON" has opening and closing credits that are banal, dialogue straight out of every sci-fi film involving law enforcement, and a tacked on, happy ending that is nothing but filler. Eyes in every audience will surely roll to the back of their heads. Oh wait, this thing is never gonna see the inside of a movie theater. Oops, I forgot.

In conclusion, "WEAPON" is a rare motion picture that has that seen-it-all-before feel and at the same time, doesn't make a lick of sense. If I had my druthers, I'd have all direct-to-video releases be saddled with a cease and desist letter preventing anyone from seeing them (that includes this one). Basically, if you've already viewed WEAPONiZED, it's your loss. You might as well be "exorcised" from its remnants permanently. Rating: 1 and a half stars.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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