Virtuosity (1995)

More virtual-reality stuff from director Brett Leonard (HIDEAWAY, THE   
LAWNMOWER MAN).  The year is 1999 and convicts are used as test subjects   
against the VR criminal Sid 6.7 (Russell Crowe).  Sid-- a composite of   
183 of the worst serial killers of all time-- was created for law   
enforcement purposes, but he plays too rough.  And, before the computer-  
ized killer can be shut down, he "escapes" into reality via the body of  
a nano-machine android.  The only person who can track him is an ex-cop   
convict (Denzel Washington, with dreadlocks and a mechanical arm!).  
There's lots to look at in Leonard's hyperviolent vision of a vaguely   
Fascist future.  The FX and production design are the best, always   
outshining the human actors.  The story also chugs along merrily until   
the overwrought climax.  Even by then, though, there's not much suspense   
that's going on-- the director isn't very good at squeezing a scene for   
maximum impact.  (Nor is the satire all that strong.  Watch for a great   
Bee Gees joke, though.)  
The cast is okay.  Russell Crowe breezes through his part with minimal   
scenery-chewing, while Denzel Washington is a strong, bland presence.    
(He was *much* more fun in the underrated 1991 action-thriller RICOCHET,   
Joel Silver producer.)  Other prominent players include Kelly Lynch,   
Louise Fletcher (!), and William Forsythe.  The latter sports a shaggy   
mustache and slicked hair that makes him a dead ringer for Nick Nolte.    
Or is it Pat Hingle??    
CAMEO WATCH:  Yup, that's Traci Lords as a nightclub dancer.  
Grade: C  

Copyright 1995 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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