Anderson, Rob Carpenter, Robert Clarke, Dave Cote, Alastair Gamble
Directors: Ernie Barbarash
Writers: Michael Hurst
Producers: Brad Krevoy, Christine Haebler, Kirk Shaw, Lindsay
MacAdam, Margot Hand
Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD, Subtitled,
Region: 1 (US and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: November 3, 2009
Run Time: 94 minutes
Special Features Include
Connecting the Circuits
kicks off promisingly enough with the depiction of some serious futuristic
ad creep (the process whereby advertisements keep popping up in places they
have never been before - go read Naomi Klein's No Logo). Trojan
corporate logos painted on the Washington monument, MasterCard logos on
Mount Rushmore and (perhaps most galling) a Microsoft hologram looming above
Stonehenge . . .
Yup, Hardwired is a
movie that takes cheap shots at corporate greed brought to you by . . . a
huge corporation. Sony in this case. (Question: did corporations actually
pay product placement in these scenes depicting corporate malfeasance? Where
is Sony's logo?)
In the near future of
Hardwired, multinational corporations have bailed out the U.S.
government from bankruptcy and now run everything. Enter Luke Gibson (Cuba
Gooding Jr.), an ex-U.S. military type who is involved in a car accident one
night. He is brought to a local hospital but because he has no medical
insurance he is about to be dumped onto the streets to die when some
corporate baddies in long black coasts driving Hummers (all bad people drive
Hummers - fact) intervene.
They have him undergo an
experimental procedure whereby a chip that beams advertisements straight
into his brain until he buys that product in question is implanted in his
brain. And here you were thinking that Internet ads were bad!
Anyway, so far, so social
statement. But about ten minutes into the movie one realises that
Hardwired isn't really all that interested in its oh-so familiar
fictional universe. It instead wants to be an action movie and soon the
viewer finds himself trapped in the sort of straight-to-video cheapie that
they used to make in the mid-1990s in which terms like cyberspace (groan!)
gets bandied around a lot.
Some anti-corporate hackers
(we know they're anti-corporate types because . . . wait for it . . . one of
them has blue hair!) rescue Cuba Gooding Jr's character. They hack into his
chip and help him fight The Man. By killing a lot of corporate flunkies
including Val Kilmer sporting The Most Ridiculous Wig In A Movie . . . Ever™.
The ludicrous action finale involves Gooding Jr. facing off against the only
SWAT team in existence that is not equipped with night-vision goggles.
In fact, have ever you tried saying Cuba Gooding Jr. . . . action hero? Try
doing that while keeping a straight face. Hardwired is a new low for
the actor and one of these days the Academy is going to make him stop using
"Academy Award Winner" in front of his name for press releases. Come on,
that was way back in 1996 for Jerry Maguire! His co-stars Val Kilmer
and Michael Ironside may be used to this sort of made-for-DVD wasteland by
now, but Hardwired is an all-time low for the actor. Heck, even that
stupid movie with the sleigh dogs was a notch or two better than this!
THE DISC: All you get is a dull making-of featurette and some
trailers. The trailers were the best thing about the disc even though some
of them were for similar low budget crap such as Art of War III for
which they couldn't even get Wesley Snipes to come back again. (Oh wait;
he's in prison right now, isn't he?)
WORTH IT? Hardwired is cheesy, seriously cheesy. The sets look
sparse and cheap. The acting is really, really bad. (Maybe the Academy will
ask for their statuette back one of these days as well!) The action scenes
are lame and the special effects are sub par. The whole affair is seriously
let down by a lack of proper budget. Worst of all though is the screenplay,
which is content with regurgitating clichés from cyberpunk movies such as
Hackers, The Net and
Johnny Mnemonic from the 'Nineties. It's as if
the screenwriter had a cool idea for an opening scene and an interesting
future society, but had no idea whatsoever what to do with all these
elements and then rummaged through his video collection for some
Cyberpunk is, like, so last
century, dahling . . .
RECOMMENDATION: A sure sign of amateurism is when the director uses
incessant soundtrack music without practically any silences in-between.
Hardwired is one of those movies. On the plus side, the editing is never
of the epilepsy inducing sort seen in low-budget action movies - another
sign that the director is clueless. So one really ought to count one's