Hardwired (2009)

Actors: Matt 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, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Subtitles: English
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 Making-of Featurette



Hardwired 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 inspiration.

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 blessings here.



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