WarGames - The Dead Code
In recent years, new
versions of long dormant classic film franchises have been met with relative
popularity. It started in the late 90s with the popular trio of
Star Wars prequels, and has been followed by the more muted response to
the the likes of Rocky Balboa, Live Free or Die Hard, Rambo and
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal
Now, it seems we are
getting way past-due sequels to a bunch of twenty-year-old minor hits which we didn't
actually realize we were missing. (Or is it remakes? It's such a
fine line sometimes...). Most of these have gone straight to video,
titles like Bachelor Party 2 - The Last Temptation, Dirty Dancing
Havana Nights (which actually did have a very short theatrical run), Lost Boys
The Tribe and Cutting Edge - Chasing the Dream.
In fact, Heroes star
Matt Lanter may be the figurehead of this groundswell, not only starring in
the last Cutting Edge film but also the latest example, WarGames - The
Most of these updates are
sequels in name and basic storyline only - they are new variations of the
old story with new characters and new locations. Unlike most of those other
mentioned straight-to-video films, WarGames - The Dead Code is at
least not starting from ground zero. There is one recurring character
from the original movie (though he is played by a different actor this time
around) - two if you count a computer as a character.
was a 1983 thriller with Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy as a
proto-hacker and his girlfriend. When he is trying to hack into the
new game system he mistakenly made it into the NORAD computer - thinking
that he is playing a game while he is actually possibly causing cataclysmic
changes in world peace.The original
Of course, you have to keep
in mind, when the original WarGames was a hit, Atari, MS-DOS and
dial-up modems were considered the state of the art in computing.
In the twenty-five years
since WarGames, the cold war has ended as well, leaving the makers
of The Dead Code searching for a new global threat.
In their favor, the makers
of WarGames - The Dead Code are the first of this group who
actually significantly upped the ante on the story of original film.
WarGames was an intriguing thriller, but it was mostly sort of
insulated - it may have had large implications but essentially it was a
pretty small story. I'm not just saying taking the old story and
making it bigger, which most of the other sequel/remakes consider good enough.
Code does try to legitimately update much of the storyline -
bringing new world concerns and a whole new series of potential enemies
to the table. There is also a bit of rather pointed commentary on the
current state of Homeland Security.
Not all of the action
works. There is a scene where two teenagers are able to outrun a car
for several blocks. They also never quite explain how a US computer -
even a government supercomputer - can have complete and unfettered access to
all of the Canadian security cameras in Montreal.
Still, WarGames - The
Dead Code captures modern paranoia and dread. In fact, in some ways
the film is more reminiscent of Live Free or Die Hard than the
original WarGames - despite the fact that the new film does
faithfully follow the basic skeleton of the story from the original.
They just amped it up significantly.
Of course the climax of
WarGames - The Dead Code has the same basic problem that the original
film had - we are watching a potentially cataclysmic event which is only
theoretically happening within a computer. It is a phantom threat.
Chances are - unless the makers of the movie are planning on really
annihilating Philadelphia - nothing of great consequence will actually
happen to anyone who is not inside this war room.
However, as these kind of
straight-to-video sequels go, WarGames - The Dead Code is a hell of a
lot better than most.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2008 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: July 13, 2008.