In the wake of another terrorist attack on American soil that devastates the Pentagon, a private military contractor named Kyle Norris, develops a neurological weapon that will redefine how war is waged. This program permits American soldiers to swap consciousness with their terrorist counterparts, to cause irrefutable damage without the loss of American life. However, the program soon turns sour as it begins to be used in the United States, thousands of miles away from war zones. Detective Walker is police officer who is dragged into this political drama and is tasked with both shutting down the program and protecting his family
For a movie that is coming from an independent studio, Weaponized is impressive to the point that it is hard to distinguish it as not being from a major distributor. From the immaculate editing, to the expertly shot cinematography, and beautifully crisp color, it’s pretty awe-inspiring to know this comes from a B-movie studio.
Starting out with another horrifying terrorist attack on the United States, akin to 9/11, but taking place in the modern day, the CEO of a Private Military Company, Kyle Norris (played by Tom Sizemore), loses his son in the tragedy and then creates the ultimate weapon of war. Moving beyond drones and unmanned vehicles, Norris creates a method to switch consciousness between soldiers and terrorists, but his grief leads to corruption and use of the weapon on American citizens.
Detective Walker (played by Johnny Messner) gets roped into all this by receiving encrypted information revealing that innocent people are being murdered to protect the military and Norris. However, his wife and daughter are soon caught in the crossfire as Walker attempts to solve the mystery behind sudden mass shootings.
The cognitive weapon is extremely Orwellian, because it strips the victim of their personal choice for the greater good of the United States. And, although this might possibly save American lives, it dehumanizes the enemy. However, for the endless discussions this concept creates, it falls short in its greatness in favor of cheesy action scenes and other hallmarks of movies of this ilk. Predictable fight scenes, blatant one-liners, and bad guy monologues, are all staples typical of low budget action movies.
I wanted to like Weaponized more, but there are lengthy scenes of chatter that really don’t matter to the story at large. In fact, they just make the movie drag on for extended periods of time. Also, the appearance of robot soldiers doesn’t make any sense within the context of the picture, so why even add them?
The film didn’t need robot soldiers because the government conspiracy and X-Files feel was great in and of itself. Robotic soldiers are just an example of a filler that movies like this use for screen time, instead of developing the plot or characters. In some truly terrible flicks, corny action scenes can provide much-needed relief from a rough movie-watching experience, but in Weaponized it comes across almost ridiculous.
This picture could have taken a 1984-style spin, forcing the viewer to question the true cost of war and the crossing of ethical and moral lines for the sake of safety. But, unfortunately, it simply chose not to.
This movie set such a good precedent for potentially being about the social contract itself, and how we, as Americans, are so willing to trade what is morally right for the assurance of being secure; drones, atomic bombs, etc. But it didn’t really develop these initial points well enough to make any significant impact.
Overall, Weaponized is a pretty good watch for lovers of low-budget action movies, but it really isn’t for the casual viewer. If this sounds like something you want to check out, you can pick it up on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD March 1.
WICKED RATING: [usr 4]
Director(s): Timothy Woodward Jr.
Writer(s): Sean Ryan
Stars: Tom Sizemore, Johnny Messner, Mickey Rourke
Studio/ Production Co:Status Media and Entertainment
Length: 91 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller