Films featuring someone who has been “enhanced” are far from rare. They range from being almost completely replaced (Robocop), to just being reprogrammed (The Matrix), via chemical alteration both accidental (Lucy) and deliberate (The Bourne Legacy). And then again, there are whole swathes of films which have people getting a chip inserted into them; Kingman: The Secret Service, Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw, Captain Marvel, and many more. The “getting a chip stuck in you” thing at least has the advantage of being believable.
I’ve heard of people getting Oyster card and other RFID chips inserted so that they can open doors and pay for bus rides with a wave of their hands. Dark Asset is in the category of having programmable, performance enhancing chips inserted into a variety of people ranging from special forces to ordinary passers by and seeing what they can be made to do. It turns out that they can be made to do almost anything! That is, provided the chip that they get embedded in their heads is made and programmed by a sinister doctor and his team in a mysterious laboratory complex.
If I Give You My Lamborghini
Dark Asset starts in what looks like an interview room. There is a brooding, glowering, dangerous looking chap sat behind a table (Byron Mann). Facing him is a big scary man with a heavily armed escort and they are both standing by the ubiquitous, interview room, two way mirror. The brooding, glowering, dangerous looking chap is named John Doe to indicate that all his family and friends have been swept away to allow him to be used in any way that those dastardly people behind the mirror deem fit.
And that is when the big guns (with all due respect to Mr Mann) are rolled out. The doctor in charge is Doctor Cain and he is played by the still very awesome Robert Patrick! Over thirty years since he was the iconic T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day and he still can look down the camera lens and scare the life out of you. I say that as though he was an old man but he is actually eighteen months younger than me…but the realisation has just dawned on me that still makes him of pensionable age! He still has a screen presence which grips you and I was glad that he has more than a mere cameo which so often happens when a big name gets on board a small budget film.
Can I Tell You A Story
So does Dark Asset manage to get around the limits of its budget and still turn in an entertaining way to pass an hour and a half? Yes it does! There are a few action sequences and fight scenes which are well done but they are rationed out across the running order. So how does it fill in the rest of the time? Without digging too deeply into hyperbole, Dark Asset writers Michael Winnick and Terri Farley Teruel seem to have taken lessons from Christopher Nolan and Agatha Christie. By that I mean we have a story that is thriller following a non-linear timeline.
Michael Winnick also took on directorial duties which I think must help when the story is non-linear. What also helped was the performances by Byron Mann and Helena Mattsson; they virtually perform a two hander throughput the majority of the middle act. There are twists and turns which I obviously can’t say much about. I will just say that Dark Asset hits the sweet spot between drama, thriller, and action film and does justice to all three genres. Dark Asset is available on digital release from 18th September.
Movie Grade: A-
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Former teacher, lecturer, homelessness administrator, pharmacy dispenser now happily retired, happily married, and a very happy granddad. I live next to the Mersey but on the side Daniel Craig and Taron Egerton come from rather than the side the Beatles came from!