Virtuosity (1995)

Here’s a film that I only vaguely recall the existence of. It’s about a cop convicted of murder who is brought out to track down the Ultimate Killer®. Sound familiar?
Not so original, but with Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington and William Forsythe, as well as some nice CGI, it works quite well.
Now, what’s that you say? Me? Applauding CGI? Well, I’ve always loved CGI on computers–all those old VHS tapes of computer CGI demos, Tron, anything where it’s logical and appropriate. Here it was just that. Russell Crowe plays the aforementioned Ultimate Killer®–Sid 6.7. Sid is a computer program, and so using CGI to display virtual reality, or to show how nanites assemble a character who is digital–hey, it looks neat and works. He’s digital so it’s ok if he looks, well, digital.

Basically Sid is a combination of every one of the worst serial killers in history, as well as Hitler (who’s, um, not really a serial killer, but the general fit works I guess)–Gacy, Manson, Starkweather, etc etc. He’s also made of silicon assembeled by nanites (if you don’t know what nanites are…you’re welcome to Google it) and so can reform any lost body substance with glass he finds. He’s pretty amusingly nuts and vicious and ruthless– and there’s even some subtle digs at the media’s bloodlust (though as always this comes off ever-so-slightly hypocritical…but digs at the bloodlust of the news is a little less so) to make a solidly entertaining, fairly suspenseful film. And Parker Barnes’ (Denzel) history is pretty surprising and unusual as well.

The sets are well envisioned and nicely pseudo-realistic, and in general it was quite a well put-together film.

Keep an eye out for Kevin J. O’Connor with a beard–who I know as Swann in Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions.


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