Thursday, July 20, 2017

Movie Review: "iBoy" (2017)

Director: Adam Randall
Year: 2017
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

After Tom walks in on a gang of attackers assaulting his crush, he runs away. The attackers give chase. As Tom attempts to phone the police, he is shot, and the bullet embeds a piece of his smartphone into his brain, which has unexpected side effects. Now, Tom is out for revenge.

"iBoy" is the second feature film directed by Adam Randall. It is based on a novel of the same name by Kevin Brooks. The film stars Bill Milner as Tom, who eventually becomes the titular iBoy after having a piece of his smartphone embedded into his head by a bullet. Joining him is Maisie Williams as Lucy, the girl Tom has had a crush on for as long as he can remember. It is at Lucy's apartment where Tom walks in on a gang who have just attacked and raped her. Scared and unsure what to do, Tom runs and is eventually met with a bullet. Upon waking from his attack, he starts to discover he has unexpected powers, and now has a means for revenge. He becomes iBoy, you know, because he is a boy and has a piece of an iPhone stuck in his head, so now he's iBoy.....get it?!

This British sci-fi quasi-superhero flick has a pretty absurd concept, but really, what superhero film doesn't? The idea of someone getting a smartphone chip lodged in their brain by a bullet which gives them superpowers is a kind of a weak premise. Then again, redundantly so, so are many superhero origin stories. If you can accept this premise, you may somewhat enjoy this film. It's a British urban superhero story that attempts to have some grit and drama added on top of an already dramatic premise. It deals with gangs, rape, and murder, which are clearly much more mature themes and plot points than we had imagined from a movie called "iBoy." In some ways, this might hurt the movie as a whole. This is obviously a project geared towards teenagers with a title such as this, but the themes may be far too weighty for a lot of young adults.

Though this is a superhero flick heavy on the drama, it isn't completely absent of fun as Tom's abilities, no matter how ridiculous they are imbibed to him, are pretty cool. He can interact with other electronics with only the power of his iMind...ugh, these silly names make it really hard to write a serious review. There are a couple moments of tension and brief spurts of action, but the pacing is a bit slow, which can make this rather short movie feel much longer than it is. The acting is only passable, unfortunately. Maisie Williams gives the most notable performance as a young woman attempting to deal with the aftermath of being brutally raped, and honestly, she's too good for a low-level picture like this.

In the end, though not a complete waste of time, "iBoy" winds up being much darker than we expected, and it's ultimately a forgettable, rather pedestrian affair with some cheesy fight choreography and a predictable premise. It's got some interesting elements and visuals that are hurt by its dopey premise and lack of capable acting.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.0/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 60%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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