STARRING: Denzel Washington, Kelly Lynch, Russell Crowe, Stephen Spinella, William Forsythe, Louise Fletcher, William Fichtner, Costas Mandylor, Kevin J. Connor, Traci Lords

1995, 105 Minutes, Directed by: Brett Leonard

Stop me if you have heard this one before: a dangerous killer (played by Russell Crowe, pre-Gladiator!) is on the loose murdering people wherever he goes. A disgraced cop, who is somehow qualified to deal with the situation, is sent out to get the killer. Of course, it is personal: the killer has murdered the cop's wife and kids . . .

Virtuosity is nothing new. What is new, is that it indulges in Brett (director of the original Lawnmower Man) Leonard's partiality towards high-tech. The killer in this case is basically a software program that is an artificial intelligence composite of several serial killers and maniacs - everybody from Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer to the nut case who killed cop Washington's wife and kids.

That cleverly resolves the motivation bit. To paraphrase Jessica Rabbit, Sid 6.7 (the piece of software in question's product release name) can claim: "I'm not bad, I'm just coded that way." Sid 6.7 is also the archetypal "unstoppable monster" since he escapes his virtual reality imprisonment by gaining "possession" of an android built with nano-technology.

Lots of techno buzzwords aside, there is not much new to this affair and one rather hopes that Leonard could have done something more original with the material at hand.



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