STARRING: Stephen Baldwin, Pascale Bussières, Kim
Coates, Kyle MacLachlan, Tom Rack, Arnold Pinnock, Sean Devine
2000, 110 Minutes, Directed by: Allan Moyle
Just how many Baldwin brothers are there? This isn't exactly a question
that has been keeping me awake in the evenings, but the more pressing issue
is: "who decided that they all should be in movies?"
stars Stephen Baldwin, I don't know whether he is the oldest or the youngest
of the Baldwins. I do know that he isn't the one who used to be married
to Kim Bassinger. None of this really matters, the question remains: why
is he in movies?!
XChange starts off as a moderately interesting cyberpunk-style
thriller mixing elements of Face/Off and Total
Recall. In the near future ("tomorrow" the movie helpfully
informs us) it would be possible to exchange bodies - not possess them
like in The Hidden, but basically swap minds
While you're pondering the possibilities of such a technology and its
implications here (a certain scene involving a teenage girl in a shower
in Strange Days comes to mind), let me point
out that the best use people of the future could think of was instantaneous
travel. Have to make an urgent meeting on the other side of the planet?
No problem, just send your consciousness along the wires to a waiting
body at the other end. That the people who have thought up such a technology
have never heard of teleconferencing is a bit strange. The major airlines
can't be too happy though.
To be fair, a better use for this technology in the movie involves some
sex and a guy who changes bodies with his personal trainer: the trainer
does his workouts for him and keeps his body fit! All of this is moderately interesting. Although
if you have read any Robert Sheckley or perhaps John Varley, none of this
will be new. Also, if you have read said authors, you'd also know that
they knew what to do with such a plot device, while the best the writers
of XChange could come up with was turning it into a chase movie
as the hero gets chased around by corporate bad guys. (The hero is named
Toffler by the way - one of several in-jokes throughout the movie. The
movie thinks it is cleverer than it actually is.)
All of which is fine; until said Baldwin brother appears on the scene
as the third "body" to be "inhabited" by Toffler.
Bad move. Toffler should rather have chosen someone who can act. Instead
Baldwin is so bad and so wooden that he inevitably drags the movie down
with him. Soon my companion and I were hurling an endless torrent abuse
and sarcastic comments at the screen. "Oscar performance," my
companion groaned and rolled her eyes.
Is Stephen Baldwin bad enough to destroy the entire movie? Well, the
rest of the movie isn't all that good. Cheaply made, the plot became quite
convoluted. And no one could explain to me why everyone still drove late-twentieth
century SUV models and wore suits. Just how cheaply made? There is a lot
of female nudity in XChange, but as my companion remarked, they
could only afford rather flat-chested bimbos. So cheap that they rented
the Baldwin brother weren't even married to Kim Bassinger . . .