Synopsis – Bruce Willis stars in this Sci-Fi thriller about ultimate resort: VICE, where customers can play out their wildest fantasies with artificial inhabitants who look like humans.
My Take – I can say I have been a Bruce Willis fan for almost my entire life! Its really disheartening to watch an A list Hollywood star lose his status and slip into C grade flicks just like Nicolas Cage. But nevertheless I keep watching every crap they come out with (trust me I don’t know why). Frankly the trailers of this film did seem quite interesting, as (in my opinion) low budgeted Sci Fi films usually get it right. Well too bad this film doesn’t qualify as one of them, as it happens to be one of those films that actually has a potential concept but fails in delivery due to mundane direction, bad casting choices or just a messed up screenplay. Well yes! the whole concept is very familiar to popular films like Total Recall, but as a sci-fi/action fan, It would have been easy to surpass that expectation.
The story is about an ultimate resort named Vice designed & run by Julian Michaels (Bruce Willis), where everything is legal as customers can play out their wildest fantasies with the artificial inhabitants who look, think and feel like humans. One day, a pretty resident artificial named Kelly (Ambyr Childers) suffers a glitch in her programming and becomes aware of the past acts of violence committed on her. Confused, once she escapes the resort she encounters A.I. genetic designer Evan Lund (Bryan Greenberg) and a crusading policeman Detective Roy Tedeschi (Thomas Jane), who are hell bend on closing the resort. Can they band together & beat the powerful Michaels at his own game? I feel its my duty to reveal the fact that Bruce Willis actually has a very small role as the “villain” of the story. He is okay in the role and has one or two good scenes but its such a small role that it could have been played by anyone. Director Brian Miller seems to have a knack for really bad slapped together action films like this. I also sat through his disastrous film “The Prince” which also briefly featured Bruce Willis in a very similar role, I think people just hand him over a script that they don’t really care about but they want made so he reluctantly does it for the money. I don’t think anyone in the cast is taking it very seriously which is unfortunate.Ambyr Childers is okay in her role as the “clone” type android trying to save her life. Probably this film would have been exponentially better had they given this particular role to a very strong female lead. I don’t mean to downplay Childers because she is really not bad, but someone with a strong charisma could have really done something with this part.
Thomas Jane is one of those actors that has walked the thin line of being a rising star & total downfall. I really liked Jane as an actor and I was excited to see him and Willis face each other but that hardly happens. Jane seems almost intoxicated and eccentric in his role. He plays the part like a joke rather than like the hero of the film which he could have been. Its unfortunate as the basic sci-fi concepts behind this film’s story is actually very good and interesting. On paper, the integration of real human DNA into androids had the potential of being a really sophisticated film like “Blade Runner”, but in the hands of writers Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore and director Brian A Miller, “Vice” ends up being an ordinary forgettable C grade action flick. The ending even seemed to promise a sequel. Unless they can come up with a much better way to showcase their slick sci-fi ideas, no thanks. On the whole ‘Vice’ is a visually unappealing and entirely flawed film, which considers itself to be genuine, but ends up being a ridiculously inept.
Director – Brian A Miller
Rated – R
Run Time – 96 minutes