WAR GAMES: THE DEAD CODE
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5)
Matt Lanter as WILL FARMER
Amanda Walsh as ANNIE D’MATEO
Colm Feore as T. KENNETH HASSERT
Chuck Shamata as BILL CARTER
Directed by: Stuart Gillard
BY KEVIN CARR
It seems that nowadays, classic films (and some not-so-classic films) are getting new life on DVD. That doesn’t just come from re-releasing the films on DVD in special editions, box sets and directors’ cuts. It also includes low-budget sequels, cashing in on the name of the original.
Some of these films, like “Behind Enemy Lines” (falling into the not-so-classic category), are nothing more than a grab at the name which people might remember to sell an action film in a similar genre. Not too long ago, there was also a sequel to the lukewarm “Hackers” that made it onto DVD as “Track Down,” having nothing to do with the original film.
MGM has dug up the classic 80s Cold War thriller “WarGames” and released it in a special edition DVD. It has also given us a sequel, “WarGames: The Dead Code.” This new film follows a computer nerd who is targeted by a National Security agency and mercilessly tracked down by a supercomputer that assumes he’s a terrorist.
I’ll give the filmmakers credit in the sense that not only have they given the film a very similar storyline to the original (in which a hacker accidentally interfaces with a quirky defense computer and almost stars World War III). It also manages to make this film an actual sequel in that it features characters from the first film, including the off-kilter 80s defense grid Joshua.
As far as direct-to-DVD sequels go, you can do a lot worse than “The Dead Code.” It’s definitely made on the cheap, set in Canada for tax break purposes, I would assume. Against the backdrop of foreign terror as the new threat rather than the Reds, it also manages to be somewhat relevant.
I did appreciate the fact that the movie avoided some preaching, although it does go back to the message well from the first movie – especially near the end. However, it’s not boring at all, and I found myself interested.
The DVD comes with production stills, several trailers, a making-of documentary and a director’s commentary. If you want a brand new film with high-budget ideals, stay away from “The Dead Code,” but it does make acceptable viewing faire for a rainy Saturday afternoon.