Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
The Call Up: British Gamers Getting Played
thinks Virtual Reality is the next big thing in entertainment. Get ready to
have your enthusiasm tempered. It turns out first-person shooters are not so
cool when they get really real. For a group of unsuspecting beta-testers, the
game turns out to be all about killing and not about fun anymore. To survive,
they will have to play through in Charles Barker’s The Call Up (trailer
which opens this Friday in Los Angeles.
only know each other by their screen names, but each are die-hard (hopefully)
gamers. They were recruited online for a mysterious test game, despite their
vastly different levels of gamer cred. Eventually they discover they are all
rather solitary and will not be missed.
they are psyched to put on the VR body suits that transform them into special
forces commandos and transport them to some sort of urban battlefield. However,
when their team-members start to die in the physical world from gunshots
sustained in-game, they realize the gravity of the situation. Yet, the
resentful unstable sociopath keeps acting like an unstable sociopath.
Regardless, they will have to continue advancing to each successive level, or
face the VR Sergeant’s wrath for “desertion.”
this is some reasonably familiar ground, but Barker puts the cast through their
paces rather snappily and actually gives us an ending that pays off rather than
bringing us down and leaving us with a feeling of futility, which far too many
genre films are inexplicably inclined to do. The special effects are also
decent and the design of the suit looks credibly forty-eight or seventy-two
hours ahead of current technology.
Clark (do you think she’s Welsh?) is having quite a year, following up Love & Friendship and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies with The Call Up. She is reasonably solid as Shelly
the rational gamer, but only Christopher Obi and Boris Ler make lasting
impressions as the Sergeant and Zahid, the expat Bosnian gamer.
It already seems too late to call Call Up science fiction and it isn’t
gory or macabre enough to be horror. Action is as good a label as anything,
especially considering how much time they spend in the special ops world. It
will look antiquated in a matter of weeks, but it is a decent genre fix for
Southern Californians (in contrast, lucky New Yorkers should have more than
they can handle with NYAFF). Sort of recommended accordingly, The Call Up opens this Friday (6/24) at
the Laemmle Royal.
Labels: British Cinema, Virtual Reality films