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Silicon Towers
cast: Brian Dennehy, Daniel Baldwin, Brad Dourif, Jonathan Quint, and Melinda Songer

writer and director: Serge Rodnunsky

87 minutes (12) 1999
Prism Leisure DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 2/10
reviewed by Steven Hampton
Don't take your work home with you, ever... Especially if you have just been fired and have stolen whatever it is your scheming boss never wanted you to see in the first place.

Computer geek Charlie (Jonathan Quint) is the unwitting hero at the heart of yet another tale of the 'little guy' against the 'big machine'. As the big cheese rotten to the core, Warner, Brian Dennehy lacks proper commitment to his absurdly villainous role. Likewise Daniel Baldwin as the corporate enforcer, another 'name' actor who fails to rise above the hackneyed nature of Silicon Towers' hacker-on-the-run script. Stuck in the middle, between his desire to please demanding girlfriend Linda (Melinda Songer) - who's transparently delighted when social failure Charlie finally proves his worth to her by stealing a fortune in cash, and his willingness to help salve the nagging conscience of paranoid cyber-genius Alton (Brad Dourif) - who intends switching allegiances from being Warner's rogue designer to wannabe corporate whistleblower (but finds out too late that his brain's software isn't fully loaded), poor misunderstood and misguided misfit Charlie really isn't up to the task ahead of him if he expects to save the world, single-handedly. Robert Guillaume plays the good cop who stumbles across Charlie's apparent theft. Yes, of course, he's sympathetic to our reluctant hero's plight, but his inquiries are easily blindsided by the slick conspiracy of the baddies. The late George 'Buck' Flower has a nifty but unfortunately pointless cameo as a truck driver.

The plot is overly familiar, being centred on the nerd sci-fi notion of a ubiquitous chipset secretly designed with a hidden capacity to instantly unlock any desktop or mainframe security level, and enable a stealthy takeover of the whole infotech world. Can't happen here... can it? Handheld cameras for the chase scenes add no energy whatsoever to the generally lacklustre direction, which is not helped at all (no, sir, not even in the slightest) by copious fast-cuts which keenly adhere to the principals of the infamous Michael Bay school of treacherously incomprehensible film editing: the trademark of which asserts that if any vaguely attentive viewer can figure out what the heck's happening on screen during action sequences, and who is doing what and to whom (and how A obviously gets to B, let alone C); then Mr Bay's permanently confused editing monkeys are required to perform another double-shift on Avid, to chop and scatter more frames of virtual celluloid about.

Mark L. Lester could have doubtless made something better out of this standard plot where foreseeable betrayal is the main twist, and if your ID card is found at a crime scene, the villain's insanely suspicious henchmen will happily shoot you on sight. Something intriguing might have been done with the questionable loyalties of Charlie's seemingly caring and attractive colleague, Beth (Maren Mason), but I'm sad to report that her character, like many of the other supporting roles here, is rather uninteresting in dramatic terms, and woefully underwritten in respect of motivation and development.

There are no DVD extras except a trailer, and basic scene index.
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