Every now and then, someone goes out of their way to make the next Blade Runner, because… they hate people, and electronics are not to be trusted.
Yeah, that’s about as good an intro as any for this. Here’s Virtual Assassin.
The film starts out making you think it’s trying to make a statement. It then immediately flushes whatever credibility it may have had down the toilet.
The audience has no time to acclimatize to the setting: It’s somewhat futurey, but not too futurey. Technology has advanced to the point where we have hovercrafts, holograms, and lasers… but not much else.
Enter two cops on a routine traffic bust. Apparently, speeding bikers are still a problem.
The biker lures them into some place with huge cargo bins and ambushes his pursuers, holding one of the cops hostage. Just looking at this guy solidifies the fact that the rest of the movie should not be taken seriously.
The man tells the cop’s partner to put down the gun. The hostage’d cop says to take the shot. The partner decides to be a pussy and lays his gun down, and the junkie goes and shoots the girl anyway.
WAKE UP SHOT! IT WAS ALL A DREAM! Except that it really happened, so it’s a flashback. This could not have been a more confusing cut.
So we find out that our Dudikoff-played main character, Nick James (…yeah…) is no longer a cop. He’s been wasting away, boozing it up, and run afoul of a loan shark named Schreck.
THEN we find out he’s working at a tech company as a janitor. He makes some small talk with Johnny, the black security guard (I promise this specific detail will be relevant soon) and we learn about his betting problem. Namely, he bets on a baseball team that kinda really sucks.
Moving on, we meet our heroine, Alexandra Ross, a hot scientist played by Suki Kaiser, and unexpectedly the whitest chick in the movie. She and her father are trying to impress an investor with their invention: a computer virus that uses a living host and detects a system’s flaws and automatically adapts to fix them. It’s so completely absurd that it’s completely absurd.
One problem: there is a random element to it that might make it difficult to control. Oh, another problem: Alexandra decides to speak her mind and tell the truth about this flaw to the investor, which is just scandalously unladylike.
After practically being scolded by her father (oh, that’s right… her father is the lead scientist, and he’s very disappointed in her), she has problems getting out of the parking lot and has to get a ride with Nick.
During the ride, we are treated to one of the worst attempts at chemistry I have ever seen. I think the exact moment we are led to believe they allegedly “clicked” was when Alexandra starts rattling off about what that team Nick bet on needs to do to improve its game. I’m not a sports guy at all, but I couldn’t help but cringe at the fake sports talk.
Back at Nick’s place, he is cornered by the loan shark Schreck and his goons.
Nick puts his police training to good use and manages to escape from the worst goons ever, and I’m fairly certain Schreck breaks character and insults the two guys playing his goons, but they just left it in.
Meanwhile, Kenji, one of the researches on the virus project, spends his downtime attempting to have phone sex with a girl at… I have no idea what those hover things are called.
Yeah, it’s not pretty. But then suddenly, the virus starts acting up and appears to travel to the girl’s location and wrecks shit up.
The systems start going all out of whack, and 47 passengers die. Whoops.
So, the following day, Nick gets called in to help clean up the lab because… well, stuff’s broken. So… he puts stuff in the trash. Because that’s the janitor’s job.
So now that Nick and Alexendra have been reunited, they take this time to… not connect at all. Alrighty then.
Meanwhile, the security guard pulls out his gun and practices what he’ll do in case he’s in a cheesy action flick scenario.
Meanwhile, Nick gets the black security guard, Johnny, to let him into an unused room to sleep in because Schreck kinda knows where he lives.
I shit you not, an “Acme Carpet Cleaning” van rolls up in front of the lab, and two suspicious characters get into the building posing as… well, carpet cleaners.
Meanwhile, Nick finds the hologram program.
Oh, and guess what happens to the security…
So, Johnny gets ganked, and the other security guard gets laughably shot to death without pulling off any of his practiced moves. Meanwhile, Nick… doesn’t give a crap because what he’s doing is between him and God.
Taking out the security allows our villains to open the doors to the rest of the gang:
Nassim (that white-haired freak from the beginning of the flick), a cowboy, a… man dressed like a stereotypical African but speaks and acts like a stereotypical Jamaican, and white-haired freak’s son. Yeah, the name Nassim is rather confusing to me as well.
Oh, and the black woman ditches her carpet cleaner uniform for no reason, revealing that she’s wearing a sleeveless metal chestplate with nipples.
The terrorists storm the lab and demand control of the virus. The backer in charge of the project acts like a prick and gets shot in the head.
So… yeah, they want the virus to turn Nassim into a god that will take control of the entire world through unlimited power over the Internet. It is at this point I realize this probably should have been an anime.
Alexandra’s dad tries to prevent Nassim from taking control of the virus by setting it to self-destruct. Nassim kills him for that. Unfortunately, he was the only person capable of undoing the self-destruct… which takes 2 hours. Which is… totally convenient. IT TAKES 2 HOURS FOR A COMPUTER VIRUS TO SELF-DESTRUCT. Just wanted to make sure you read that right.
Nick takes a quick trip to the bathroom, then realizes he gets locked out of his new bedroom of unmentionable sin without Johnny’s keycard, so he goes back downstairs to have a chat with Johnny. Or rather, Johnny’s hologram. Oh, and then he notices Johnny’s corpse below the desk. Whoops.
Nick gets found out and hunted down, so it’s up to him to fend for himself and maybe save everyone not already killed. It’s at this point I would like to point out that there have been no assassinations yet, just terrorist killings. This movie should have been called Janitor Cop.
Even though as far as we can tell, Nick was just a beat cop that went in over his head, he seems to handle himself well in a Die Hard scenario and uses guerilla tactics on the terrorists, slowly thinning them out. This includes a hologram decoy scene that puts the original Total Recall to shame.
OH SNAP, LOOK WHO LEARNED SOMETHING NEW! Actually, I could go for a better program, but hey, if it works.
Another great death involves using stuff he found in the janitors’ closet to burn someone to death and toss him down an elevator shaft.
A couple of cops arrive at the building to share some late-night snacks with Johnny. Hologram Johnny turns them away and says stupidly insulting lines about his own weight, which should be suspicious enough. But it’s the line “wife says I’m fat enough as it is” that leads the cops to believe something’s wrong. “But Johnny doesn’t have a wife…”
The cops head back, only to find out the security scanner at the entrance has been hijacked… and for some reason is armed WITH HIGH POWERED LASERS.
Most of what follows is Nick thinning the herd further, including beating up the black chick wearing nipple armor and tying her up in what appears to be a large gyroscope. Meanwhile, the cops arrive and completely pussy out, choosing to send in a slow, hovering probe to check out the scene inside. They see footage of corpses and of Nick shooting at one of the bad guys, then pull up his file. The cop in charge deduces that the former cop fell on hard times and suddenly went on a shooting spree. Oh, and the probe goes on auto and starts trying to kill Nick.
Nassim looks up the staff files to find out more about who they’re dealing with, and he finds out it’s the same cop he encountered back in the beginning of the film. But something’s odd… he remembers shooting and killing Nick after killing his partner.
We are subjected to a now-uninteresting romp in which Nick continues to kill bad guys and evade the police probe. Meanwhile, Nassim finally (via Alexandra) cracked the code to stop the self-destruct and orders that the virus be injected into him, uploading it to a microchip planted in his brain in the hopes that he will become one with the virus. Yeah. Go back to what I said about this being an anime.
Nassim escapes the building and, with his new powers, not only kills the SWAT team entering the building, but STARTS CONTROLLING THEIR DEAD BODIES. Somehow he meets no resistance at the actual exit, as the cops hone in on Nick instead.
Luckily, Nassim likes going for the flash and controls more SWAT guys, turning the entire team on any cops not wearing cybernetics. Nick decides to use the chaos to his advantage and pursues Nassim, who is on his way to… some other tech place, where he plans to simulcast his vision of a new world to… the world, I guess.
Finally, a showdown between Nassim and Nick. Apparently, becoming a cybergod still leaves Nassim vulnerable to bullets, so he decides to take Alexandra hostage and orders Nick to lower his weapon.
Nassim taunts Nick about being put into the same situation as before and calls Nick a loser, saying he absolutely had a clean shot back then and didn’t take it. In the DUMBEST MOVE possible, Nick slowly lowers his gun… then slowly raises it again and shoots Nassim. Uh… why not just shoot Nassim while your gun was initially raised? Doing that just increased the chances that he would react and kill Alexandra! Unsurprisingly, it works, and Nick saves the day…
…except Nassim and the virus have now completely merged, and he uploads himself into the Internet!
And then Alexandra does dramatic hacker stuff and deletes Nassim. Day saved! The cops arrive, congratulate Nick for a job well done, and one of them puts out her hand and tells him, “Welcome back.”
Some time afterward, we’re not entirely sure when or why, Nick and Alexandra have a hover-plane-thingy ride into the sunset. And then Alexandra talks about how that team needs a better outfield. “But they’ve got a great outfield!” The end.
Yeah, they’re going to end it at that. Let’s forget all about that mess with Schreck. And the whole revelation about Nassim finishing Nick off in their first encounter.
This film also goes by the name “Cyberjack,” as “Virtual Assassin” is only its name in America. The term “cyberjack” is used exactly once in the entire film, but at least it’s a more apt title than “Virtual Assassin.” Here’s a trailer as yet more proof that 1) I am not making this shit up, and 2) Trailers spoil:
To be quite honest, Michael Dudikoff isn’t half bad in his role, but I keep getting the feeling it would’ve been better played by Bruce Campbell. And Brion James as Nassim is surprisingly awesome. Just the way he completely hams it up and owns the character… it’s a sight to behold. He’s one of maybe three actors in the entire film that’s actually believable, but he took that character places, man.
All in all… no regrets watching this. It’s still an awful movie, but it doesn’t hurt much to watch it.