Take the 2016 summer as a perfect example. Is anybody clamoring for another viewing of “Independence Day: Resurgence,” “Jason Bourne” or that “Tarzan” movie?
While a VOD release was once, and still slightly is, scoffed at, it’s where some of the better films can be found. They’re not always the best in terms of technical quality. At least these small budgeted films are ambitious. That’s a trait major studios have nearly abandoned.
“I.T. [Blu-ray]” certainly isn’t going to change lives or reshape cinema. It’s still a slick, original thriller that packs more entertainment in its 90 minutes than a fair share of what studios spend millions advertising to us.
Pierce Brosnan is Mike Regan, a very wealthy business owner with an idyllic slice of the American dream. It’s all turned upside down when he invites one of his company’s techs over to his house to fix the Internet.
The stranger (James Frecheville) pushes all the wrong buttons.
He begins talking to Regan’s daughter, showing up uninvited at Regan’s house and creepily uttering the word “friend” a lot around the boss. When Regan cuts ties with him, the CEO’s life immediately goes haywire. His company’s cyber security system gets hacked and his house becoming a digital prison for his family.
FAST FACT: Pierce Brosnan says he can’t stand to watch himself in the four James Bond movies he made. “I was never good enough,” he says.
It’s an intriguing concept since our lives are in the midst of going full-blown digital. More and more of what we do and have is filtered through a digital wall. It’s scary to think how much of your life can actually be controlled by a tech-savvy guru.
Early in the film we see the generational divide between the I.T. menace and Regan as they debate the merits of privacy and whether it exists anymore. Regan believes it’s a right while his young tech insists it’s a privilege.
Sure, the film gets a little bonkers (could you really control someone’s brake system remotely?) and there’s a real muddled third act. In fact, for being a film filled to the brim with sleek devices, the finale seems incredibly unimaginative and low-tech.
Still, “I.T.” works enough to be exactly what it needs to be -- an entertaining B-movie thriller. Aging action star Brosnan carries a weathered look across his smooth, Irish face that gives a newfound sinister quality to him, plus extra layers to his quieter scenes. He’s quieter now, more real than when he was a winking, one-liner spewing James Bond.
As for Frecheville … the kid is actually unnerving. The script leaves him with the freedom to create moments that enter the genuinely creepy category.
Above all, “I.T.” looks appropriately flashy and slick. Director John Moore (“A Good Day to Die Hard”) makes it seem as though his film had twice the budget it actually does and proves despite a record with more than a few stinkers, he’s an impressively visual filmmaker.
“I.T. [Blu-ray]” is not grand cinema. It’s a well-paced, Hitchcockian B-movie with a formidable protagonist, a creepy villain and a sly take on modern living. In today’s digital monster movie landscape, it’s hard to ask for more than that without feeling greedy.
The Blu-ray includes a behind the scenes featurette, but unfortunately no in-depth look at the plausibility of some of the digital predatory acts in the movie.