In what feels like Westworld meets Blade Runner, Vice stars Bruce Willis, Ambyr Childers and Thomas Jane who oddly enough seems to be channeling an 80s Michael Lambert.
Julian Michaels (Willis) has created Vice, a place where people can escape from the boredom of their everyday lives to live out their deepest darkest fantasies. Vice is a place populated with androids built to look and act like regular humans. So whether you want to go out for a good night, commit a little rape or murder, or rob a bank, you can do all of those thing in Vice and get away with them.
Roy (Jane) is a cop in the real world who follows a rapist into Vice to arrest him for his real world crimes. It’s obvious Roy hates Vice and everything it stands for. He thinks people get a taste for illegal things there and start doing them in the real world. However, Vice his a huge money revenue for the city, so Roy is told to leave the place alone. He’s obviously not happy with this.
Childers plays Kelly, an android that becomes self-aware. Before she does so, her and her friend are brutally “murdered” by a guest at Vice. While being repaired to back to work the next day, two scientists have an exposition heavy conversation explaining all the details of how the androids work and why they are so life like. The next day Kelly begins having flashbacks to the previous day, something an android has never done before. They bring her in to fix her but before they can she escapes.
On the run, Kelly must evade not only creepy guys trying to hurt her, but Julian’s armed team of mercenaries as well. Good thing for her, they are all terrible shots with their high tech machine guns. Kelly eventually finds her way to a church where she meets Evan (Bryan Greenberg), who it turns out created her in the image of his dead wife.
Much of this film is so cliché it’s kind of painful. Roy being a cop who plays by his own rules is the worst. The arguments he has with his captain about not following orders feel more like a bad SNL sketch than a real scene between two characters. In fact most the acting in this film is a little flat. None of it’s bad, mind you, there just isn’t a lot of emotion conveyed in this film. Then there is all of the exposition dialog; sure there is a lot going on in this film and a lot that needs to be explained, but at times the dialog is so clunky, surely there must have been a better, more exciting way to get these ideas across.
Though, the biggest flaw of this film is that it features Bruce Willis and all he does is stand around in a computer room the entire time and calmly give orders. You keep expecting Willis to do something badass, anything, but it never happens. Seriously why put Willis in your film if you’re not going to use him properly?
The film is presented in 2.40:1 widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 DTSHD-MA surround sound. The film looks and sounds fine, it is certainly very competently made.
You get Commentary with Director Brian Miller and actors Ambyr Childers and Bryan Greenberg: Behind The Scenes: (13 min.) Cast and Crew Interviews: (31 min.)
I wasn’t expecting much, and I didn’t get much. Vice is okay, but nothing special or memorable. When your film is an obvious reminder of great films like Westworld and Blade Runner whether intentional or not, it sets up certain expectations. Sure, that might not be totally fair, but Vice just doesn’t live up to those expectations.
Lionsgate presents Vice. Written by: Andrew Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore. Directed by: Brian A. Miller. Starring: Thomas Jane, Bruce Willis and Ambyr Childers. Running time: 94 min. Rating: R. Released: March 17, 2015.
Tags: Ambyr Childers, Bruce Willis, Thomas Jane, Vice