The film takes place in a world where 4% of the population are born with some type of supernatural ability. Instead of being billionaire superheroes, most ‘specials’ live in poverty and resort to crime, forcing the police to become more militarized.
The story follows a young man with special powers (Amell) struggling to find work as a day laborer. After a dispute over payment, he finds himself in a confrontation with a police officer (Kang) and the autonomous robots backing him up.
Code 8 is a film with quite a remarkable story. As a sequel to the 2016 short, this movie actually came to fruition through a funding campaign that eventually raised over $2.4 million dollars. Featuring cousins Robbie and Stephen Amell, the film also marked their first feature film together. The results of this combined fan and studio strength is Code 8. A complex and fresh look into life with powers in a society that marginalizes and harasses anyone with potential.
The story ultimately revolves around Connor Reed, an individual who can produce and manipulate electricity at will and has a tendency to be the hero in the eyes of those he cares about, even if it comes at personal sacrifice. With his sick mother in need of help, we set off on a dark path into society’s underbelly filled with special powers deemed no longer useful due to technology. With this premise, we are able to see the small percentage of the population with powers as disenfranchised minorities in a society that evolved fundamentally differently from our real world. Differences in abilities have created social classes and expectations that mirror our own reality, but operate differently.
Robbie’s character quickly falls into being a runner of a hot new drug called Psyke that is derived from the spinal cord of powered individuals. This introduces Stephen Amell as the team’s leader, Garrett and they soon fall into a teamwork dynamic that really starts to bring the overarching story into focus. As we explore this fresh approach to marginalized superpowers, the story takes plenty of opportunities to emphasize thrilling action sequences that feature some really well done special effects. The electrical powers of Connor’s definitely make for a visual treat, but it get’s even more exciting when we see them used in combination with Garrett’s object manipulation through some sort of force field. The film finds new and interesting ways to explore applications of powers that we may have seen before, helping to make the world feel more original.
The production quality of Code 8 is noticeably high quality from the opening sequences. It’s an improvement on the already impressive 2016 short film, blending solid CGI work with a few great practical effects. However, its the performances that this film hinges on. Robbie Amell is a personable lead and nails the angle of someone trying to be better in a world that seems hellbent on not allowing it. It’s Stephen Amell that really steals the spotlight though. Garrett is a fierce character with powerful intentions that are packed with storytelling potential.
With plenty of fast paced and exciting action sequences, emotional drama and a fresh look at a society developed through the use of superpowers, Code 8 is a film with a lot to offer fans of the genre. However, it’s willingness to explore disenfranchised communities from so many different angles is what gives it the depth it truly needed.
We see an entirely different social structure that feels less based on appearance and more influenced by abilities. What remains is the exploitation and marginalization of those outside of positions of power. The themes of illegal drug running, police-state occupations and rampant corruption help to substantiate this dark evolution, but also give it a sense of realness.
Code 8 is an action-packed superpower genre film that is told through a crime thriller lens, giving it an edge that helps it to stand apart in such a crowded market. With a refreshingly new take on familiar concepts, it manages to tell a worthwhile story with both a high entertainment value as well as remarkable social awareness.
With plenty of fast paced and exciting action sequences, emotional drama and a willingness to explore societal disenfranchisement, Code 8 is a film with a lot to offer fans of the genre.
Code 8: Fear is the Most Dangerous Power
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Acting - 8.5/108.5/10
Music - 9/109/10
Production - 9/109/10
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